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Keeping the kids busy on holiday vacation

Children attend a gaga birthday party at Ultimate

Children attend a gaga birthday party at Ultimate Gaga in Syosset. (March 21, 2009) Credit: Newsday / Charles Eckert

No school next week all over Long Island. What's that awful sound? The moaning of parents who need to fill up five full days with entertainment for their little ones.

Never fear! Here's a day-by-day planner to help you keep your sanity and make the most of those long, empty mornings and afternoons.


OBSTACLE COURSE FUN: Long Island Science Center, 11 W. Main St., Riverhead, 631-208-8000,

Create, design and build a vehicle made from supplies provided. Then, test it out on an obstacle course. Come in any time from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Included in museum admission of $2 per adult and $5 per child ages 2 to 16; younger than 2 is free.

NASSAU COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS MUSEUM: 399 Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Uniondale, 516-572-4177,

A new state-of-the-art "Junior Firefighter Academy" exhibit debuted at the museum in September. Children come to the aid of a gingerbread family in distress, "riding" to the scene in a fire truck, rescuing a gingerbread child, giving first aid to the gingerbread family and putting out a "mock fire." The museum will be open even though it's normally closed on Mondays; it's open through Thursday as well. Monday hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adult museum admission is $4.00, children ages 2 to 12 are $3.50 and children younger than 2 are free.


ULTIMATE GAGA: 575 Underhill Blvd., Syosset, 516-921-4242

Open play happens Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Children ages 6 to 15 are divided by age groups into different gaga "pits" to play the fast-paced, dodgeball-like game. For parents, there's free Wi-Fi in the parents' lounge. $15 per session per child.


Libraries across the Island are offering free movies, crafts and video game contests all week to branch patrons. For instance, the Oceanside Library is screening "Cars" at 11 a.m. Tuesday, 30 Davison Ave. Registration required. 516-766-2360;

The Dix Hills branch of the Half Hollow Hills Community Library will have Crazy Craft Day for branch cardholders from 2 to 4 p.m., 55 Vanderbilt Pkwy., 631-421-4530,


"MR. MOUSE AND THE HOLIDAY CANDLE"Mills Pond House Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James, 631-862-6575,

Puppet performance for children in pre-K through grade 3. Advance registration is required. Children will create their own puppets after the performances. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $8.

"SHAKE YOUR SNOWFLAKE": Teen Winter Party, Family Service League, Iovino South Shore Family Center, 1444 Fifth Ave., Bay Shore, 631-647-3100, ext. 284,

The free party for teens ages 13 to 16 will run from 3 to 6 p.m. and include music and finger foods. Advance registration requested.



Children's movies currently playing at area multiplexes include "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "The Princess and the Frog."


WINTER BY THE BAY: South Clinton Avenue, Bay Shore, 631-224-5485,

Free ice skating and sledding from noon to 8 p.m. during the second annual festival; bring your own skates or vie to borrow the limited number available. J. Sikowitz' Swing Band will perform 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 1, and fireworks by Grucci are set for 8 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Jan. 1. Carriage rides will be available from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 1-2 for a nominal fee.


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