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Offbeat family fun with the kids

The Riverhead Mystery Weekend returns Oct. 16.

The Riverhead Mystery Weekend returns Oct. 16. Photo Credit: iStock

Looking for some good clean family fun with the kids this weekend?

How about solving a murder? Or perhaps you might prefer to take in a home movie instead? However offbeat your taste runs for spending time with the family, here is a trio of quirky ways to spend quality time together.

1. Riverhead Mystery Weekend 

WHEN | WHERE Starts 6 p.m. Friday, on downtown Main Street

INFO 631-722-4444, ext. 731,

HOW MUCH $5 a person, $15 for a team of four

Riverhead's second annual mystery weekend kicks the suspense up a notch this year. "Last year, we had a bank robbery, but this year we're doing more of a 'Cold Case' type of murder," says Danielle Doll, cultural affairs supervisor for the Riverhead Recreation Dept. But it's all G-rated fun, she adds, meaning no one will actually see the murder taking place.

Instead, guests will arrive Friday evening at Town Hall, where each team will be given a packet with a list of suspects, clues and a map of downtown Riverhead. Saturday, amateur sleuths can interview suspects and visit local businesses to get additional clues. Sunday at 2 p.m., it's time to round up all the unusual suspects as everyone gathers at Town Hall once again, where the criminals will be revealed. Those having the correct or most creative solution will have a shot at prizes, which include gift certificates from local businesses such as Planet Fitness and a one-night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. And it's elementary that all participants will get a T-shirt.

2. Home Movie Day

WHEN | WHERE Noon, Saturday, Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington

INFO 631-423-7611,


Time for moms and dads to head to the attic and dig out those old home movies of birthday parties, summer vacations and other family celebrations and share them with their kids, neighbors and film lovers at the Cinema Arts Centre.

"People have found it really delightful. When you watch something that happened a few weeks ago, no, it's not very exciting. But when you see something from 40 years ago, it's like a time capsule," says Dylan Skolnick, Cinema Arts' co-director. "We've even had films from the '30s and '40s."

So in other words, don't expect "America's Funniest Home Videos." In fact, all submissions must have been shot on film rather than videotape, Skolnick says. Besides hopefully being entertaining, the films are also a great way to share some family history with younger generations. "It's amazing for people to see these movies which have been put away for a long time, and you see relatives who have been dead for a long time, and it can be very emotional," Skolnick says. "These films are real time capsules."

3. Volunteers for Animal Welfare Inc. Scavenger Hunt

WHEN | WHERE 1 p.m. Sunday, parking lot at Applebees, 355 Rte. 25A, Miller Place

INFO 631-331-4779

HOW MUCH $20 per two-person team

Here's a rare case where hunting can actually save animals. In this instance, the prey might be spatulas, whisks and other household items in this scavenger hunt to help Volunteer for Animal Welfare Inc. rescue and find home for abandoned cats.

Two-person teams will be vying for prizes (the topper is brunch at Danfords Inn & Marina in Port Jefferson), and volunteers will be on hand with information on animal adoption and rescue. After the hunt, there will also be a Chinese auction and light refreshments. "The one rule is that at least one member of the team must be 18 or older," says Rita Miszuk, president of Volunteers for Animal Welfare. "We don't want two 4-year-olds teamed up without anyone to read the list for them."


For more 

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday (Rain date: Oct. 23), Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, 1660 Rte. 25A

INFO 516-692-6768,

ADMISSION $6 ($4 ages 3-12)

If you're looking for a weekend family outing that's a little more mainstream, the hatchery's annual fall fair is a fine kettle of fish. Kids and their parents can catch trout and other fish, or enjoy sand art, tour the aquarium, get a whaling history lesson courtesy of the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum or hum along to music from Tim Fiddle and the Sumpwump Creek Band. There will also be plenty of food and drink including hot dogs, doughnuts, apple cider and, naturally, clam chowder.


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