Looking for something new to do with the family on Long Island this summer? Here are five activities debuting at Jones Beach State Park, Splish Splash, Adventureland and in the Town of Huntington:
JONES BEACH STATE PARK
The ocean has a little more competition this summer at Jones Beach State Park: a free “splash pad” has opened in the Central Mall area, offering sprays and spouts of fresh water the kids can frolic in.
Sleek, towering gray pipes shaped like blades of sea grass shoot water onto visitors, and spray bubbles up from the ground. The water bursts forth from alternating spots in six-minute cycles controlled by users pressing one of three buttons on the perimeter of the rectangular splash pad.
“I feel like I’m on a cruise,” says Sharon Best, 51, of Greenlawn. “It takes a staycation to the next level.”
The addition was spurred by surveys of the public that showed people wanted some type of water play area next to the boardwalk, says Jeffrey Mason, assistant director of Jones Beach State Park. The park refers to it as a splash pad because it doesn’t have all the elements of more elaborate spray parks. It’s lighted and is open in the evening as well as during the day.
“It’s fun,” says Caroline Salvadori, 13, of Massapequa Park, as she ran through the water with friends Sofia Migliori, 13, of Seaford and Amanda Bashaw, 13, of Bellmore. Says Amanda: “It’s refreshing. When it’s hot out, it feels good.”
Veronica Weiss, 11, of Massapequa played in the water with siblings Ethan, 16, Amelia, 12, and Makayla, 20 months. “I like how the water shoots up in all different ways,” Veronica says. Adds mother Laura, who ventured tentatively into the spray: “Even the 42-year-old liked it.”
The spray park offers tables with umbrellas and a shaded area as well. A short walk away is a new playground. And even more entertainment is coming: A ropes course with zip lines run by a company called Wild Play is scheduled to open next summer, Mason says.
Jones Beach is at 1 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. Parking Field 4 is the field closest to the splash pad. For more information, call 516-785-1600 or visit parks.ny.gov/parks/jonesbeach.
Tahir, Judy, Lucian and Chrysa Brown of Elmont lined up across the top of the towering new Riptide Racer water slide at Splish Splash in Calverton, then raced to the bottom.
“It was good to have my whole entire family going down the racing slide,” says Tahir, 38, who won the competition against Judy, 36, Lucian, 8, and Chrysa, 6. His advantage, he says: “Body weight.”
Two new water rides have opened this summer at Splish Splash, both originating from the same tower more than 50 feet high and painted in rainbow colors. In Riptide Racer, four guests at a time ride head-first on mats and are drenched as they slide down the flume. In Bombs Away, guests stand in a clear launch capsule at the top of a 300-foot slide, waiting for the floor to drop. When it does, riders rush through a tidal flow as they fall at 26 feet per second, says Gamini Perera, Splish Splash director of sales and marketing.
“It’s a little scary at first,” says Sarah Berube, 11, of Bayport, of Bombs Away. “Once you start doing it over and over again, it’s not scary.” How many times exactly did Sarah go on the ride? “A bunch of times,” she says. “I can’t count.”
Splish Splash is at 2549 Splish Splash Dr., Calverton. For more information and pricing, call 631-727-3600 or visit splishsplash.com.
The scariest part of the new Mystery Mansion ride at Adventureland, hands down — or rather, heads up — was when a light shined on a piano player holding up his own head no longer attached to his body, says Iliana Jarmolowski, 7, of Huntington.
She braved the ride with her dad, Andy, 51, during the duo’s annual schools-out celebratory trip to the amusement park. Says Dad: “It’s modern, but it really retains that retro, dark-ride feel.”
In addition to the headless piano player, the 2-minute-long ride has zombies — that was the favorite of Beteul Renderos, 10, of Farmingdale — a mummy, a werewolf, a skeleton and more. Riders travel through the two-story ride in a floorless car, elevated ski-lift style. Partway through the ride, they emerge to a glimpse of Adventureland’s midway action below.
“It’s not a fast ride — it’s a scenic ride. It can scare you as a traditional haunted house does, or you can laugh, or it can startle you,” says Adventureland general manager Steve Gentile
The new ride costs five tickets, or $7.50. It also is included in Adventureland’s pay-one-price admission of $32.99.
Adventureland is at 2245 Broadhollow Rd. (Route 110) in Farmingdale. For more information, call 631-694-6868 or visit adventureland.us.
Marilyn Soriano, 8, can’t wait to try the new spray park in Huntington’s Elwood Park – she wants to run through the hoops spraying water like a tiger leaping through hoops of fire at a circus.
“It looks cool because it has the circles that the water comes out of,” Marilyn says. “It looks cool to run through the bottom of them.”
The Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo Memorial Spray Park is named for the NYPD sergeant and Greenlawn dad who was shot and killed responding to a 911 call in the Bronx in 2016. In addition to the water hoops, the park features a water tower painted with the NYPD letters. It’s the only spray park in the town, says town public information officer Lauren Lembo.
The water is controlled by users pushing a button to start the flow. It will be open weekdays from 12:30 to 8 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Aug. 10, Lembo says. It will then be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Children younger than 13 will be able to use the spray park with a parent or guardian’s town recreation photo ID, which costs $20 for two years. Nonresidents must be accompanied by a resident with an ID card.
Marilyn’s dad, Mario, 28, a cook in a restaurant, says both Marilyn and his son, Lukas, 5, will enjoy playing in the water. “The park already is beautiful; with this, it’s going to be a lot better,” he says.
Elwood Park is on Cuba Hill Road. For more information, call 631-351-3000 or visit huntingtonny.gov.