Sophie Pendas of Old Bethpage climbs on the playground at...

Sophie Pendas of Old Bethpage climbs on the playground at Bethpage State Park. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Long Island playgrounds can transform everyday parks into imaginary lands. Almost every neighborhood has a place where kids can climb, slide and run — but when you’d like to make a family day of it, consider these places for play spaces worth the drive.

Best bets for playgrounds on Long Island

ON THE BEACH: Orient Beach State Park in Orient and Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh.

SPRINKLER PARK: Clark Street Playground in Long Beach.

BATTING CAGES AND MINIATURE GOLF: Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

Phelps Lane Park in North Babylon 

THE FUN At the entrance to the playground, you’ll notice a sign that says, “Pirates only. No trespassing. All others will walk the plank.” The playground is shaped like a huge pirate ship, with a deck made of a series of platforms connected by ramps.

THE GROUNDS While bopping from one side of the ship to the other, kids can manipulate plastic cannons, steer the ship's helm, wave up at a pirate flag and crow’s nest, prepare to walk a plank and slide downward. There are numerous ways to get onto the ship — steps, ladders made of chains, and even a boulder kids can climb.

INFO 281 Phelps Lane, North Babylon; 631-893-2100,

Firefighters Park in Great Neck 

THE FUN In Great Neck Plaza, you’ll find Firefighters Park. It has two mini fire trucks and a fire station. Kids can climb into the fire trucks, turn the steering wheels and slide down; or climb to the top of the fire station on the steps, rock walls and ladders. To get from one side of the firehouse to the other, cross a bridge made of ropes.

THE GROUNDS Kids can continue their adventures on a spacious lawn in the park, inside a gazebo, or on the swings.

INFO 30 Grace Ave., Great Neck; 516-487-7665,

Children’s Playground at Garvies Point

THE FUN Split into two neighboring zones, the park's main feature is a pyramid-shaped climbing tower and slide; several climbing obstacles are also part of the fun and a pair of infant/toddler swings.

THE GROUNDS The park is located on the Waterfront Esplanade that runs alongside Glen Cove Creek, where several wooden chairs point toward the creek.

INFO 80-84 Garvies Point Rd., Glen Cove; 

Children’s Park in Rockville Centre

THE FUN The play sets are separated into zones for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12, and there are two swing sets. One features a large yellow swing designed to hold children who use wheelchairs or have other ambulatory issues. In the summer, there is a small water park with two ground jets and a tower (designed to look like a flower) that sprays from about 7 feet above the ground.

THE GROUNDS Veterans park located behind the recreation center features a walking path, basketball courts, handball wall as well as an open field and a gaga pit.

INFO 111 N. Oceanside Rd., Rockville Centre; 516-678-9338, 

Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn

THE FUN The playground here is divided into various zones, designated by age (2-5, 5-8). All offer opportunities to climb and slide with equipment positioned over rubber mats or blue foam for cushioning. The play area is fenced in with gated entrance points.

THE GROUNDS Kids and adults alike can use outdoor chess tables or play shuffleboard. If you were hoping to include your dog in the day’s fun, the park has a dog run and there are baseball diamonds and basketball courts as well. Swim during the summer in either the Olympic-sized pool, kiddie pool or diving pool (late-June-Labor Day; open to county residents only, fee). There is a nine-hole golf course for adults (fee). Call ahead for availability.

INFO Parking $10 a car for non-Nassau County residents weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day; 500 Searingtown Rd., Roslyn; 516-571-8113,

Nina Chalson, 23 months, of Sea Cliff, climbs through the...

Nina Chalson, 23 months, of Sea Cliff, climbs through the playground with some help from mom Danielle Chalson, at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn on an overcast but mild Friday, June 7, 2019. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Cedar Creek Park in Seaford

THE FUN The large play area is divided into zones recommended for kids ages 2-5, 5-8 and 8-12, and consists of climbing obstacles, slides, poles, swings and elevated running paths.

THE GROUNDS Cedar Creek has a dedicated rink for roller skating or blading, plus a dog run, handball and basketball courts, baseball diamond and turf soccer field. The picnic areas have charcoal grills and a number of shelters (fee). In addition, should your kids be into archery, there is a year-round regulation-sized range open to the public (bring your own equipment), while hobbyists can fly remote-control planes over a designated field.

INFO Parking $10 a car for non-Nassau County residents daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day; 3340 Merrick Rd., Seaford; 516-571-7470,

Wantagh Park in Wantagh

THE FUN The massive play area is divided into zones recommended for kids of varying ages and consists of climbing obstacles, slides, poles and elevated running paths. There are four swing sets, two with seats for larger kids and the others with bucket seats for toddlers. Part of the playground is a large sandpit that holds climbing and sliding fun, as well as a metal “spider” that connects ladders to a center disc (test with your hand before letting kids climb; in the sun, the spider can become hot to the touch). For another unique climbing item, head to the rear of the playground to find a fire truck-inspired obstacle with a small slide attached.

The younger kids will also enjoy a second playground for ages 2-5 set near the tennis courts and behind the dog run. This play zone is behind a short castle-style wall and holds a play battleship and tugboat, among other plastic obstacles and climbing items.

THE GROUNDS There are basketball courts plus facilities for baseball/softball. The picnic areas have charcoal grills and sheltered areas (fee), and there’s a popular miniature golf course as well (fee). Head to the rear of the park to find a walking path with bay views of Jones Beach and the parkway — and observant guests might notice some very unusual birds flying overhead as green monk parakeets have made the park their home. Native to South America, these noisy birds stand out and can be watched in the trees and poking through picnic areas. Swim during the summer in either the Olympic-sized pool, kiddie pool or diving pool (late-June-Labor Day; open to county residents only, fee).

INFO Parking $10 a car for non-Nassau County residents daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day; 1 King Rd., Wantagh; 516-571-7460,

Heritage Park in Mount Sinai

THE FUN Kids can enjoy two large arrangements of slides, poles, ladders and tubes in which to crawl, as well as a pair of swing sets and a single swing chair designed for children who use wheelchairs and have other needs.

THE GROUNDS Heritage Park has its Heritage Center event space, but walk around the back to find a walking trail that features a retrospective display of farming equipment that recalls when Mount Sinai was a center of agriculture. The park itself features rolling meadows large enough for both sunbathers and kite flyers to coexist. There are a turf athletic field and two baseball diamonds plus a walking/jogging/stroller path that winds around most of the space. Picnic fans can set up a blanket on the meadow and enjoy the sights on this former sod farm.

INFO 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Rd., Mount Sinai; 631-403-4846, 

Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh

THE FUN Located between the Gatsby on the Ocean restaurant and Field 4, the playground is broken down into sections for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12 — with both sporting play sets offering poles, slides and places to climb. The entire area is painted blue, as is the foam or mats that sit under the play spaces. There is also an additional playground at Zach’s Bay, located on the bay side near Field 5. The playground is medium-sized with two separate play areas and seven swings. There are slides and lots of faux rock climbs, and tic-tac-toe features.

THE GROUNDS Visitors can spot the Atlantic Ocean, the famous Jones Beach Boardwalk and miles of sandy shores on which kids can play, as well as miniature golf and court games section.

INFO Parking $8 weekends and holidays April 1-May 21; $10 daily May 27-Sept. 10; $8 weekends and holidays Sept. 16-Nov. 5; 2400 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh; 516-785-1600,

Clark Street Playground in Long Beach

THE FUN Located along Shell Creek at the north end of the street. Bathed by the sun, it has a cushioned surface and a large central climbing structure and a scaling tower strung with a weblike net. The facility also features a sprinkler park in the summer.

THE GROUNDS Between the playground and the creek lies a lawn and a short walking path.

INFO Free. At the end of Clark and Harmon streets, Long Beach; 516-431-1000,

Lilly Smilardi 6 of Bellmore runs through the sprinklers at...

Lilly Smilardi 6 of Bellmore runs through the sprinklers at Clark Street playground in Long Beach, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 Credit: Jeff Bachner

Bethpage State Park Playground in Old Bethpage

THE FUN Split into two sections, the fun zones sit on either side of a green two-child swing set with both seats designed for toddlers. To the left of those swings, kids will find a structure with slides and runways situated off the ground. Next to that sits a set of poles with faux “leaves" on which to climb — which matches the motif of the play area, where the climbing structures are topped by shady cones shaped like leaf-thatched roofs. There’s also a rock-shaped climbing block that stands about 5 feet high, and another swing set with two traditional strap swings and two chair swings able to secure a child with special needs. The other play station is set to the right of the dual swings and is equipped with plank runways, slides and ladders.

THE GROUNDS Nestled among a smattering of trees, the sunbathed playground is surrounded by several picnic tables, and is only steps from the parking lot.

INFO Parking $8 a car, weekends and holidays April 1-May 21; daily May 27-Sept. 4; weekends Sept. 9-Nov. 5; 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale (northern end of Bethpage State Park Picnic Polo Road); 516-249-0701,

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay

THE FUN There are two play zones within this space set aside to honor the 26th U.S. president, with a fence-surrounded main option only about 150 feet from Oyster Bay Harbor, which not only provides a calm sandy shoreline for fun but views of the small boats. The play apparatus is yellow and blue, with climbing obstacles, runways and slides plus a tall cone-shaped section of pipes for climbing, which is connected by two horizontal rows of climbable piping shaped in irregular oblongs. There are swing sets as well, one of which offers a pair of chair seats that can provide additional security for children with special needs. Then, closer to the parking area, a second playground awaits, also enclosed but intended only for ages 2-5. This features two shorter climbing zones and another swing set, also equipped with a swing chair.

THE GROUNDS Aside from the shore, there are long paved walking trails and the “Roosevelt Memorial Rocks,” a retelling of the namesake’s life with the use of fact-filled plaques affixed to 24 different stones of varying size.

INFO Free. West End Avenue, Oyster Bay; 516-624-6202, 

Harborfields Community Playground in Greenlawn

THE FUN Part of the grounds also known as “Pickle Park,” the climbing structure is built from gray poles topped with green caps, and there are slides, obstacles and runways to explore. There’s also a swing set available with a pair of chair swings, and the floor is a cushioned surface rather than wood chips or sand.

THE GROUNDS Situated behind Harborfields Public Library in a residential area, it’s located within a fenced-in athletic field next to a basketball court and adjacent to a large lawn.

INFO Free. Behind the library (31 Broadway), closest to Ann Street, Greenlawn; 631-351-3089, 

Eisenhower Park Playground in East Meadow

THE FUN LATCP (“Let All The Children Play”) playground at Nassau County’s massive 930-acre park is intended to be accessible for children of all physical abilities, and guests are greeted by a tall wall-less shelter with benches and the LATCP slogan posted above in block letters. The play zones are located at the ends of concrete paths that radiate outward from the LATCP gazebo, and feature a variety of climbing obstacles, swings (including swing chairs) and slides. The other playground areas are found near parking fields 2 and 1A.

THE GROUNDS Aside from the tremendous amount of open space, there are long paths for walking and biking, a batting cage and miniature golf among other amenities.

INFO Parking $10 a car for nonresidents daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day; Merrick and Stewart avenues, East Meadow; 516-572-0200,

The Children Play Accessible Park and Playground at Eisenhower Park...

The Children Play Accessible Park and Playground at Eisenhower Park is the county'?s first public accessible park and playground on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 in East Meadow, New York. (Photo by Howard Schnapp) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Orient Beach State Park in Orient

THE FUN The playground space here is located on the beach of Gardiner’s Bay, providing a view of passing windsurfers and the anglers who line the stony, sandy shoreline. Kids will find structures with slides, runways and obstacles, as well as swing sets that include chairs. There’s also a play sailboat fixed in the sand and a tugboat-like tower.

THE GROUNDS In addition to the main beach, a second shoreline along Hallock’s Bay is also available to explore, where kids keen on spotting wildlife can see ospreys soaring overhead and crabs scuttling in the shallow ripples.

INFO Parking $8 a car daily May 27-June 23; $10 a car daily June 24-Sept. 4; $8 a car weekends and holidays April 1-May 21 and Sept. 9-Oct. 9; 40000 Main Rd. (Route 25), Orient; 631-323-2440,

Rocketship Park in Port Jefferson

THE FUN Enclosed by fencing, this sunny spot takes its name from its main feature, a towering structure shaped like a spacecraft with a pair of slides positioned at differing heights. However, another unique climbing apparatus awaits — but this one is designed to look like a pirate ship, and sports several obstacles to try. Off to its side is a smaller rock for scaling and an additional slide — but for some quick Zen, there’s a small green patch with a peace pole at its middle, and as for swings there are a pair of swing chairs available.

THE GROUNDS Aside from the playground, there’s an overhang that shelters benches and picnic tables, with basketball courts on the other side. Tennis courts are located across the entrance roadway.

INFO Free, but Port Jefferson Village parking rules and meters apply. 34 Roessner, Port Jefferson Village; 631-418-6699,


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