Summer, don’t go. Whether you’re craving the shore or yet another s’more, lots of Long Island family-fun spots will remain open in the fall. They might not feel exactly like summer, but September will give them a different, dazzling spin.
Summer in one spot
Having an I-miss-the-summer-meltdown? Beach Bar at the Blu Iguana is the place to go. Try the s’mores dip on the cafe menu along with lots of summer foods. The cafe sits on the sand, facing the water and there's outdoor seating. There are adult and kid cocktails galore, live music every day and a playground beside the Beach Bar. Want a final summer moment? Gather with family and friends and watch the sunset over the water.
Schedule: Monday-Friday 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday12 to 9 p.m., Sunday 12 to 8 p.m.
How to find it: 494 Prospect Ave, Sea Cliff; 516-214-0458; beachbargrillseacliff.com
What it costs: No admission fee
Summer nights end, but the stars stay behind. On Friday nights after Labor Day, gaze at the nighttime sky through a high-powered telescope at the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. "This year, the skies of September and October will offer us incredible views of Saturn and Jupiter," says Dave Bush, the planetarium director. "We’ll also be able to see the autumn constellations arriving in the sky, including Pegasus, Pisces and Andromeda."
Observatory schedule: Fridays, 9 p.m., all year, weather permitting. Also recommended: Fridays, 8 p.m., "Long Island Skies." Prior to observing the sky at 9 p.m., a presenter will give an overview of what will be seen from the observatory.
How to find it: 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport; 631-854-5579; vanderbiltmuseum.org/vanderbilt-planetarium/vanderbilt-observatory/
What it costs: Observatory admission is free. Long Island Skies show tickets: Adults: $10, students/seniors: $9, children under 12 and members under 18: $8, children under 2: free.
Snore by the shore
If you're still dreaming of sleeping on the beach after Labor Day, hop on a ferry from Patchogue to Fire Island and enjoy safari-style glamping at Watch Hill Fire Island Campground. Each safari tent is waterproof and raised on a wooden platform. The tent comes with queen beds, a dresser, table and chairs, linens, blankets, solar lights and lanterns. Owner Lee Biviano says, "Watch Hill is like a diamond in the rough. Not many people know about it. In the fall, there are more opportunities to see deer, rabbits and birds migrating because it’s quieter. Monarchs come through. The colors are vibrant and the air feels like crisp fall."
Schedule: Seven safari tents can be rented through Columbus Day weekend. Make a reservation at lovefins.com/glamping
How to find it: 150 West Ave., Patchogue (ferry); 631-597-6074
What it costs: See website for various rates after Sept. 7 (shoulder season)
"The Custer Observatory is open to the public year-round every Saturday night from dusk until midnight for stargazing," says Observatory president Anne Spooner. "Staff provide guided tours of the night sky through powerful telescopes (weather permitting) in the historic observation dome and other ground-based viewing stations on the site. As summer winds down and autumn approaches, a new host of celestial wonders graces the night sky." That includes the Orionids meteor shower in October. There are several programs including International Observe the Moon Night on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.
Schedule: Open to the public year-round, Saturday nights dusk through midnight.
How to find it: Main Bayview Road, Southold; 631-765-2626; custerobservatory.org
What it costs: Suggested donation is $5 adults, $3 children under 12
Animal daytime drama
After Labor Day, you can still check out what the animals are up to at The Long Island Game Farm. Director Melinda Novak says the "Gibbon June (small ape) sure looks like she’s expecting. Crossing fingers." During the fall, new personalized encounters with animals will be offered to visitors. In winter, the game farm will be open on a limited basis on weekends for the first time.
Schedule: After Labor Day, open Thursdays through Sundays through the end of October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How to find it: 489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville; 631-878-6644; longislandgamefarm.com
What it costs: See website for entrance (around $24) and activity rates
Summer scene through Halloween
Through the second week in November, continue to climb across crazy contraptions at WildPlay Jones Beach with zip lines, obstacles and platforms above the beach. WildPlay Park Manager Adam Karp says, "We host my favorite event on Halloween … the zip line pumpkin toss. We set up large, wooden targets and let riders toss a pumpkin during their ride to try to smash it for prizes. The beach sunsets are extra special in the fall, and it’s a favorite season for climbers thanks to the cool breezes."
Schedule: After Labor Day, open Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In October, hours change to Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Park closes in November.
How to find it: Boardwalk at Jones Beach, Wantagh; 855-330-0123; wildplay.com/jones-beach
What it costs: Prices start at $44.99.
Games at the beach
If you have a wave crave, Jones Beach will be open after Labor Day. Though lifeguards will not be on duty for swimming, the game areas will be open for mini golf, paddle ball, shuffle ball, corn hole, table tennis and volleyball.
Fall schedule: After Labor Day, beach will be open weekends 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beach access closes Oct. 31.
How to find it: 2400 Ocean Parkway Wantagh; 516-785-1600; parks.ny.gov/parks/jonesbeach
What it costs: See website for various activity fees.
Glow, roast and soar
In the fall, on the Ninja Warrior style course at The Adventure Park on Long Island, keep traveling across treetops while climbing through high-ropes and obstacles. "Fall climbing is beautiful in the park when the leaves change," says Candie Fisher, vice president of sales and marketing. "We’ll also do some fall themed Glow in the Park Saturday night events including a Halloween Glow." Every Friday night, roast marshmallows with friends and family at the community firepit. Bring your own marshmallows or buy a s’mores kit and roasting stick in the park.
Schedule: Sept. 7 through Nov. 7: Fridays 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How to find it: 75 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights; 631-983-3844; myadventurepark.com/location/wheatley-heights-ny
What it costs: Rates vary
All summer attractions at Bayville Adventure Park will be open on weekends after Labor Day. So, bumper boats, mini golf, rock climbing, the fun house, arcade, and bungee bounce will remind us of summer. The much-loved Beach Bucket Sundae is still in the cream parlor, too. Five ice cream scoops and six toppings are tossed in a plastic beach pail with a shovel. Carry it across the street and eat it on the beach. On Sept. 24, the park transitions to the Bayville Scream Park with all Halloween attractions.
Schedule: Saturdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
How to find it: 8 Bayville Ave., Bayville; 516-624-7433; bayvilleadventurepark.com
What it costs: See website for various activity fees.
Roller coaster ride
You can still scream on Turbulence at Adventureland. The amusement park is open on weekends and holidays through the end of October. Manager Jeanine Gentile says, "As the weather gets colder, some water rides might not open, but we try to keep everything going as long as possible." Favorite snacks like funnel cakes and cotton candy are summer reminders, too. On Oct. 23 and 24, Adventureland transitions to a Pumpkin Park event. "We bring in vendors and the kids can go trick or treating in a super safe environment," Gentile says.
Schedule: After Labor Day: Open weekends and holidays through the end of October. Opens at 11 a.m. Closing times vary, but not before 5 p.m.
How to find it: 2245 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale; 631-694-6868; adventureland.us
What it costs: Admission begins at $29.99; children 1-year-old and younger: free
There’s a lot happening at the Long Island Aquarium. The only activities that will be closed are the Snorkel Tank and Mermaid Swim. The Atlantis Explorer Tour Boat will continue weekend runs until October. "Visiting during the week when school starts ensures almost a private experience," says Darlene Puntillo, the aquarium's marketing director. "It’s a great opportunity for seniors or parents with young kids to enjoy the aquarium when it’s a bit quieter."
Schedule: After Labor Day: Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-208-9200; longislandaquarium.com
What it costs: Admission tickets begin at $27.99. Children under 2: free