You may have your favorite family spots on Long Island where you frequently take the kids. But there may be unexpected places you haven't explored yet.
We asked more than 400 parents to submit their favorite things to do with their family on Long Island. The beach took the No. 1 spot, with more than 100 votes.
Here, we rounded up the top 50 family-friendly places in Nassau and Suffolk, chosen by Long Island parents, and listed them alphabetically. Take a look.
Adventureland(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
This amusement park located in Farmingdale is a favorite among LI families in the spring, summer and fall. There is an undeniable excitement that comes from seeing the hot-air balloon Ferris Wheel as you drive down Route 110. And that's just the beginning of the fun. You'll find kiddie rides for the younger ones, water rides to stay cool in the summer heat and thrill-ride favorites, such as the Musik Express, Pirate Ship and Frisbee. A trip to this amusement park wouldn't be complete without checking out the Turbulence Coaster and the new Formula One Bumper Cars.
American Airpower Museum(Credit: Anthony Lanzilote)
Is your kid a history buff? You may want to take a trip to the American Airpower Museum (1230 New Hwy., Farmingdale). A nonprofit organization, AAM's mission is to preserve the legacy of all Americans who sacrificed themselves to defend our liberties. They seek to educate new generations about their courage, valor and heroism by presenting aircraft and armor in the museum through displays, exhibits and programs.
Bayard Cutting Arboretum(Credit: Randee Daddona)
At this former Great River residence, visitors can take in the serene surroundings of fireplaces, woodworkings, stained glass windows and a natural history display. The whole family can enjoy The Hidden Oak Cafe, located inside the Manor House, which offers fresh sandwiches, quiche, soups, pies and other desserts. The cafe also serves a "Victorian Tea" menu with finger sandwiches, scones and, of course, fresh tea. You can also check out the farm, the Annex Exhibition and several different educational programs for both kids and adults.
Beaches(Credit: Barry Sloan)
The beautiful beaches are undeniably one of the best perks of living on Long Island. A day of sand, surf and sun is truly unmatched in the summertime. From seashell searching and boogie boarding to building sand castles and more, LI's beaches are a go-to for family fun. Beyond the summer, many families hit the boardwalks, picnic with a water view or even take part in winter surfing at a few Nassau and Suffolk beaches.
Belmont Lake State Park(Credit: Barry Sloan)
The 7.6 miles of multi-use trails at Belmont Lake State Park (625 Belmont Ave., West Babylon) are great for family-friendly hiking, biking and horseback riding. The park features an impressive wetland area as well as Belmont Lake, where families can rent paddleboats and rowboats. Along the trails, look for waterfowl by the lake like Osprey, Northern Shovelers, Mergansers and more. In the spring and summer, families can use the lake to fish for trout and bass. The park also boasts playgrounds, picnic areas (with park grills) and numerous athletic courts. Be sure to check out the special holiday events at the park, such as the Great Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Sail, holiday tree lighting, an egg hunt and fishing expo. In the winter, cross-country skiing is also available.
Boating(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
There's more to the LI waters than just catching the waves at the beach. Head to docks throughout Nassau and Suffolk and spend the day relaxing on a boat with the family. Whether you're looking to operate a motorized boat, head out on a fishing fleet, take in rays and waves on a sailboat or even rent a kayak -- there are plenty of options for an adventure at sea. Before getting behind the wheel of a motorized boat, it's important to learn about boat safety and obtain the certification needed to operate.
Captree State Park(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Enjoy a day by the water at Captree State Park (3500 Ocean Pkwy., Babylon), home to Long Island's largest fishing fleet. For a fee, the boat staff will provide everything you need for your day of fishing on the Great South Bay or Atlantic Ocean. For those who want to fish but bypass the boat, there are two large fishing piers. After a day of activities on the water, the need to eat can be satisfied at either Captree Cove Restaurant or with a chili dog at The Overlook picnic area, where you can enjoy views of Fire Island and the Fire Island Lighthouse.
Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Preserve(Credit: Center for Science Teaching and Learning)
Not only will you see fish, reptiles and amphibians at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Preserve (1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre), but you'll also see baby alligators and other rescued animals. Kids can also learn about science and participate in programs and workshops throughout the year. The Animal Exhibit is also a hotspot for science-themed birthday parties. Additionally, 11 acres of park and preserve at Tanglewood make great use for exploring nature trails and pond-fishing.
Children's Theater(Credit: GuildHall.org / Richard Termine)
There are many theaters on Long Island that cater to kids of all ages, whether it's watching a family-friendly performance or participating in one. A few theaters, such as Landmark on main Street in Port Washington, John W. Engman Theater in Northport and The Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City have featured shows including "The Wizard of Oz," "Disney's Aladdin Jr.," "The Snow Queen," "Frosty," and "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" throughout the year. other theaters, such as the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset and Wantagh, offers summer theater workshops and the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts in Smithtown, where kids can learn how to act while putting on plays for other children and adults.
Chuck E. Cheese's(Credit: Chuck E. Cheese)
There's a reason why this long-standing play chain's slogan is "Where a kid can be a kid." As soon as you walk through the doors you're instantly greeted by the sounds of other kids laughing as they play arcade games to win prizes and enjoy an animatronic show. After hours of play, check out their restaurant with kid-friendly options.
Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum(Credit: Cindy Grimm)
Head to the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum (301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor) to learn about historic marine life. The museum's mission is to inform and encourage members and visitors to make informed decisions about marine life through artifacts and exhibits about their environmental significance on Long Island. Some exhibit favorites include a fully-equipped 19th century whaleboat with original gear, tools used by whalers, the jaw of a sperm whale and a diorama of Cold Spring Harbor in 1850. Visitors can touch whale bones or partake in family workshops filled with toys, puzzles and games. At no extra cost, the young ones can also try a marine-themed scavenger hunt.
Cradle of Aviation Museum(Credit: Brittany Wait)
Air and space is a fascinating topic for some kids, and the Cradle of Aviation (Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City) features more than 75 air and spacecraft, a dozen cockpits and 30 hands-on exhibits in nine galleries. If that's not enough to excite you, the museum also has an impressive JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium and the National Geographic Leroy R. & Rose W. Grumman Dome Theater. A favorite among kids is the Sesame Street show featuring Big Bird, Elmo and more as they learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, the sun and the moon. There are also unique expos held at the Cradle of Aviation throughout the year, including the Chocolate Expo, a retro arcade show and more.
Democrat Point/Sore Thumb(Credit: Steven Sunshine)
What makes Democrat Point and Sore Thumb beaches so unique are the 4x4 off-roading adventures. Families with four-wheel drive trucks can ride right onto the sand near the ocean with the appropriate permit. Additionally, both beaches allow fishing while surfers can head to Democrat Point. Visit Democrat Point, located on the end of Fire Island, for ocean and bay side access before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Sore Thumb is found at Gilgo State Park in Babylon and is accessible via bay side, 24 hours a day. Both beaches have a no-animal policy.
East End fun(Credit: Big Duck)
Taking a road trip out East is a great tradition for many families. From Splish Splash and the Long Island Aquarium to the Greenport Antique Carousel, museums, petting zoos and mini-golf, there's no shortage of family-friendly activities. Families enjoy checking out the infamous Big Duck in Flanders, the Montauk Lighthouse and many of the wineries. Check out our guide to East End fun for families.
Eisenhower Park(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)
There's so much to do at Eisenhower Park (1899 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow) that your biggest challenge will be figuring out what to do first! The park boasts three playgrounds, including a completely renovated climbing area. The park also features a Let All The Children Play accessible playground. During the summer, kids can enjoy running through the sprinkler park as well. There's also the Nassau County Aquatic Center, which offers swimming lessons for kids of all ages, a two-mile fitness trail, various athletic fields, sport courts, ice rinks, golf courses and more. After a long day of keeping busy, families can unwind with a concert or outdoor movie at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater or pack a picnic for a family-friendly dinner.
Fairs and Festivals(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Long Island is known for numerous and extremely popular fairs and festivals that take place throughout the year. The Mattituck Strawberry Festival kicks off the summer season with decadent sweet treats and more. Other summer festivals include the Sayville SummerFest, St. Rocco's Feast, Brookhaven Fair and more. The fall season offers the largest abundance of fairs and festivals, such as the Pickle Festival, Oyster Festival, Long Island Fall Festival and many Halloween-themed festivals in Nassau and Suffolk. During the holiday season, there are various tree lighting festivals, the Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson and more.
Family-friendly wineries(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Looking to venture out to the North Fork wineries but not sure if you should bring the whole family? The good news is there are plenty of vineyards offering kid-friendly fun. Harbes Family Farm and Vineyard in Mattituck lets kids pick their own fruit and pet animals. Jamesport Vineyard in Riverhead serves up wine for those 21 and older but also offers verjus, made from unfermented, half-ripe grapes, so kids can get in on the fun of the tastings, too. Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead is another great spot to visit and is well-known for its family and pet-friendly environment and boasts activities like horse and carriage rides and "canine and vines" events.
Fire Island(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
There's no need to travel far to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Long Islanders can rely on Fire Island for a perfect beach getaway. This car-less island features beautiful beaches, magnificent wildlife, tons of water sports and delicious food. There's also the Sunken Forest at Sailor's Haven, where you can choose to go on a guided ranger tour or hike through the unique maritime environment. Filled with a number of different towns all with their own distinct feel, Fire Island makes for a perfect staycation.
Fishing(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
With more than 500 lakes and ponds, and more than 30 miles of streams, it's no wonder fishing is a popular activity on LI. In Nassau County, small park ponds are great for catching bass, trout and panfish, but beware that bass fishing in Nassau is for catch and release only. In Western Suffolk County, bass can be commonly found in most lakes and ponds while trout are found when stream fishing. Over in Eastern Suffolk, a more secluded fishing experience awaits with fish like bass, yellow perch, white perch and catfish. Those looking to fish in this area should check out Fort Pond in Montauk for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye.
Going out to eat(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The options for eating out are endless on Long Island. And if your kids are in tow, you don't have to worry about paying for half-eaten plates of food. Certain restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk offer kids-eat-free promotions with the purchase of an adult entree. For example, kids ages nine and younger eat for free at George Martin Grillfire in Rockville Centre from 4 p.m.- 9 p.m. Plus, families will get a kick out of the complimentary hot pretzels before the meal and cotton candy for dessert. For the family on the go, kids can get a free meal at Moe's Southwest Grill after 5 p.m. on Tuesdays. Other options where kids eat free include IHOP, Denny's, Gasho of Japan, Ciao Baby and more. Be sure to check out the full list.
Harbes Family Farm(Credit: Jeffrey Basinger)
Harbes Family Farm (715 Sound Ave., Mattituck) puts a twist on fun farm activities that both kids and adults alike will love. Enjoy a singing hayride, activities with Farmer Fred and pig races to name a few. Kids will also love the pony rides, tractor trikes, Bunnyville and the Chick Observatory. For a little more thrill, check out the secret garden hedge maze or bring the kids to the farm's bounce house. You can also check out the various animals that live at the farm, such as Skittles the Lamb, Red the Bullcalf and Oreo the Cow. Parents can visit the farm's vineyards. Be sure to check their website for special events like Sweet Corn Festival, Harbes Tomato Festival and Watermelon Festival throughout the summer and fall.
Heckscher State Park(Credit: James Carbone)
Heckscher State Park (1 Heckscher State Pkwy., East Islip) offers a little something for everyone, including views of the Great South Bay and Fire Island. For those who love to play, large open fields are available for soccer, cricket and lacrosse. Those seeking an adventure will love the variety of watersports on the bay. Nature lovers can enjoy hiking and spotting different types of animals, such as whitetail deer, various birds and more. Wrap up a fun day in one of the parks well-known shady picnic groves.
Holtsville Ecology Center(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
The Brookhaven Wildlife & Ecology Center (249 Buckley Rd., Holtsville) is home to numerous animals from wild mustangs and donkeys to peacocks and wild turkeys. The center offers tours and educational programs for kids, such as pee-wee gardening classes. Brookhaven Town residents can reserve garden parcels to grow their own vegetables and flowers. There are plenty of greenhouses to check out and the center also offers an area to leave compost, free of charge. You'll also find a triple pool complex, an exercise trail and a fitness course. The Ecology Center is also home to Safety Town, a replica of a mini village, where kids learn pedestrian and bicycle safety by using bikes and mini electric vehicles.
Home Depot kids workshops(Credit: The Home Depot)
At Home Depot, kids can channel their creativity at monthly kid-friendly workshops. Offered on the first Saturday morning of each month, workshops allow little ones to build and craft items, such as a skateboard pencil box that they can decorate and keep. All kids will also receive a free certificate of achievement along with a workshop apron and a commemorative pin. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit workshops.homedepot.com.
Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve(Credit: Alexi Knock)
Imaginations will run free at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve (200 New Hwy., Commack). In the summer, kids can keep cool from the heat at the water playground. Little ones will enjoy the park's kid-friendly climbing station station, see-saws, slides, swings and a sandbox. The park also features baseball fields and nature trails. Don't miss the Nature Center, where you can see snakes, frogs, salamanders, turtles and fish. Other park amenities include picnic areas and outdoor fireplaces. Hoyt Farm is only open to Smithtown residents year-round.
Ice cream shops(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Few things are better than an ice cold treat to help cool off on a hot day. Between Nassau and Suffolk, plenty of places are whipping up creamy sweet concoctions for everyone to enjoy. If you're looking to experiment with some fun flavors, check out Carla Marla's in Bellport for Movie Time flavor ice cream (buttery-popcorn-flavored ice cream with sea-salt caramel), Frozen Cows Ices and Cream (Lido Beach) for a special breakfast flavor made with maple syrup, bacon bits and Belgian waffles, or Magic Fountain in Mattituck for unexpected flavors like coconut-jalapeno or olive oil. There's also the roadside shop, Snowflake in Riverhead, which has flavors like Peconic Swamp Thing, a chocolate-brownie-and-raspberry swirl flavor. Some other notable places include Wolfs Frozen Custard in Northport, one of the only Long Island shops that makes frozen custard and McNulty's Ice Cream Parlor in Miller Place, where kids will get a kick out of The Sandpail Sundae, which comes complete with a shovel, rake and a cherry on top. Be sure to check out Ice Cream Cottage in Mastic, the winner of Newsday's contest for the best ice cream on Long Island.
Kid-friendly concerts(Credit: Anthony Lanzilote)
You don't have to travel far to see your kid's favorite artist live in concert. The Paramount in Huntington is great for families who want to enjoy a show on a smaller scale. The Dolan Twins, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Imagination Movers and Lukas Graham have performed there. There are shows for all ages offered year-round. During the summer month, the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh offers concerts as the sun begins to set. Each year, some of the biggest names in country, pop and rock hit the stage, for example the weekend-long Billboard Hot 100 Festival, which featured Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo and Ariana Grande. There are also many free, outdoor concerts at Long Island parks, such as the Town of Hempstead's Summer Concert Series and the Huntington Summer Arts Festival at Heckscher Park.
Lewin Farms(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Lewin Farms (812 Sound Ave., Calverton) is a great spot to check out no matter what season it is. In the winter, families can cut down their own Christmas trees or purchase a pre-cut tree. In the fall, the farm has a newly designed corn maze for visitors to get lost in while working together to get out. Throughout the summer and fall seasons, the following fresh fruits and vegetables are available for picking on your own: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, apples, pumpkins and gourds. On the weekends, roasted corn and baked potatoes are available for purchase.
Libraries(Credit: Heather Walsh)
These days you'll find more than just books at Long Island libraries. The Middle Country Library in Centereach is the first library in the country to offer the Nature Explorium, an outdoor space for children and families to learn and play. The different areas of the explorium encourage kids to learn different aspects of nature and connecting it with literacy. Other notable libraries include the Robert Bacon Memorial Children's Library in Westbury, which was the third children's library in the world when it was built. The Harborfields Public Library in Greenlawn boasts a large wooden train for kids to climb and play on while the Cold Spring Harbor Public Library has an entire second floor for children to play with blocks, puzzles, puppets and more.
Lighthouses(Credit: Matthew Meyer)
There's nothing that symbolizes the life of being on an island than an old-fashioned lighthouse. In Montauk Point lives the first lighthouse in New York State. It's also the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country. Standing at 110 feet tall, guests can take tours of the Montauk Lighthouse and see things such as the oil room, fog signal house and the top of the tower. Over in Fire Island is Long Island's tallest lighthouse, standing at 168 feet high. Inside, you'll find 156 iron steps that lead to the top of the tower. Climb all the way up and enjoy amazing views. These two lighthouses are just the beginning of numerous other lighthouses across Nassau and Suffolk.
Long Island Aquarium(Credit: Jeffrey Basinger)
Head to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and start your journey inside checking out clownfish, American alligators and sharks as they swim around the massive tanks. Then head outdoors to see animals like penguins, otters and more. You can also get up close and personal with stingrays, butterflies and birds. For an additional fee, families can snorkel with tropical fish, kiss a sea lion and scuba dive in a cage into a shark tank.
Long Island Children's Museum(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)
Parents looking for educational fun can head to The Long Island Children's Museum (11 Davis Ave., Garden City). At the Bricks & Sticks exhibit, kids can build and discover more about our 3-D world through playing with blocks and interactive software. At ClimbIt, kids can play all day in a two-story climbing structure. The Communication Station will allow kids to learn all about every different aspect of communication from how news is broadcast to how their favorite animated characters are created. The most popular exhibit is the large bubble area where kids can blow bubbles and even step inside one giant bubble. What's more, the museum also offers a new traveling exhibit as well as many family-friendly shows.
Long Island Ducks(Credit: Long Island Ducks)
On a clear night, there are few things better than the aroma in the air at a baseball game -- and Long Islanders don't have to make their way to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field to experience this. Bethpage Ballpark (3 Court House Dr., Central Islip) is home to to the Long Island Ducks, a place where families can enjoy an exciting ball game while kids can show their LI spirit using the classic Quacker toy, which is free of charge. Of course, a Ducks game isn't complete without spotting the infamous QuackerJack!
Long Island Game Farm(Credit: Long Island Game Farm)
At the Long Island Game Farm (489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville), kids don't just get to see the animals, they can interact with them, too. The farm offers a multitude of opportunities for families to feed their friendly animals. You can hand-feed Clifford the giraffe, Sandy and Sahara the camels, Gabriella the Miniature Sicilian Donkey and get up close and personal with deer in Bambiland, goats, llamas and alpacas. You can also bottle-feed baby goats and tube feed buffalo, ostrich, emu and zebras. New to the Game Farm this year are five different kinds of lemurs. Once you've fed the animals, bring the kids on a pony ride or one of the several children's rides, such as a carousel, spinning tea cups or the antique train. There's also a Discovery Center with chinchillas, baby alligators and iguanas.
Long Island Live Steamers(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Did you know there is a train station on Long Island just for kids? At Southaven County Park in Brookhaven, kids and adults can take a ride with the Long Island Live Steamers, a small engine train that loops from "Southaven Station" to "Jamaica Station." The steamers run eight or more trains at once on four different tracks, including both "local" and "express" trains. Kids can ride the rails 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and last Sundays of the month from May through October. The train ride is free, but a $1-$2 donation is suggested. For more information, visit longislandlivesteamers.org.
Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center(Credit: Uli Seit)
At the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center, families will learn about the history of firefighting in Nassau County through hands-on exhibits and various firefighting gear. The museum features an interactive gallery where kids can call 911, crawl low in smoke, stop, drop and roll, practice home escape planning and more. Be sure to check out the museum's junior firefighter program where kids can dress up in traditional firefighting gear and board a firetruck in a hands-on educational firefighting experience.
Nunley's Carousel(Credit: Danielle Albanese Samuel)
A favorite pastime of many Long Island parents is visiting Nunley's amusement park. It was located in Baldwin for 56 years until the Carousel made the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City its permanent home. A ride on this beloved Carousel is complete with classical music, with one of the songs written by Long Island-native Billy Joel, who also named one of the horses, "Penny" as a nod to "Pennies for Patients." And don't forget the brass ring machine -- if riders can grab a brass ring, they win a free ride on the carousel. For more fun facts, check out our roundup of 20 things you may not know about Nunley's Carousel.
Parks(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
When it comes to outdoor activities on the Island, numerous state parks across Nassau and Suffolk provide the ultimate backdrop for exploration, play-time and breathtaking sights. Parks like Robert Moses State Park (Babylon), Sunken Meadow State Park (Kings Parks) and Jones Beach State Park (Wantagh) are great for sand and surf lovers. Those looking to hit the green with their golf gear can visit parks such as Bethpage State Park (Farmingdale) and Sag Harbor State Golf Course (East Hampton). Nature-lovers should head to Nissequogue River State Park (Kings Park) featuring hiking trails and wildlife habitats. Looking to explore a new state park? Check out our Long Island parks and preserve guide.
Petting zoos(Credit: Randee Daddona)
There are many farms and petting zoos throughout Long Island where visitors can see, pet and even feed some of the animals. From observing marine life and petting a giraffe to bottle-feeding baby goats, children of all ages can meet and learn about exotic animals without having to travel far to do so. For more details, check out our list of places to see animals on LI.
Playgrounds(Credit: Howard Schnapp)
Being a kid on Long Island means having plenty of options of places to swing and slide at great playgrounds throughout Nassau and Suffolk. A few notable parks include Northport Village Park, located on the water in Northport Village -- there's a local ice cream shop right down the street for a nice break after playing all day. Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn boasts a large playground with more than 10 play areas appealing to a variety of age groups. Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays, has two separate playgrounds -- one for younger kids and another for older kids. Although Corey Creek Park in Brookhaven is located on the beach, the park has a giant sandbox for kids to play.
Port Jefferson(Credit: John Griffin)
The quaint village of Port Jefferson boasts shops, restaurants, activities, historic exhibits and events for families, including outdoor movies and concerts. Village favorites, such as the Maritime Explorium and Bayles Boat Shop are great places for families to go to learn some history while having fun. There's also plenty of annual events to check out in Port Jefferson village, such as the 4th of July Parade, The Boater's Maritime Festival, Harvest Fest, Farmer's Market and the Charles Dickens Festival. Accessible by car, train, ferry and boat, a stroll through Port Jefferson will offer something for everyone.
Pumpkin and apple picking(Credit: Garden of Eve)
As the leaves change color and the air becomes more crisp, many families annual fall traditions include pumpkin and apple picking. There are many U-pick farms and nurseries in Nassau and Suffolk, including the Milk Pail in Water Mill, which offers 26 varieties of apples. Pumpkin patches like the one at White Post Farms in Melville hosts a fall festival with an extensive pumpkin patch. Stakey's Pumpkin Farm in Aquebogue has 18 pumpkin varieties to choose from at their "pick your own" farm. They also grow garden mums, cabbage, kale and more. Hank's Pumpkin Town in Water Mill is open mid-September through October for pumpkin and apple picking along with their famous roasted sweet corn. Many of the apple and pumpkin picking farms also include hayrides, corn mazes and delicious baked goods.
Quogue Wildlife Refuge(Credit: Barry Sloan)
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge (3 Old Country Rd., Quogue) features seven miles of walking trails, forests and ponds. You'll also see a variety of wildlife, including bobcats, falcons and owls who call the Refuge their home. The Refuge also offers paddling events, Earth Yoga and more. During the summer, kids can attend one of nine, one-week exploration camps through hands-on activities. Be sure to also check out their guided kayak programs that are run year-round.
Railroad Museum of Long Island(Credit: Railroad Museum of Long Island)
Did you know there is a kid-friendly museum dedicated to the LIRR? The Railroad Museum of Long Island highlights the LIRR's rich history. There are two locations to visit, one in Greenport and one in Riverhead, with both museums located in walking distance of their respective train stops. Families can learn about the Island's railroad heritage as well as checking out various restored train cars on displays.
Seasonal fun(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Long Island sure knows how to spread holiday cheer. Around Halloween, you'll find haunted houses, corn mazes, not-so spooky trails, costume parades and more. During Christmas and Hanukkah, there are plenty of tree and menorah-lighting ceremonies, plenty of places to see Santa and festive holiday light shows. Long Islanders also love St. Patrick's Day, with parades in nearly every town.
Smith Point(Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)
Welcome to Suffolk County's largest oceanfront park! At Smith Point, families can enjoy all-day fun in the sun in a wide range of activities such as swimming, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, camping and playgrounds. The beach offers amenities for guest convenience such as food concessions, showers and access to the outer beach area. Various special events are scheduled during the summer for families to partake in.
Splish Splash(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Splish Splash (2549 Splish Splash Dr., Calverton) is Long Island's only waterpark. Make a splash on some ride favorites, like Alien Invasion, Dragon's Den and Hollywood Stunt Rider. Cool off by sliding into a refreshing pool of water on Shotgun Falls, Barrier Reef and Cliff Diver. After experiencing the thrill of a water coaster, kick back and relax on a tube as you float down the classic Lazy River. There's also four kiddie attractions for the little ones, free shows, food courts, gift shops and more.
Tackapausha Museum and Preserve(Credit: Heather Walsh)
Head to Tackapausha Museum and Nature Preserve in Seaford and get in touch with nature. Each month, the museum has scheduled presentations and live exhibits featuring preying birds, reptiles, amphibians, opossums, porcupine and new Egyptian fruit bats. The museum also offers environmental education programs, opportunities to get involved in community service projects, and if your child a is a boy or girl scout, Tackapausha offers badges and awards. You can explore the great outdoors on the nature preserve, with 84-acres featuring a wildlife sanctuary, woods, swamps, streams and ponds.
Trampoline parks(Credit: Hand out for Bounce!)
Kids love jumping around and there's no better place than bounce and trampoline centers. Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Syosset, Sky Zone in Deer Park and Mount Sinai are just a few of the spots where families can go to get an adrenaline rush. If trampolines aren't your thing, you can bring the kids to climb, bounce and slide on inflatables at places like Bouncers and Slydos, Kangaroo Kids Inflatable Party Center, Long Island Laser Bounce and more.
White Post Farms(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)
At White Post Farms (250 Old Country Rd., Melville), families can interact with a variety of animals from around the world. Families can visit Grevy Zebras from Kenya, Nilgai Antelopes from India and Ring-Tailed Lemurs from Southern Madagascar. For an additional fee, kids can also feed many of the animas. "Ronnie's Birdie Landing" features a big flight aviary with a flock of Budgies that kids can hold and feed. White Post also offers pony rides, a train ride, a mining adventure and free animatronic shows. You can top off the day by bringing them to the farm's playground, featuring numerous sand boxes, wooden structures to play on, playhouses and slides. During the summer, the farm opens a summer water playground with inflatable water slides and in the fall, they feature a festival with pumpkins, roasted corn and more.