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Accessible parks, playgrounds and sports programs on Long Island

The special-needs children and adults of Camp

The special-needs children and adults of Camp ANCHOR in Lido Beach continue a colorful tradition of letting balloons go to symbolize the end of their summer together. Credit: Denise Pascullo

Long Island offers a large array of activities and outings for residents will disabilities and special needs, including playgrounds, parks, camps, hiking trails and Challenger sports teams. Here’s where to find them.


ANDREW J. PARISE PARK, Cedarhust Avenue, Cedarhurst, 516-295-5770, Hours: 9 a.m.-dusk daily. Features: Universally accessible playground and kiddie water park for children of all physical abilities. Disabled youngsters can enhance their physical, emotional and social development, and able-bodied children can learn about compassion and acceptance. Two barrier-free restrooms. Free summer concerts July-Aug. Fee None.

LAKE RONKONKOMA COUNTY PARK, Lake Ronkonkoma, 631-854-9699, Hours: Dawn-dusk all year. Features: 223 acres; baseball, handball, basketball, handicapped-accessible playground, picnic area, freshwater fishing. Fee Parking fee May 29-Sept. 4 weekends: $7 residents and $15 nonresidents; free Mon.-Fri. (except holidays) through Sept. 4.


Islandia, 631-853-2727, Hours: Dawn-dusk year-round. Features: 70 acres; picnic area with gazebo, boardwalks, shuffleboard, basketball courts. Playground with swings. Nature trail and boardwalk over the headwaters of the Connetquot River; self-guided, interpretive sensory trails, tactile maps for the visually impaired.

LET ALL THE CHILDREN PLAY PLAYGROUND, Eisenhower Park, Field 4, Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, 516-597-4937, Features: Playground with swings, slides, climbing areas, sandboxes and activity stations. Wide ramps and pathways offer full accessibility and mobility. Includes wheelchair-accessible restrooms. Summer offerings include sports and recreation programs for those with and without special needs on Wed. and Fri. Fee Free.


SPECIAL OLYMPICS-LONG ISLAND, 560 Broadhollow Rd. Suite 106, Melville, 631-254-1465, Features: All year training and competition for intellectually disabled children and adults. There are more than 30 competitions per year, including spring games and fall classic. Check website for a calendar of events. Fee Free.

TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD CAMP A.N.C.H.O.R., Lido Beach Town Park, 630 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, 516-431-6946, Hours: Open daily, call for hours. Features: Wide ramps and pathways for accessibility and mobility, special railings for steps, special swings, slides, climbers, activity stations, sandboxes, spring animals, game and picnic tables.


MASHOMACK PRESERVE, 79 South Ferry Rd. Route 114, Shelter Island, 631-749-4219, Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March-Oct.; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov.-Feb., Jan. weekends only. Season: All year daily (closed Tues. Sept.-June); Visitor center open weekends only Nov.-May, then daily. Features: 22 miles of marked hiking trails, 1-mile wheelchair accessible trail; visitors’ center is accessible. Fee: $3, $2 younger than 13.


HORSEABILITY CENTER FOR EQUINE FACILITATED PROGRAMS, SUNY Old Westbury, Route 107, Old Westbury, 516-333-6151, Hours: Daily, all year. Features: Summer Day Camp in Aug. at the Thomas School of Horsemanship, Melville. Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International premier-accredited center offers therapeutic riding program for individuals with special needs; hippotherapy program with occupational, physical and speech therapists; equine-facilitated activities including programs for veterans and social skills for all ages; one-week summer day camp with horseback riding, swimming, sports, arts and crafts; Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD); volunteer opportunities available. Fee: Call.

PAL-O-MINE EQUESTRIAN, 829 Old Nichols Rd.,

Islandia, 631-348-1389, Hours: Daily, year-round. Features: Therapeutic, recreational and competitive horseback riding programs, for individuals with disabilities and able-bodied students; comprehensive therapeutic equine programs that use horses to facilitate growth, learning and healing. Includes children and adults with disabilities, those who have been abused or neglected, the military and economically compromised. Staff includes physical, speech and occupational therapists, special-education teachers, ASL interpreters, social workers and equine professionals. May 24 Volunteer Orientation; June 9 A Day at the Races-Belmont fundraiser; June 26 Par for the Horse-golf outing fundraiser; June 30 Volunteer orientation; July 16 Long Island Invitational Horse Show; Aug. 13 Equitation Horse Show; Oct. 8 Pal-O-Mine First Annual Open House. Oct. 22 Alyshazam Horse Show. Dec. 8-9 Holiday Shoppe. Fee: Call.


CHALLENGER BASEBALL, GCAA, P.O. Box 4, Garden City, 516-741-6767 Season: Call for dates and times at the Garden City complex (weather permitting). Features: About 90-95 physically and mentally challenged athletes (ages 6-21) play behind Garden City pool complex, uniforms provided. Fee: Free.

CHALLENGER BASKETBALL, GCAA, P.O. Box 4, Garden City, 516-741-6767 Season: Call for dates and times at Garden City Middle School. Features: About 90 physically and mentally challenged athletes, ages 6-18 (to 21 if a student). Open to all, run by Garden City Athletic Association, uniforms provided. Fee: None.

CHALLENGER LACROSSE, GCAA P.O. Box 4, Garden City, 516-741-6767, Season: Call for dates and times, at St. Paul’s School on Stewart Avenue. Open to physically and mentally challenged athletes, ages 6-18 (21, if a student). Uniforms provided (not equipment). Fee: Free.

CHALLENGER PLATFORM TENNIS, GCAA P.O. Box 4, Garden City, 516-741-6767 Season: Runs mid-Feb. to mid-Mar.; times and dates to be announced. Fee: Free.

ROLLING THUNDER SPECIAL NEEDS PROGRAM, 49 Lombardy Dr., Shirley, 631-399-5564, Hours: Vary. Features: Weekly training sessions for athletes in need, including the developmentally disabled and physically challenged as well as any other athlete with a special need; all abilities; local, association-based races and nationally ranked races. No charge for athletes. Coaches needed to help at races and for coaching at all levels. 

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