10 best things to do with kids on LI this summer
Go, go, go! From summer camps to beach days to pool parties, there's no lack of ways to entertain kids in July and August. Here's hoping, though, that you can carve out a few hours to do something fun as a family (insert tween's eye-roll here).
RIDE A WATER COASTER
Coming later this summer at Splish Splash: the biggest attraction the park has ever opened. Bootlegger's Run is a massive water roller coaster that will send riders on four-man rafts hurling through a course at speeds up to 30 miles an hour before splashdown ($29.99-$39.99 plus $12 parking; 631-727-3600, splishsplashlongisland.com). (July 8, 2012)
RIDE THE BUMPER BOATS
Let them get (a little) wet by taking a spin on the bumper boats at Boomers Family Fun Center in Medford. Drivers need to be at least 44 inches tall (40 for passengers) -- the park also has a carousel, roller coaster, go-karts, a 20-foot rock-climbing wall, miniature golf and batting cages ($23.95 for unlimited rides, 631-475-1771, boomersparks.com). Here, Aidan Vandenburgh, 15, from Southold takes on the water in a bumper boat at Boomers in Medford. (May 21, 2013)
SEE BABY TURTLES
Aug. 24 is a special day at the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium. That's when kids are invited to celebrate the birth of 20 to 30 tiny turtle hatchlings. Staffers will answer turtle questions and lead kids in a craft (2 p.m., $6 adults, $4 ages 3-12, 516-692-6768, cshfha.org).
SEE AN OUTDOOR MOVIE -
Pack a picnic and grab the clan -- outdoor movies are screening all over Long Island this summer. It's a fun (and often free) way to entertain the kids on a warm evening. For something really retro, try the drive-in at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport, where FREE WILLY screens July 25 and the 1978 classic SUPERMAN will be shown Aug. 22. Here, kids settle on blankets for the drive-in outdoor movie at Coopers Beach in Southampton, put on by Hamptons Drive-In. (Aug. 9, 2010)
GET UNDER THE BIG TOP
It's a magical sight: a giant big top circus tent pitched on the Great Lawn in Westhampton Beach. The one-ring Zoppe Italian Family Circus is back this summer with Nino the clown, frisky equestrians, capering dogs -- and new this year, air conditioning! (July 25-28, $54 adults, $29 ages 12 and younger; 631-288-2350, whbpac.org). (Aug. 4, 2012)
PAY-AS-YOU-GO GOLF LESSONS
Golf has a reputation for being elitist and instruction too expensive, but Calverton Links offers low rates for junior players on Saturdays -- $18 a session with no contract or committment required. There are even golf clubs to borrow (631-369-5200, calvertonlinks.com). (undated)
BOWL -- FOR FREE
Take break from the heat and head to a bowling alley where kids can enjoy a game for free. Register your child at kidsbowlfree.com and they’ll get two free games of bowling every day through Labor Day. Seven alleys are participating: East Islip Lanes, Larkfield Lanes in East Northport, San-Dee Lanes in Malverne, Bowl Long Island in Patchogue, Port Jefferson Bowl, Baldwin Bowling Center and Massapequa Bowl. (undated)
GO TO AN ICE CREAM SOCIAL
It's the simple pleasures that make a kid's summer. The Southold Historical Society's annual ice cream social is an afternoon of old-fashioned games like tug-of-war and facepainting, plus some rides and -- of course -- the ice cream ($3-$7 per scoop, 1-4 p.m. Aug. 3, 631-765-5500, southoldhistoricalsociety.org). (August 7, 2010)
GET A BURGER AT ALL-AMERICAN
Trendy burger chains come and go, but classic patties are still being served up in foil pouches at All American Drive-In in Massapequa, marking its 50th anniversary this year. Droves of devotees head here for a post-beach or Little League game bite. hint: the line for the middle window tends to move the fastest. (516-798-9574, allamericanhamburger.us). (Dec. 20, 2010)
GO TO FAMILY CAMP
No need to envy the kids spending days swimming, playing Gaga and making arts and crafts this summer - now Mom and Dad can join the fun on weekends. West Hills Day Camp, 21 Sweet Hollow Rd., Huntington, is opening the camp to families. $500 for the four weekends in July or the four weekends in August. The camp is having an open house to explain the program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 1. (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays July 6 to Aug. 25, 631-873-5242; westhillsfamilydaycamp.com).