Water rides, free shows, museum exhibits and more summer fun for families on Long Island
Flip-flops. Lazy beach days. Ice cream. Whether your kids are heading to summer camp or you're looking for things to do, no matter where you live on Long Island, there are vast resources for you to tap into for some fun, from an adventurous afternoon to family-friendly performances.
We rounded up some of the new attractions or updated events that have popped up on Long Island this year. From free concerts at beaches and parks to water rides, zip lines and more, check out fun things to do with your kids this summer.
Catch a wave(Credit: stockxchng)
From Jones Beach and Long Beach to Shelter Island, Fire Island, the Hamptons, Montauk and more, there are loads of beaches lining Long Island's coast, offering plenty of opportunities for kids to ride the waves, splash around and enjoy the dog days of summer. Many beaches have designated body-boarding and surfing areas as well.
Bowl for free(Credit: iStock)
Kids Bowl Free will allow registered kids to bowl two free games every day until Labor Day. The final date varies from alley to alley; for more information on exact dates, participating locations and getting your child registered, visit kidsbowlfree.com.
Spend the day at Splish Splash(Credit: Splish Splash)
Splish Splash water park (2549 Splish Splash Dr., Calverton) features dozens of water rides, a wave pool and so much more, including The Battle of Mutiny Bay (pictured), a water ride involving rafts outfitted with water-shooting cannons for riders to shoot at other boats. The people around the circuit will have fixed water cannons to shoot against the riders. And don't forget to ride Bootlegger's Run, New York state's first water roller coaster that reaches a top height of 235 feet and starts with a 47-foot (almost five-story) drop.
Try zip-lining(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
At the Adventure Park (75 Colonial Springs Rd., Wheatley Heights), kids ages 7 and older can test their climbing ability along several rope courses. There are eight zip-line trails, ranging from beginner to advanced; climbers must be at least 15 to try the hardest, double-black course dubbed Commando. Climbers must tackle what the park calls the elements that connect tree to tree, for example, balance or strength. For further details, visit longislandadventurepark.org.
Catch a fish at Captree State Park
At Captree State Park, there are two fishing piers and a marina where you can set sail on fishing excursions, plus there's a snack bar, playground and picnic area.
Rent paddleboats at Belmont Lake State Park(Credit: David Reich-Hale )
Colorful paddleboats are a hit with kids, who may have an easier time working their feet than they would rowing a boat with oars. The paddleboats at Belmont Lake State Park in Babylon can fit a family of four, two paddling and two who can sit back and relax. Boats are available to rent five days a week (Thurs-Mon) for $15 (for up to 90 minutes) until Sept. 5, 2016 (Mon, Thurs-Fri: 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sat-Sun and holidays: noon-5:30 p.m., then Sat-Sun only until Oct. 10, 2016 from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.). For more details, visit nysparks.com. Renters must be at least 18 years of age; life preservers must be worn at all times.
Ride bumper boats at Boomers Family Fun Center(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Families can take a spin and get (a little) wet on the bumper boats at Boomers Family Fun Center in Medford. Drivers need to be at least 44 inches tall (passengers must be at least 40 inches tall; $7). The park also has a carousel, roller coaster, go-karts, a 20-foot rock-climbing wall, miniature golf and batting cages.
Ride the rails(Credit: Yana Paskova)
The miniature trains take passengers on a looped journey around Southaven County Park in Brookhaven every other Sunday through the end of October. All aboard begins at 10:30 a.m. with the last departure leaving the station at 3 p.m. Price: Donations accepted. For more information, call 631-345-0499 or visit lilivesteam.org.
Enjoy old-fashioned ice cream(Credit: Doug Young)
It's not summer without some ice cream. Old-fashioned homemade hard ice cream has been scooped since the 1950s at Snowflake in Riverhead, where flavors range from plain ol' vanilla to the more-inventive Peconic Swamp Thing.
Ride the ‘Turbulence’ coaster at Adventureland(Credit: Steve Pfost)
Adventureland in Farmingdale debuted the spinning roller coaster named Turbulence in 2015, which replaced the popular Hurricane coaster. Each car on the coaster spins freely, so riders will experience a unique ride every time. Along with the new coaster, families can enjoy dozens of rides such as a log flume, swings, haunted mansion and many more rides for kids.
Dive into a pool(Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)
Dive into one of the six pools at Wantagh Park. You'll find a swimming complex featuring an Olympic-sized, diving, kiddie, training, slide and interactive pool (children ages 5 to 12). There's also a fishing pier, tennis courts, a game area with chess and checkers, a playground with swings, slides and a maze. Call for fees; 516-571-7460.
Get roasted corn at a farmstand(Credit: Kathleen O'Brien)
In late August, sweet corn is ripe for taking at farmstands throughout the North Fork. Many of the farmstands offer other locally grown, fresh items, such as in-season fruits and vegetables, flowers and more.
The Art of Andy Warhol(Credit: Long Island Children’s Museum)
Long Island Children's Museum's summer-long exhibit highlights the art of Andy Warhol (until Sunday, Sept. 4), which is focused on common objects in his pop art, and includes a silk-screen studio, art gallery, and costume and book center. Visitors can dress up like the characters in some of Warhol's paintings, observe the silk-screening process and design an original image out of newsprint to take home. The museum is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. (closed Mondays).
Play mini-golf by day or night(Credit: Rossa Cole )
The outdoor, nine-hole miniature golf course at the Children's Museum of the East End (376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton) keeps with the museum's mission by incorporating play with teaching kids basic principles of physics. Each hole has an informational sign that asks the golfer a question meant to teach a lesson specific to that hole. (Wed-Mon: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; $5 per person.)
Check out dozens of other places to play mini-golf on Long Island.
Skate with your family for $1(Credit: David Pokress)
Lace up your roller skates and head to United Skates of America in Seaford for a fun night out with your family. Kicking off Tuesday, June 28 and every Tuesday throughout the summer from 6:30-9:30 p.m., families can enjoy $1 admission and $5 roller skate or rollerblade rentals.
Fire Island's Sunken Forest
Explore the Sunken Forest. Kids will love riding the ferry from Sayville over to Sailor's Haven to explore Fire Island's Sunken Forest. The beach has lifeguards, a snack bar and public restrooms ($13 round-trip adults, $7.50 ages 2-10; 631-589-0810 for Sayville ferry; nps.gov/fiis/planyourvisit/sunken-forest.htm)
Feed a giraffe at the Long Island Game Farm(Credit: Kerrie Ferrara)
At the Long Island Game Farm in Manorville, kids can bottle-feed baby animals, hand-feed a giraffe and see kangaroos, buffalos, ostriches, zebras and more.
Go to a Long Island Ducks game(Credit: Ed Betz)
'Curious George: The Golden Meatball'(Credit: Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
The inquisitive monkey helps his chef friend compete in a meatball contest in this Theatre for a Young Audience performance. WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m., with shows on July 16, 17, 23, 24 and 31 and Aug. 6, 7, 13, 14, 21, 27 and 28, at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown INFO $15; 631-724-3700, smithtownpac.org.
The story of a long-haired princess trapped in a tower is retold by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the Emmy-winning co-creators of the hit television sitcom “Friends.”
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. Sept. 3 and 10:30 a.m. Sept. 4, with additional shows at 11 a.m. on Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Sept. 10 and 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28 and Sept. 11, at the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main Street, Northport
INFO $15; 631-261-2900, engemantheater.com.
Take a riverboat tour(Credit: Discovery)
Learn about the North Shore's wetlands ecosystem aboard the Discovery in Stony Brook. The 90-minute sightseeing tours aboard a 35-passenger pontoon boat are led by a naturalist. Trips leave morning, midday and at sunset. Visit Discovery Cruise for more information.
Go berry-picking on the East End(Credit: Patty's Berries and Bunches)
There are about a dozen U-pick farms that welcome the public to wander the rows and pile their baskets full of strawberries throughout the summer. Patty's Berries and Bunches in Mattituck (pictured) is open from June through October and offers U-pick raspberries, blackberries, blueberries as well as strawberries.
Head to Bayville Adventure Park(Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)
Visit Bayville Adventure Park and enjoy a pirate-themed fun park with bumper boats (pictured), indoor rock climbing, miniature golf, ropes course, bungee bounce, train ride, 3-D Fun House, maze, video arcade and ice cream parlor. In the fall, it becomes Bayville Scream Park and during the holidays, it becomes a winter wonderland. ($29.75 for a one-day unlimited pass; 516-624-4678; bayvilleadventurepark.com)