Family-friendly destinations on Long Island are hosting events where kids can have different kinds of fun. Hop on a hayride, paint a cat mug with a witch’s broom handle or watch a hedgehog getting a bath. Head to the museum for an interactive activity on why Indigenous people named Long Island “the Island of shells,” or munch on roasted corn while watching a dog show at a fall festival. There are tons of ways to fill the long weekend at farms, preserves and art studios based on your family's interests. Which looks the most like your family's routine?
Long Island Children's Museum
Learn about history and animals
If one person wants to make a shell necklace, another wants to play in a straw house and a third asks to watch a hedgehog taking a bath, you’ll find it all at this museum.
In the new, permanent Your House, My House exhibit, kids can play inside a home made of straw, another constructed with cloth and stilts and more. While playing with creative utensils inside the houses, along with make believe fishing boats and pretend fire pits, they’ll learn how geography and climate affect the way homes are built around the world. Kids can also create their own dream houses with a new digital game.
Oct. 7, noon to 2 p.m.: Rufa Red Knot birds migrate 2,000 miles round trip every year. They make a stop on Long Island along the way to munch on horseshoe crab eggs. Learn all about them and make a flapping bird craft.
Oct. 8, 1:30to 2 p.m.: Watch staff members care for the museum animals and give Jelly Bean, the resident hedgehog, a bath. Kids can pet the hedgehog if he’s not feeling shy.
Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: On Indigenous Peoples Day, learn how and why Indigenous people named Long Island, “the island of shells” and make a shell necklace to honor the legacy.
Cost $17 ages 1 and older
More info 11 Davis Ave., Garden City; 516-224-5800; licm.org
White Post Farms of Melville
Attend a fall festival
Oct. 7-9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: If can’t decide if you’d like to hop on a hayride, eat an apple cider doughnut, watch a magic show or take a pony ride, you can do it all here. Add two dog shows, a puppet show, pumpkin picking, bird visits and an animal farm to the fun as well. Attendees feed three giraffes as they roam in their new outdoor garden. An ostrich just joined the animal family for visitors to see.
Cost $34.95 ages 15 months and older
More info 250 Old Country Rd., Melville; 631-351-9373; whitepostfarms.com
The South Hampton Natural History Museum
Kids can have their faces painted like fish, reptiles or wild animals. They can also search for salamanders or create pictures out of tree bark.
Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: The annual Long Pond Greenbelt free festival celebrates the museum’s nature preserve. Activities include a guided bird walk, wildlife face painting, an animal meet and greet, music and story time.
Oct. 7, 10 a.m.: Sign up online through the SOFO museum for Andy’s Annual Salamander Log Rolling. As SOFO executive director Frank Quevedo describes it, “We roll over logs in the wetland, where we know there will be blue-spotted salamanders that are looking to burrow underground for the winter.”
Oct. 8, 10:30 a.m.: Museum staff member Ian Robinson will lead a nature painting workshop. In SOFO’s back fields, pick up tree bark, pine cones and pine needles, then brush them with paint and print pictures on paper using nature’s knotted textures. Robinson says, “Nature will be our paintbrush.”
Cost Program admission is $15, $10 ages 3 to 13; festival is free
More info 377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton; 631-537-9735; sofo.org
Make arts and crafts
At this pottery and painting studio, the only thing you’ll need to decide is if you want to paint pottery, paint on a canvas, glue mosaic tiles or create art by fusing glass.
Enrichment teacher Emma Podell explains, “For the most part, families pop in and ask if they can paint together. Teens also come in with their friends, and people stop by on dates.”
There are a lot of new fun pottery items for fall. Podell explains, “People love, love, love the pumpkin with a witch hat. The cat and witch mugs with broom handles are really popular. And the new sloth, hedgehog and elephant planters are adorable." Paint a plethora of pottery plates, bowls, mugs, planters and more.
Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to noon: The Door Hanger drop off workshop for kids first through sixth grade will include creating a welcome hanger for their home or bedroom ($47; must register in advance).
Cost $8 studio fee for drop-ins, plus price of pottery, beginning at $5
More info 38 Forest Ave., Glen Cove; 516-671-8788; claynationonline.com