Paddling Programs offered at The Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium

Photograph by Helen Sullivan Heizyk

Join the museum for another fun summer full of outdoor experiences!

The mission of the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium (FLM&A) is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the vast Finger Lakes Region.  Located in the hamlet of Branchport, New York, on the northwest fork of Keuka Lake, the FLM&A’s 29-acre site encompasses a 16-acre wetland/preserve — known as the Townsend-Grady Wildlife Preserve — and a 13-acre Campus that includes a 17,000 square foot building currently under phased renovation. Since its inception in 2008, the FLM&A has consistently fulfilled its mission by adding programs and outreach each year, all while working to establish a permanent location to provide meaningful experiences and exhibits. Each summer the FLM&A offers a full calendar of public programs that include community and evening paddles, yoga, wildlife photography classes, timber-frame workshops, woods walks, bird identification walks, and more!  

In 2016, the FLM&A opened its Creekside Center, a kayak and canoe livery, as well as a handicapped accessible kayak launch, both of which are used for the museum’s paddling programs  and for general public use.  This summer, the staff, trustees and volunteers of the FLM&A have organized several fun paddling programs and events — community paddle days each month, two days of beginning and intermediate kayak lessons, the 3rd annual Paddle Keuka 5K Race (Saturday, August 4), and evening paddles scheduled around each full moon.

Each of the four evening paddles run from 6pm through 9pm. Led by certified NYS Outdoor Guides, these paddles will teach paddling and safety skills before leading participants along Sugar Creek and out onto the open waters of Keuka Lake.  On these leisurely guided tours, participants will learn the importance of wetland systems (with the opportunity to view our very own wetland) while having a chance to see spiny softshell turtles, great blue herons, bald eagles, fireflies, bats, and many other creatures and plants that call the creek , lake and wetlands home. Guests will conclude their paddling tour next to a bonfire while enjoying themed refreshments and activities that relate to each full moon. Milk and cookies will celebrate the Full Milk Moon on June 2; strawberry shortcake will be enjoyed at the Full Strawberry Moon on June 29; a drum circle will welcome the Full Thunder Moon on July 27; and blueberry desserts will honor of the Full Blueberry Moon on August 25. The evening paddles are family friendly (an adult must accompany children under the ages of 13).

“I love being out on the water in the evening, because it is always so peaceful and beautiful. We always discover something interesting in the wetlands,” says Debbie Lyon, the program director at the FLM&A. “No matter how hectic my work week, or day was, it all fades away when I am out on the water at the end of the day.”

The registration cost for the evening paddles is $30/person, which covers the cost of the Certified  Outdoor Guide, a guided paddle through the waters of the Northwestern branch of Keuka Lake, use of all necessary kayak gear, and refreshments by a bonfire. To sign up for one or more of these unique paddling experiences, and for more details, please visit

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