Almost every neighborhood on Long Island has a place where kids can climb, slide and run — but when you’d like to make a family day of it, consider these places for unique play opportunities. Once you and your little ones are prepped to play at a social distance—consider these places for a day of fun.
Children’s Park in Rockville Centre
THE FUN The entire playground area is surrounded by a fence with a single gate, so parents and guardians can control all entrances and exits. The play sets are separated into zones for kids ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, and there are two swing sets. One features a large yellow swing for children designed to hold children who use wheelchairs or have other ambulatory issues. Kids can play in a sandbox, too — there sits a multicolored statue of a dolphin that's a hit for youngsters looking for a spot to sit. There is a small water park with two ground jets and a tower (designed to look like a flower) that sprays from about seven feet above the ground.
THE GROUNDS The neighboring John A. Anderson Recreation Center, usually available for a fee for parties and featuring a small, toddler-size indoor play space, is closed due to the health crisis until further notice. For some more outdoor fun however, behind the center is Veterans Park, which has basketball courts, open fields and a walking path.
INFO Free to enter and park. 111 N. Oceanside Rd., Rockville Centre. 516-678-9338, rockvillecentre.recdesk.com.
Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn
The playground here is divided into various zones, designated by age (2 to 5, 5 to 8). All offer opportunities to climb and slide with equipment positioned over rubber mats or blue foam for cushioning. The entire play area is fenced in with gated entrance points.
THE GROUNDS Kids and adults alike can use outdoor chess tables or play shuffleboard. If you were hoping to include your dog in the day’s fun, the park has a dog run and there are baseball diamonds and handball courts as well. Come in the winter and ice skate (fee), or swim during the summer in either the Olympic-sized pool, kiddie pool or diving pool (June 28-Labor Day; open to county residents only, fee). You will see a nine-hole golf course for adults (fee), but there also a casual free nine-hole mini-golf course for kids; and guests can ask for clubs and balls for no added charge. Call aead for availability.
INFO Parking is free. 500 Searingtown Rd., Roslyn. 516-571-8113, nassaucountyny.gov.
Cedar Creek Park in Seaford
THE FUN The large play area is divided into zones recommended for kids ages 2-5, 5-8 and 8-12, and consists of climbing obstacles, slides, poles, swings and elevated running paths. The space also features a gazebo and a sand pit, and the playground sets are arranged over either blue mats or blue foam for cushioning.
THE GROUNDS Cedar Creek has a dedicated rink for roller skating or blading, plus a dog run, handball and basketball courts, baseball diamond and turf soccer field. The picnic areas have charcoal grills and a number of shelters (fee). In addition, should your kids be into archery, there is a year-round regulation-sized range open to the public (bring your own equipment), while hobbyists into remote control planes can come here and fly over a field designated for such activities.
INFO Parking is free. 3340 Merrick Rd, Seaford. 516-571-7470, nassaucountyny.gov.
Wantagh Park in Wantagh
THE FUN The massive play area is divided into zones recommended for kids of varying ages and consists of climbing obstacles, slides, poles and elevated running paths. There are four swingsets, two with seats for larger kids and the others with bucket seats for toddlers. Part of the playground is a large sand pit that holds climbing and sliding fun, as well as a metal "spider" that connects ladders to a center disc (test with your hand before letting kids climb, in the sun the spider can become hot to the touch). For another unique climbing item, head to the rear of the playground to find a fire truck-inspired obstacle with a small slide attached.
The younger kids will also enjoy a second playground for ages 2-5 set near the tennis courts and behind the dog run. This play zone is behind a short castle-style wall and holds a play battleship and tug boat, among other plastic obstacles and climbing items.
THE GROUNDS Equipped with a water slide and several pools of varying depths, the park’s swimming complex (June 28-Labor Day, open to county residents only, call aead for times) requires guests ages 13 and older to have a Leisure Passport to enter but must still pay $10 ($6 ages 4-17, kids age three and younger are free). There are basketball courts plus facilities for baseball/softball. The picnic areas have charcoal grills and sheltered areas (fee), and there’s a popular mini-golf course as well (fee). Head to the rear of the park to find a walking path with bay views of Jones Beach and the parkway—and observant guests might notice some very unusual birds flying overhead as green Monk Parakeets have made the park their home. Native to South America, these noisy birds stand out and can be watched in the trees and poking through picnic areas.
INFO Parking is free. 1 King Rd., Wantagh; 516-571-7460, nassaucountyny.gov.
Heritage Park in Mount Sinai
THE FUN Kids can enjoy two large arrangements of slides, poles, ladders and tubes in which to crawl, as well as a pair of swing sets and a single swing chair designed for children who use wheelchairs and have other needs. Wood mulch is spread under the rides to cushion falls, and there is a small but cool hopscotch pad, with numbers drawn out in rocks.
THE GROUNDS Heritage Park has its Heritage Center event space (hours are being limited to 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Wednesdays, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays until further notice), but walk around the back to find a walking trail that features a retrospective display of farming equipment that recalls when Mount Sinai was a center of agriculture. The park itself features rolling meadows large enough for both sunbathers and kite-flyers to coexist. There are a turf athletic field and two baseball diamonds plus a walking/jogging/stroller path that winds around most of the space. Picnic fans can either set up a blanket on the meadow or sit at benches near a snack shop with restrooms (closed until further notice).
INFO Free to enter and park. 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Rd., Mount Sinai. 631-509-0882, msheritagetrust.org.
Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh
THE FUN Located between the Gatsby on the Ocean Restaurant restaurant and Field Four, the playground is broken down into sections for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12 — with both sporting play sets offering poles, slides and places to climb. The entire area is painted blue, as is the foam or mats that sit under the play spaces.
THE GROUNDS Visitors can spot the Atlantic Ocean, the famous Jones Beach Boardwalk and miles of sandy shores on which kids can play, as well as mini-golf and court games section.
INFO Parking $10 a car May 28-Sept. 12 daily; $8 a car April 3-May 27 and Sept. 13-Nov. 7 weekends and holidays. 2400 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. 516-785-1600; parks.ny.gov.
Clark Street Playground in Long Beach
THE FUN Located along Shell Creek at the north end of the street. Bathed by the sun, it has a cushioned surface and a large central climbing structure and a scaling tower strung with a web-like net. The facility also features a sprinkler park.
THE GROUNDS Between the playground and the creek lies a lawn and a short walking path.
INFO Free. At the end of Clark and Harmon sts., Long Beach; 516-431-1000, longbeachny.gov
Bethpage State Park Playground in Old Bethpage
THE FUN Split into two sections, the Fun zones sit on either side of a green two-child swingset with both seats designed for toddlers. To the left of those swings, kids will find a structure with slides and runways situated off the ground. Next to that sits a set of poles with faux "leaves" on which to climb—which matches the motif of the play area, where the climbing structures are topped by shady cones shaped like leaf-thatched roofs. There’s also a rock-shaped climbing block that stands about five feet high, and another swingset with two traditional strap swings and two chair swings able to secure a child with special needs. The other play station is set to the right of the dual swings, and is also equipped with plank runways, slides and ladders.
THE GROUNDS Nestled among a smattering of trees, the sunbathed playground is also surrounded by several picnic tables, and is only footsteps from the parking lot.
INFO $8, collected 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, then daily Memorial Day Weekend-mid Sept. 99 Quaker Meeting House Road-Farmingdale (Located at the northern end of Bethpage State Park Picnic Polo Road), 516-249-0701, parks.ny.gov
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay
THE FUN There are two play zones within this space set aside to honor the 26th POTUS, with a fence-surrounded main option only about 150 feet from Oyster Bay Harbor, which not only provides a calm sandy shoreline for fun but views of the small boats which frequently move through the nearby water. The play apparatus is yellow and blue, with climbing obstacles, runways and slides plus a tall cone-shaped section of pipes for climbing, which is connected by two horizontal rows of climbable piping shaped in irregular oblongs. There are swingsets present as well, one of which offers a pair of chair seats that can provide additional security for children with special needs. Then, closer to the parking area, a second playground awaits, also enclosed but intended only for children ages 2-5. Which features two shorter climbing zones and another swingset, also equipped with a swing chair.
THE GROUNDS Aside from the shore, there are also long paved walking trails and a the "Roosevelt Memorial Rocks," a retelling of the man’s life with the use of fact-filled plaques affixed to 24 different stones of varying size.
INFO Free. West End Ave, Oyster Bay; 516-624-6202, oysterbaytown.com
Harborfields Community Playground in Greenlawn
THE FUN Also known as "Pickle Park," the climbing structure is built from gray poles topped with green caps, and there are slides, obstacles and runways to explore. There’s also a swingset available with a pair of chair swings, and the floor is a cushioned surface rather than wood chips or sand.
THE GROUNDS Situated behind Harborfields Public Library within a residential area, it’s located within a fenced-in athletic field next to a basketball court and adjacent to a large lawn.
INFO Free. Sided by Wyckoff St., Brush Ln. and Ann St., Greenlawn; 631-351-3089, huntingtonny.gov
Eisenhower Park playground in East Meadow
THE FUN The LATCP ("Let All The Children Play") playground at Nassau County’s massive 930-acre park is intended to be accessible for children of all physical abilities, and guests are greeting by a tall wall-less shelter with benches and the LATCP slogan posted above in block letters. The play zones are located at the ends of concrete paths that radiate outward from the LATCP gazebo, and feature a variety of climbing obstacles, swings (including swing chairs) and slides. The other playground areas are found near parking fields Two and 1A.
THE GROUNDS Aside from the tremendous amount of open space, there are long paths for walking and biking, a batting cage and mini-golf among other amenities.
INFO $10 weekends for non-Nassau County residents between Memorial Day-Labor Day, otherwise free. Merrick and Stewart aves., East Meadow; 516-572-0347, nassaucountyny.gov
Orient Beach State Park in Orient
THE FUN The playground space here is located on the beach of Gardiner’s Bay, providing a view of passing windsurfers and the fisherman who line the stony, sandy shoreline. Kids will find structures with slides, runways and obstacles, as well as swingsets that include chair swings. There’s also a play sailboat fixed in the sand and a tugboat-like tower, but perhaps the main attraction are four large wooden swings poised along the beach back that people of all ages can sit in and stare out at Gardiner’s Island.
THE GROUNDS In addition to the main beach, a second shoreline along Hallock’s Bay is also available to explore, where kids keen on spotting wildlife can easily see things like osprey soaring overhead and crabs scuttling in the shallow ripples.
INFO Parking is free until Memorial Day when $8 is collected per car until June 21, when it rises to $10, then drops back to $8 between Sept. 4 and Columbus Day; free after that until next Memorial Day.
Rocketship Park in Port Jefferson
THE FUN Enclosed by fencing, this sunny spot takes its name from its main feature, a towering structure shaped like a spacecraft with a pair of slides positioned at differing heights. However, another unique climbing apparatus awaits—but this one is designed to look like a pirate ship, and sports several obstacles to try. Off to its side is a smaller rock for scaling and an additional slide—but for some quick zen there’s a small green patch with a peace pole at its middle, and as for swings there are a pair of swing chairs available.
THE GROUNDS Aside from the playground, there’s an overhang that shelters benches and picnic tables, with basketball courts on the other side. Tennis courts are also located across the entrance roadway.
INFO Free, but Port Jefferson Village parking rules and meters apply. (metered parking season April-Dec., Thurs: 50-cents hourly, Friday through Sunday: $1; noon-11 p.m.). 34 Roessner, Port Jefferson Village; 631-418-6699, portjeff.com