Red and silver fox mix Finn hunts for his lunch...

Red and silver fox mix Finn hunts for his lunch that is stowed in a hanging ball at Holtzville Wildlife and Ecology Center, which is free to enter.  Credit: Morgan Campbell

It’s refreshing to know it's not impossible to find activities on Long Island that'll get the family out of the house for free, or at the very least, cheap. Here are six, exciting ways to find affordable fun: 


Antigone Rising, Long Island’s own female rock band, will present and perform in an all-girl music festival in Glen Cove this month. Grammy-winning singers/songwriters Shawn Colvin, Judith Hill and Lisa Loeb will perform too. 

In Morgan Park, there will be two stages. One will feature rising young, female artists hailing from Long Island and mentored by Antigone Rising band members. Performers will include a fourth and an eighth grader from Sea Cliff. The second stage will be the spotlight for Grammy winners and adult all-girl bands. Some performers will bop from one stage to the other. That way, young performers will sing alongside established ones throughout the day.

Bringing these two worlds together is an extension of “Girls Rising,” Antigone Rising’s nonprofit organization designed to empower and inspire girls to pursue nontraditional jobs. During a music break, a panel of women will speak about how they rose to the top of their professions. Panelists in previous years have included a NASA astronaut, Broadway show performer, pro basketball player, judge and Olympic athlete.

Woven around these events, local health and wellness sponsors will offer two free workout classes (such as yoga for kids), and organize relay races, obstacle course activities and tug-of-war games. Guests can bring their own lawn chairs and food, though there will be food vendors galore as well as craft booths. The festival will close with Antigone Rising performing songs from their new album, “True Joy.”

INFO June 18 (rain date June 19); noon through 9:30 p.m., Morgan Memorial Park, Germaine Street; For festival schedule see website: Free, donations accepted. 


Valentina Plaza, 13, right, and Eliana Herskovitz, 13, left, with...

Valentina Plaza, 13, right, and Eliana Herskovitz, 13, left, with teacher Anu Annam, learn about storyboarding for film-making during a media class at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The Cinema Arts Centre and Heckscher Museum of Art offer free teen workshops that embrace the arts in unique, diverse ways. Classes include Hollywood photography, Bollywood filmmaking, storytelling, drum 'n dance, drama, poetry, and an Archie Comics workshop. There’s also a model drawing class where the model wears a Dungeons and Dragons costume. Anu Annam, Arts Education owner and instructor for Cinema Arts Centre says, “The artwork you can create in the hyper-realistic colored pencil class looks so real, you’ll feel as if you can pluck the items off the page. Somehow, the instructor can make everyone able to do it.”

The workshops also address mental health issues resulting from the pandemic, as teens are encouraged to express their feelings through the arts. “It’s a welcome, safe space,” Annam says.

Award-winning instructors and artists will lead the workshops. The classes are offered for free due to support from the Suffolk County Office of Cultural Affairs, the New York Council on the Arts, and SEA of Visibility integrated programs. 

Also in June, there’s a free exhibit in the Huntington Arts Centre gallery entitled, “Born This Way/MOSAIC.” With works created by the LGBTQIA community, Annam explains, “it’s very gender and sexual orientation inclusive. It helps reflect the multifaceted identity of the community through works of art incorporating paintings, collage work, drawings, and photography.”

INFO Classes offered in June at The Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington; 631-423-71610; Additional classes offered in June at the Heckscher Museum, Huntington; "Born This Way/MOSAIC Exhibition" now open. Free; donations accepted.


At the Suffolk Farm and Education Center, it won’t cost a cent to visit farm animals, climb in the nature-inspired play area and romp in a butterfly house. Allison Grief, early childhood programs manager, says, “Most of our baby animals are born between mid-March and June, so there are always lots of little ones. There are lambs, baby goat kids, calves, and piglets. This year, we anticipate baby rabbits will be about four weeks old in June.”

In the nature play area, there’s a water section made from tree limbs to splash and play in, a wooden balance beam, a tunnel through a hill for climbing or rolling down, a see-saw made from a huge tree limb and a stage with drums and instruments. There’s also a train playground with a new wooden train to climb aboard. A big, wooden tractor with a wagon and slide was just added to the play area as well.

The butterfly house is open for the season with Monarchs, Painted Ladies and Swallow Tail butterflies. Nearby, there are vegetable and herb gardens along pathways. In the Outdoor Mud Kitchen, there’s a toy stove with pots and pans, perfect for creating make-believe gourmet mud pies.

INFO Suffolk Farm and Education Center; 350 Yaphank Ave.; 631-852-4600; open daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Free; donations accepted.


When you visit the American Guitar Museum, you’ll be greeted by curator Chris Ambadjes or a staff member. They’ll give you a free tour of several rooms overflowing with guitars from around the world and spanning decades. Ambadjes says, “We even have the first electric guitar ever made called the Rickenbacker Frying Pan (1932). Back then, it was hard to tell if it was a guitar or an electrical appliance.”

Here are some highlights: Since Ambadjes used to jam with Les Paul, guitar models Paul donated to the museum are on display. The Gibson guitar that was played in the Broadway version of West Side Story and another played in Grease are there too. You’ll find fretted instruments from across the globe, including a charango from Peru made from an armadillo shell and a sitar from India made of a gourd.

INFO American Guitar Museum; 1810 New Hyde Park Rd., New Hyde Park; 516-488-5000; Call to arrange a visit time and date; Free, donations accepted.


Riley Burton, 11, of Bay Shore, points out the owl...

Riley Burton, 11, of Bay Shore, points out the owl exhibit at Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center. Credit: Morgan Campbell

The moment you enter the Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center, you’ll notice it’s quite a community. All the animal pens are spaced apart as if they’re in a neighborhood. That way, the bald eagle, buffalo, goats, llamas, pigs, and wolves can see each other. “We have over 100 animals that have been rescued,” says April Perry, director of ecology. “They’re here because they can’t exist out in the wild anymore.”

Eagle Scouts along with the center staff have created playground-like climbing contraptions for the animals. The foxes have a plastic board lined with different size pipes. Staff members plant treats inside the pipes and the foxes try to find them. The goat has ramps and steps to run up and down, a broom to scratch and bell to ring. For the bobcat, a hammock-like bridge made of fire hoses leads to the top of the pen, so she can look out over the park. Beside each pen, visitors can read about the animal and why the Center has become its home.

INFO Holtsville Wildlife & Ecology Center; 249 Buckley Rd, Holtsville; 631-758-9664; Hours: daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Free, donations accepted.