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.
Go see Soul Street Dance: The Art of Hip Hop!(Credit: Way2Much.com)
The Soul Street Dance: The Art of Hip Hop! performance will be at John Drew Theater, Guild Hall (158 Main St., East Hampton) on Wednesday, July 15 at 5 p.m. This Houston-based dance troupe entertains as part of the eight-week, Wednesday evening KidFEST at Guild Hall. The troupe will perform to an eclectic mix of music ranging from Vivaldi to rock and roll, to hip-hop.
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.
Go to the Movies on the Harbor(Credit: Disney)
Each summer the Village of Port Jefferson sponsors a series of outdoor movies at Harborfront Park. Showtimes start at dusk; families are encouraged to bring blankets, chars and a picnic dinner. Movies include: "Open Season" on July 14; "Hook" on July 21; "Hunger Games/Mockingjay Part 1" on July 28; "Big Hero 6" on Aug. 4; "Paddington" on Aug. 11 and "Finding Nemo" on Aug. 18. Rain dates are the next evening.
Go see Wild Kratts -- Live!(Credit: Wild Kratts)
At 1 p.m. on Aug. 2, Wild Kratts -- Live! will be at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts (LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville). The show is based on the Emmy-nominated PBS wildlife television series that stars brothers Martin and Chris Kratt. The Kratts teach animal calls and animal behavior and act out their adventures from around the world. The Kratts used to be on the PBS Kids "Zoboomafoo" TV show.
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.
Check out free, family-friendly concerts at Heckscher Park(Credit: Jayme Thornton)
When the weather is swell, the stage is set for a wonderful evening at the Huntington Summer Arts Festival at Heckscher Park. At 7:30 p.m. on summer Tuesdays, children's performers take to the Chapin Rainbow Stage for free outdoor shows; bring your own blanket. The shows include "Shrek" (June 30), "Brady Rymer ... The Little Band That Could," pictured (July 7), "Dane Zanes" (July 14), "Peter Pan" (July 21), "Jedi Academy" with David Engel (July 28) and "Dream Jam Band" (Aug. 4).
Catch a fish at Captree State Park(Credit: Handout)
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-$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.
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.
Go see The Laurie Berkner Band(Credit: AP)
The Laurie Berkner Band returns to the Long Island Great South Bay Music Festival at noon on Sunday, July 19 at Shorefront Park (99 Smith St., Patchogue). Laurie Berkner was the first artist to appear in music videos on Nick Jr. and she's also made regular appearances on Sprout's "Sunny Side Up Show." She will showcase many favorites including "Drive My Car," "Mouse in My Toolbox," "Victor Vito," "I'm Gonna Catch You," "Bumblebee" and more. She'll also play quieter songs from "Laurie Berkner Lullabies."
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.
Check out The Amazing Max(Credit: The Amazing Max)
Off-Broadway illusionist Max Darwin returns for a second year to engage in magic, comedy and audience participation at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on Aug. 14 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. "He's not an older guy with a mustache pulling rabbits out of a hat. He looks like he stepped out of a boy band," says Scot Allan, director of public relations for the Gateway Playhouse, which is bringing the event to the Patchogue Theatre. "He's young and fresh and hip."
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 min-golf on Long Island.
Go see Doktor Kaboom's Live Wire! The Electricity Tour(Credit: Scott Suchman)
Doktor Kaboom's Live Wire! The Electricity Tour will take place on July 8 at 5 p.m. at John Drew Theater, Guild Hall (158 Main St., East Hampton). Doktor Kaboom is an over-the-top German physicist who wears chrome goggles and an orange lab coat. He explores the nature of electricity using Tesla coils, Van de Graaff generators and a ping-pong shooting robot. For more information, visit guildhall.org.
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.
Go see a puppet show(Credit: Long Island Children's Museum)
Bonnie Duncan presents "Lollipops for Breakfast" at the Long Island Children's Museum (11 Davis Ave., Garden City) on Tuesday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 26 at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The popular puppeteer tells the story of Sylvie, who decides she's going to break that rule and have lollipops for breakfast, even if it means she has to make her own amazingly perfect lollipop from scratch.
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.
Get under the big top at the Zoppe Italian Family Circus(Credit: Michael Cusanelli)
Nino the Clown returns with the Zoppe Italian Family Circus on July 23 to 26 at the Great Lawn (corner of Main Street and Potunk Lane, Westhampton Beach). The show features acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship, canine capers and more.
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.
Check out pirates at Guild Hall(Credit: The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told)
On Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m., go see "The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told" at Guild Hall (158 Main St., East Hampton). A crew of misfit pirates have but one chance of returning home: perform the greatest pirate epic ever seen on stage. There's just one problem: half their script is missing. Help the crew fill in the blanks and watch as they improvise a brand new musical adventure based on your suggestions.
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.
Learn something new(Credit: Long Island Science Center)
The Long Island Science Center in Riverhead is hosting week-long educational workshops, included with the admission ($5). On July 6-10, kids can learn the science behind colors and create different color combinations; July 13-17 is space week; July 20-24 is all about the five senses; July 27-31, kids can create simple structures while learning about shapes; Aug. 3-7 is all about creatures of the night; Aug. 10-14 is dinosaur week; Aug. 17-21 is all about ancient Egypt, mummies and more. All events are from noon to 4 p.m.
Check out FUN2C: A Circus Fantasy at Tilles Center(Credit: Big Apple Circus)
Aerialists descend from the rafters on ribbons, goats and rescue dogs perform and a contortionist will squeeze herself into a box during the Fun2C Big Apple Circus show at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts (LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville) on July 9 to 12. And of course, there will be a ringmaster and clowns. The 10 a.m. show on July 9 will be geared to hearing or visually impaired audiences. For more information, visit tillescenter.org.
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 http://www.bnl.gov">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 August 27 with Solo Circus. Each week is a different show as audience members experience circus fun and maybe even join in the show.
Check out a Dan Zanes performance(Credit: Gala Narezo)
Grammy winner Dan Zanes of Brooklyn will be urging the kids to get up and dance during his songs, which include such encouraging lines as "Wave your hair and make it fly, let's shake" on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. at The Chapin Rainbow Stage (Heckscher Park, Huntington). Zanes was a member of the Del Fuegos musical group in the 1980s before he delved into children's music.
See free magic shows and more in Port Jeff(Credit: Magic of Amore)
Port Jefferson is hosting free children's shows at the Barn behind Village Hall. "John Reid Tricky Business -- Music, Laughs ... More" on Thursday, July 16; "Ned Gelfar's Circus Variety Show" on Thursday, July 23 and "Magic of Amore" on Thursday, Aug. 13. All shows begin at 6:30 p.m.