It’ll be an exciting weekend of on-ice action for ECAC fans in Albany as Clarkson, Colgate, Dartmouth and Harvard battle for the league title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Away from the rink, fans will also find plenty of activities to entertain them in New York’s Capital Region. Here’s a list of nearby attractions that hockey enthusiasts can enjoy when not watching the ECAC championship.
The ECAC Fan Fest
Returning to South Pearl Street outside the Pepsi Arena is the popular Fan Fest. The event features music, pep bands from and cheering squads from the participating schools, interactive games, official ECAC merchandise, food, a giant screen projection television, strolling entertainment, face painters and a sports memorabilia auction to benefit Diversity in Hockey/Schenectady Police Athletic League. The Fan Fest is free to the public and runs on Friday from 2:30-10:30 p.m. and Saturday from 3-11 p.m. For more information, visit www.pepsiarena.com or www.albany.org.
The New York State Museum
Located on Madison Avenue — a short walk from the Pepsi Arena — the New York State Museum offers a variety of exhibits, including “World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills.” The heart-wrenching exhibit, scheduled to close on Sunday, presents three phases of the World Trade Center Disaster: rescue, recovery and response. In addition to 60 photographs and 50 recovered objects from the wreckage, the exhibit offers a 10-foot panoramic photograph and interactive computer programs detailing the effort. The NYS Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. For more information, log onto www.nysm.nysed.gov or call (518) 474-5877.
Tours of the State Capitol
Sitting atop Albany’s State Street hill, the New York State Capitol has served as the seat of New York government since the 1880s. The building is a marvelous example of late 19th century architecture and was built by hand of solid masonry over 25 years. When Governor Theodore Roosevelt declared the Capitol complete in 1899, its cost had exceeded $25 million. Tours of the Capitol are available Monday-Friday at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and on the weekend at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should call the Office of General Services — Visitor Assistance at (518) 474-2418 for reservations. Admission is free. Additional details can be found at www.ogs.state.ny.us/curatorial/capitol/default.asp.
The Northeast Great Outdoors Show
Back for its 18th year, the Outdoors show is held in the Empire State Plaza, a five-minute walk from the Pepsi Arena and connected via an enclosed skywalk. The expo features the best in fishing, hunting, boating, camping, outdoor equipment and other items. Attractions include turkey and deer calling contests, a scoring session by the Northeast Big Buck Club, live predatory animals, fly-casting workshops, a fully stocked trout pond, the Pete Rickard Indoor Vegas archery championship and door prizes. The expo will run Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children 4 to 12. ECAC fans get $1 off the price of admission with a ticket stub from this year’s championship weekend. Additional details can be found at www.edlewi.com or by calling (518) 383-6183.
To make getting to the arena easier, fans attending Friday’s games are being encouraged to use the Capital District Transportation Authority Park & Ride. Fans can park at the Port of [nl]Rensselaer and catch a bus to and from the Pepsi Arena. Buses run every 10 minutes from 3 p.m. to midnight. The round-trip bus fare is $5 per person. Parking is free. For directions to the Port of Rensselaer, visit the arena web site at www.pepsiarena.com.