Utica, NY (WIBX) - Last year, I started the WIBX Travel Series as a way to explore my new home; Upstate, New York. The goal was simple: find some fun, inexpensive and educational activities to do on weekends and share the experience with our listeners/audience. As the weekend nears, many of us worry about what to do with family, friends, etc... Since starting the travel series, I've discovered that with a little effort and willingness, it's very easy to find something to do in the Mohawk Valley and surrounding region.

Although the cold weather is still trying to maintain its grip on us with recent freezing temperatures that damaged some crops and new blooms across the region, summer is almost here! For some, it means having to keep kids busy. For others, it means staying active and having fun with friends or a special someone. So, as we embark on this Mother's Day weekend, there is no better time to kick off this year's WIBX Travel Series with these three ideas to celebrate Mother's on their special day.


Utica Zoo

The Utica Zoo is a great option because Mother's get in for free! Zoo Director, Andria DeLisle-Heath says, weather permitting, moms will get a chance to feed one of the alligators. And, there's been some changes taking place at the Zoo. "We now have elements to the Zoo that are now areas: African Alley, Asian Realm, our Children's Zoo has seen a lot of growth and movement--we have a lot of new exhibits," she said.

During the weekend of Memorial Day, the Zoo will start keeping longer hours to give working parents more time to visit the Zoo. They even have the popular food joint, Voss', as the new concession stand. DeLisle-Heath says the Zoo also makes for a great date night for couples looking for something to do. To learn more, visit, www.uticazoo.org.


Fly Creek Cider Mill

Fly Creek is a fun place to visit. There are so many things to look at and taste, you'll want to come back with the entire store! It's a great place to shop for just about any holiday or occasion. And, it's educational for youngster, or those not familiar with the apple cider process. It's like taking a step back in time, which can be soothing for those who prefer a more relaxing weekend outing. Also, Pure New York Maple Syrup from Breezie Maples Farm will be featured on Mothers Day. Larry Roseboom will demonstrate and sample syrup from their state-of-the-art facility located in Westford, NY. This weekend is a perfect time to visit the Mill with Mom. Learn more at, www.flycreekcidermill.com.


Mountain Hike In The Adirondacks

The Adirondacks is a jewel. And, this weekend is a great time to take a trip up north to appreciate some of the beautiful and majestic areas NYS has to offer. I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to drive a relatively short distance to take in all the beauty of our great state. There are numerous mountains to choose from for all experience levels. Some are dog friendly, some still have historic fire towers on top of them, and many are easy enough for kids as young as 8-years-old to hike. It's important to prepare for the cold temperatures because some of the mountains tops are still covered with snow and ice. But, regardless of which mountain you choose to hike this weekend in honor of Mother's Day, you're in for a fantastic and organic experience.  Two relatively easy hike options are: Bald and Black Bear Mountain. My Dad, a city dweller, took me up on an offer to hike Bald Mountain and to my surprise, he loved it! I love the Adirondacks.

There are many other options to celebrate Mother's Day. From a day at the Spa or Salon to treating her to dinner or buying her flowers...You can't go wrong, as long as you show your mom, or a special Mother you know, that she's loved and appreciated. Happy Mother's Day to my mom, Johanna, and to all other Mother's out there!