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.
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). The park also has a carousel, roller coaster, go-karts, a 20-foot rock-climbing wall, miniature golf and batting cages.
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)
The Kids Bowl Free program allows children two free games every day all summer. Simply register at kidsbowlfree.com and receive vouchers via email every Sunday for two free bowling games each day for the entire week. Most centers define kids as ages 15 and younger; bowling-shoe rentals additional, if needed. Click here for a list of participating bowling alleys on Long Island.
Listen to Darlene Graham concerts(Credit: Darlene Graham)
Darlene Graham, a popular children's singer who performs at libraries, parks and other venues throughout Long Island, will perform all summer. She will also be performing at the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell on July 14, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11 and Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. More free concerts will be announced. Visit darlenegrahammusic.com for a more in-depth schedule.
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. Last year, the park opened The Battle of Mutiny Bay (pictured), a new 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.
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.
Try zip-lining(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
At the Adventure Park (75 Colonial Springs Rd., Wheatley Heights), kids 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.
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. Life jackets are provided.
Ride the rails(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Families can ride the rails with the Long Island Live Steamers at Southaven County Park in Brookhaven the second and last Sundays of the month throughout the summer from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The group runs six to eight trains, carrying more than 1,000 passengers on two dedicated tracks that loop through the park. The Blue Line, also called the High Line, is about three feet off the ground. There is a $1 to $2 suggested donation.
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 new coaster at Adventureland(Credit: Steve Pfost)
Adventureland in Farmingdale debuted the new spinning roller coaster named Turbulence, 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 in to one of the six pools at Wantagh Park You'll find a swimming complex featuring six pools; an olympic-sized, diving, kiddie, training, slide and interactive pool (children ages 5 to 12) at Wantagh Park. 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 farm stands throughout the North Fork. Many of the farmstands offer other locally fresh items, such as in-season fruits and vegetables, flowers and more.
Watch movies on the beach(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Watching movies on the beach this summer? You bet! The Civic Associations in Long Beach recently announced the free 2015 Saturday Nights on the Beach, featuring kid-friendly movie nights. Some of the movies include "The Lego Movie" (pictured), "Ghostbusters," "The Goonies," "Car," "Grease," "Jaws" and more. Be sure to bring blankets and chairs.
Check out the Motion Mania exhibit(Credit: Long Island Children's Museum)
Long Island Children's Museum's (11 Davis Ave., Garden City) summer traveling exhibit is Motion Mania, which lets kids look at the science behind their favorite summer activity: roller coasters. Visitors try their hands at designing their own roller coasters, from design to testing and then retesting. They'll learn how loops, slopes, hills, curves, gravity or speed impacts the experience.
Play mini-golf by day or night(Credit: Rossa Cole )
The outdoor, nine-hole miniature golf course opened last year at the Children's Museum of the East End (76 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton). In keeping with the museum's mission, the golf course incorporates 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.
Check out dozens of other places to play mini-golf on Long Island.
Om with your kids(Credit: Yogi Beans)
A popular yoga-for-kids studio in Manhattan is returning to the Hamptons this summer. Yogi Beans offers pop-up classes for children and new parents at Kama Deva in East Hampton and Mindful Turtle in Stony Brook. Babies and kids through age 8 will learn yoga poses that relate to nature with themes such as beaches and parks. Moms can enjoy classes such as Me and My Bean, for moms and toddlers, as well as Mini-Bean and Bean classes, for young kids. For more information, visit yogibeans.com.
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 30 and every Tuesday throughout the summer from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., families can enjoy $1 admission, $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 ($12 round-trip adults, $7 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)
Take your kids out to a Long Island Ducks ball game and root for your home team at Bethpage Ballpark (3 Court House Dr., Central Islip). During the baseball season, ticket prices start at $11.
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)
Ride the bumper boats at Bayville Adventure Park Visit Bayville Adventure Park and enjoy a pirate-themed fun park with bumper boats, 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; www.bayvilleadventurepark.com)
Spend Sundays with science(Credit: Brookhaven National Labratory)
From July 12 through Aug. 2, Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton will be hosting free Summer Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each Sunday kicks off a different theme to explore, such as "Exploring the Ultra Small," "Atom-Smashing Fun" and "Family Fun Day." For more information, visit bnl.gov.
Check out the National Circus Project: 'Solo Circus'(Credit: Long Island Children's Museum)
The Long Island Children's Museum (11 Davis Ave., Garden City) theater will host the National Circus Project every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. starting July 16 through Aug. 27 with "Solo Circus." Each week is a different show as audience members experience circus fun and maybe even join in the show.