26 Things to Do on Long Island with Kids
I lived in Long Island for five years and love exploring “the island.” Luckily, there’s no shortage of things to do on Long Island with kids and families. Here are the top 26 bucket list things to do in Long Island with kids that I’ve tried or friends recommend.
1) There are a lot of things to do at Jones Beach State Park throughout the year. It’s open year-round but you’ll need to pay to park during the seasonal summer months.
Look out for special things to do seasonally, like the Bethpage Air Show Memorial Day weekend (free) and the Magic of Lights drive-through holiday show during the holiday season (pay per car).
2) Visit the iconic Nunley’s carousel located within Museum Row in Nassau County. It’s in a small park kids can run around in and you pay per rider. It’s open on the weekends at various times throughout the year but check the calendar.
3) There’s something for kids of all ages at the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center. It’s free to enter the building and check out the exhibits (including animals) but you might have to pay a parking fee for Jones Beach.
Even toddlers enjoy the hands-on displays and outdoor music section. Bring bikes for a ride along the oceanfront paths and pack lunch to enjoy on the covered porch.
4) The Vanderbilt Museum and Mansion in Centerport is a great place to visit on the weekends for a dose of history (it was the summer home of William K. Vanderbilt II), a habitat wing of animal dioramas, and hall of fishes. The Planetarium is a must-visit along with a rooftop observatory that’s open to the public.
5) Plan a trip to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead on hot summer days and when the weather is crummy at other times of the year.
Visitors can watch specific animal feedings, be entertained by sea lions, learn about sharks during presentations and see beautiful aquatic creatures. Buy tickets online or in person.
6) Get a feel for “old Long Island” with a visit to Old Westbury Gardens in Westbury. Visit the mansion and gardens throughout the year and check the website to see “what’s in bloom,” as the grounds will look different in April than an August visit!
Kids will enjoy running around the gardens but keep in mind you’ll need to closely watch young children in the mansion (read: old, expensive things!) and we didn’t find the grounds to be very stroller friendly since there are large staircases to navigate.
If you have young children, you might be better off babywearing or bringing a lightweight collapsible umbrella stroller.
7) Check out the Takapausha Museum and Preserve in Seaford, open throughout the year Thursdays through Sundays.
They have turtles, bats, owls, birds (like a bald eagle!), reptiles, rabbits, and educational films. Kids will also love the large outdoor play area with musical instruments, sandboxes and more.
8) The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium in Cold Spring Harbor is a fun place to let kids feed the fish (which jump out of the water for food!), see reptiles and fish in the two indoor buildings and walk along the grounds checking out freshwater fish of all sizes up close.
9) There’s plenty to do at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow–a public park larger than Central Park.
From swimming pools to golf, picnic areas, several playgrounds for kids of all ages, ponds, tennis courts, ball fields and cricket fields, miniature golf and the Eisenhower Park Splash and Sprinkler Fun area is perfect for small children on hot days.
10) Show kids your roller-skating or rollerblading moves (if you remember how!) at United Skates of America in Seaford where families can rent roller skates for the 10,000-square-foot rink or play in the arcade. Stop by the Smallcakes bakery in the same shopping center for a treat afterwards.
11) The Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum is a famous destination due to it being at the tip of Long Island and the first lighthouse in New York (as well as the fourth-oldest in the country). Children over 41” can climb the lighthouse. Pair it with a picnic on the beach at Montauk.
12) Play with baby goats at the Long Island Game Farm Wildlife Park and Children’s Zoo in Manorville. Open seven days a week in the spring and summer months, weekends in the off season.
From camels to bison, donkeys to parrots, and many creatures in between, there’s so much to see at this farm that focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, or re-homing animals. Kids will love feeding the animals, petting them and playing on the toy train.
13) History buffs will appreciate a visit to Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt. It has 83 acres of property and trails to explore nature and can lead to a salt marsh and beach.
14) The Adventureland Amusement park in Farmingdale is a fun place for kids of all ages to go on rides, play games and visit the arcade. It’s worth noting that everyone over the age of 2 has to pay admission, even if they aren’t getting on rides.
15) The Cradle of Aviation is another family favorite in Uniondale that’s featured on Museum Row. There’s something for kids of all ages at this Long Island Air & Space Museum.
Planes and helicopters hanging from the ceiling awe kids, there are planes kids can get in and exhibits to walk through as well as a history of aerospace which includes a hot air balloon kids can make fly, arcade games to play, and a small, closed off indoor play area for younger children.
16) Another hands-on animal experience in Manorville is the Animal Farm Petting Zoo and Park which has pony rides, and opportunities to feed sheep, pigs, goats, and cuddle with baby animals. They’re open spring through the fall.
17) Learn about the history of firefighting and fire service equipment in Long Island at the Nassau County Firefighter’s Museum and Education Center in Uniondale. (It’s part of Museum Row.)
Kids can climb on some firetrucks, wear firefighting gear, and learn fire safety protocol through some of their interactive presentations.
18) Make a day of your trip to Uniondale and plan to spend a few hours at the Long Island Children’s Museum, too. There are over 14 interactive exhibits, outdoor activities and play areas seasonally, and something for kids of all ages to do during the visit.
Toddlers love the TotSpot which features buses, post office, boats, and food to play with. Everyone loves the bubbles section and older kids will have a blast exploring the ClimbIt sculpture.
19) Bring kids over 3 to Adventure Park Long Island in Wheatley Heights to test their coordination, strength and stamina in the outdoor park and playground. You can choose your own adventure along the tree-top courses and zip lines, or take advantage of the playground for younger kids.
20) There are a variety of programs for families at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor.
Kids will enjoy exploring the mansion, participating in special family events and programs or exploring the outdoor sculpture gardens and grounds. They even have Mornings at the Museum programs for youth with autism.
21) Long Island is rich in indoor playgrounds for kids and we particularly like those that serve hot drinks and snacks.
A Latte Fun in Huntington has a motorized carousel kids can ride on, small rooms with themed toys to play with, as well as a slides and a trampoline and other things to climb on to help get energy out. There’s an upstairs geared towards smaller children with toddler toys and a ball pit.
One of the reasons this is a top indoor playground is that it’s easy to watch kids while sipping a hot coffee or relaxing in the cafe.
22) The Dinosaur Exhibit at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at the Tanglewood Preserve in Rockville Centre features life-size dinos, robotic dinosaurs and live animals. This outdoor fun is entertaining for the whole family and best enjoyed when the weather is nice.
23) Take advantage of the Long Island countryside with Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. It has barnyard adventures, apple picking, obstacle courses, huge slides and bouncy pillows, as well as playgrounds, fresh local food, music and hayrides.
24) White Post Farms in Melville is a great zoo for kids who want to feed animals, ride ponies, feed giraffes, go on hayrides, see magic shows and ride the trains.
It’s small enough that it’s easy to see the entire zoo in less than two hours and then spend the rest of the time playing on the playground equipment.
25) Give them a wide berth to practice graffiti at Graff Lab studio in Holtsville or New Hyde Park. This activity is great for older kids who want to stretch their creative muscles and take home a T-shirt, bag, or other design they made with spray paint in the studios.
26) Turn an outlet shopping trip into one that’s accompanied by learning when you take the kids to the Long Island Science Center pop-up museum in Riverhead.
This science museum is focused on STEAM education (think 3D, virtual reality exhibits) and has hours for the pubic every day as well as Saturday Science sessions.