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Summer family movies outdoors on Long Island

As the summer heats up, parks and beaches around Long Island are turning into movie theaters. It's a yearly tradition for movie lovers who enjoy taking in flicks alfresco. No walls, no gum on the floor, no dueling for elbow space on the armrest and, in most cases, no ticket price. Just bring a chair or blanket, pack some snacks and wait for sundown. THINGS TO KNOW Although this may sound obvious, check the weather first. In case of rain, some locales will reschedule while others will send viewers to nearby indoor venues. While most locales are hosting picnic-style movies, some are re-creating the old-fashioned drive-in experience (the sound is usually broadcast through your car radio). And although Brookhaven Amphitheater is charging $5 a vehicle, it's not a drive-in: Once you're inside, it's a sprawl-on-the-lawn affair.

WHAT'S PLAYING We've rounded up some of the outdoor screenings on Long Island for you here. They're free, unless otherwise noted, and generally start around nightfall. Note that most of the fare is family-friendly, but some films ("Jaws," for instance) may be less appropriate for young viewers. WHERE TO GO

NASSAU COUNTY Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, in parking fields 6 and 6A. July 9 "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" July 13 "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa: July 23 "Fast and Furious" July 30 "The Wizard of Oz Aug. 6 "Mamma Mia!" Aug. 13 "Back to the Future" Aug. 20 "The Mummy" Aug. 27 "Iron Man" INFO 516-572-0348, fields open at 7:30. Clark Botanic Garden, 193 I.U. Willets Rd., Albertson July 22 at 8:45 p.m. "West Side Story" INFO 516-327-3111

Town Dock, 347 Main St., Port Washington July 25 at 9 p.m. "Jaws" Aug. 8 at 8:45 p.m. "To Kill a Mockingbird" INFO 516-327-3111

Martin "Bunky" Reid Park, Urban Avenue, Westbury Aug. 15 "The Express" INFO 8:30 p.m., 516-327-3111

Clinton G. Martin Park, Marcus Avenue, New Hyde Park Aug. 19 "Bolt" INFO 8:30 p.m., 516-327-3111

North Hempstead Beach Park, West Shore Road, Port Washington Aug. 27 "WALL-E" (drive-in) INFO 8:30 p.m., 516-327-3111

SUFFOLK COUNTY

Dix Hills Park, near the pool June 29: "Igor" INFO Gates open at 6 p.m., 631-351-3112

Brookhaven Amphitheater Arts & Cultural Center at Bald Hill, South Bicycle Path Drive, Farmingville July 8 "Kung Fu Panda" July 15 "Speed Racer" July 22 "Twilight" July 29 "Igor" Aug. 5 "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" Aug. 12 "The Tale of Despereaux Aug. 19 "Coraline" Aug. 26 "Hotel for Dogs" INFO Movies screen at about 8 p.m. Admission is $5 a car. 631-451-8010, brookhavenamphitheater.com. Crab Meadow Beach, off Waterside Avenue, Northport July 23 "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" (drive-in) Aug. 20 TBA (drive-in) INFO Gates open at 6 p.m., 631-351-3112

Heckscher Park, near tennis courts, Huntington Aug. 3 "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" INFO Gates open at 6 p.m., 631-351-3112

Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve, New Highway, Commack Aug. 7 "Kung Fu Panda" (for Smithtown residents only) INFO 8:30 p.m., 631-543-7804, smithtowninfo.com

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