Free wireless Internet is now available in six Suffolk County parks and will be available in six more by year's end, County Executive Steve Levy announced Wednesday.
Wi-Fi will allow park users and campers to be in touch for work, he said, and to play.
"All you have to do is bring a little tablet," he said, "and the world is at your fingertips."
Juliet Lake-Carlson, a third-grade teacher at Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton, said she would use the Wi-Fi to play games on her iPhone. She was at Southaven County Park supervising a class field day as Levy spoke there, and said she had no idea it had Wi-Fi.
The Internet access could serve an educational purpose, too, said Jessica Devereaux, a chaperone on the field trip.
"When you're with your children, if you see a certain leaf or a bug, you can take a picture of it on your iPhone and look up what it is," she said.
But not all park users will use the service.
"It makes no sense to me," said Kelly Alvarez, who was at Southaven keeping one eye on her butterfly-hunting daughter. "It's a park. Why would anyone come here to use a computer?"
In addition to Southaven, Wi-Fi is available at Timber Point, Cupsogue, Indian Island, Shinnecock Meschutt and Shinnecock East parks.
The total cost of setting up the Wi-Fi is about $100,000, a Levy spokesman said. It will cost $1,400 per year to maintain it at all 12 parks, county officials said.
Levy has pushed for Wi-Fi for years, including a failed effort to make the whole county wireless in 2008.