Even though they were invented over 200 years ago and are fairly simple in design, kaleidoscopes still hold so much wonder for kids and adults alike. Seeing the reflected colored pieces completely change shape as you twist and turn the scope is quite trippy in and of itself — now imagine that magnified across 37.5 feet!
In Mount Tremper, NY — about two and a half hours from NYC driving (and near the other favorite NYC getaway towns of Phoenicia and Kingston) — lives the official World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, located within the Emerson Resort & Spa.
The Guinness Book of World Records declared it as such back in 1997, when it was designed by award-winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos. It’s housed in a giant farm silo, from nearby Riseley Flats Farm, and the barn next door (which is now home to the Emerson Shops) dates as far back as 1860.
Today, the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope can be experienced through a “Kaleidoshow,” which was originally created and designed by psychedelic art pioneer Isaac Abrams and his computer artist son Raphael. For its 20th anniversary in 2016, Alicia Ramirez, Shea Johnson and Austin Johnson created a new version of the show for participants to enjoy.
The show is an immersive experience with both sound and light, that you view from looking up from the bottom of silo up toward the ceiling where the kaleidoscope lives. We recommend laying on the floor to really get the full, truly psychedelic experience (yes it is allowed, even encouraged!).
Through tapered mirrors, the Kaleidoshow images are transformed into fractal figures and the storytelling begins.
You can even purchase your own kaleidoscope from their gift shop, which offers the objects made in a variety of materials from wood and veneer wood to brass, chrome, marble and glass. They are all made specially by expert artists, and some even have interchangeable parts.
Find out more on the Emerson Resort & Spa website here! You do not have to be staying at the resort to visit it (it’s entirely open to the public), but you do get free admission if you are staying on site.
Under 12, Free
Tickets are complimentary for hotel guests.