For all the wonderful things they do for their families, dads and grandads deserve some extra-special attention on Father’s Day. In case you haven’t made plans yet, we’ve put together a list of activities to do with dear old dad or grandpa that will let them know how much they're loved and appreciated.
So, whether he’s crazy for sports, loves to spend time outdoors, or enjoys creating things with his hands, we hope our roundup sparks some fun ideas to do on June 16. And for more family-friendly options this month, check out our JuneGoList and our Summer Fun Guide.
As always, check websites or call before heading out for potential weather-related cancellations. Happy Father's Day to all our dads and grandfathers.
Cheer on the Ducks with dad and enjoy a postgame fireworks show. Photo courtesy of the LI Ducks
1. Play ball! Cheer on the home team at a Long Island Ducks game at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip. Check out the fireworks after the games on June 8, 23, or 26. Special promotions also include free gym towels, T-shirts, and baseball caps on special June nights.
2. Or watch an Old Time Base Ball game at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, where teams follow the rules of the game as it was played in 1864.
3. Enjoy four days of shortcake, fireworks, carnival rides, and more at the Lions Club Strawberry Festival in Mattituck. The event climaxes on Father’s Day when dads and granddads are admitted FREE when joined by a paying child. Proceeds benefit the Lions Club’s North Fork charities.
4. Speaking of festivals and fairs... During June, it seems every town on Long Island is hosting an outdoor celebration. Why not party with dad at the Long Island FunFest or the Strawberry Fair at Brenner's Farm, for example?
5. Get your geek on at the Long Island Eternal Con June 22 and 23 in Uniondale. Enjoy a cosplay contest, film festival, and celebrity guests. This year, meet Ross Marquand from the Avengers and Anson Williams from Happy Days. There is also a 50th anniversary reunion of some of your favorite Sesame Street characters, including Bob McGrath. Children's events include Lego building, cupcake wars, and a Jedi Academy.
6. Enjoy a game of polo at Bethpage State Park. The Father’s Day match starts at 2pm. You can purchase food and beverages or bring your own and enjoy a picnic.
7. Go see the eagles. We’re talking birds here, not the band. A pair of bald eagles have taken up residence in a nest off Route 25A in Centerport. Join the crowds of people who gather in the parking lot with cameras and binoculars to catch a glimpse of these majestic birds.
8. Dive with the sharks. If dad is the adventurous type, head to Long Island Aquarium, where patrons 12 and older can participate in a shark dive. Before dad goes nose to nose with the sharks, he’ll receive instruction and safety tips. The rest of the family can safely watch from the sidelines.
9. Get up early for Breakfast at Belmont Park. You’ll enjoy a buffet breakfast and watch the thoroughbreds get their morning exercise. After breakfast, hop on the historical tram for a ride through the stable area and watch the free paddock show and starting gate demonstration.
10. Go fishing. Hook a line and throw it into a pond stocked with trout at the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery. All fish must be kept (no catch-and-release) and there is a $4 fee per fish caught. Bring your own equipment and bait or rent it from the hatchery.
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Explore Fire Island's spectacular coastline then build a lighthouse with dad. Photo courtesy of the Fire Island National Seashore
11. Build a lighthouse with dad on Fire Island. You can create a three-dimensional model with working lights. Contestants enter to win first, second, or third prize.
12. Head out east and rent a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat and spend the day exploring some of Long Island’s beautiful waterways. There are plenty of places in the Hamptons and North Fork to rent equipment for whatever water sport your family prefers.
13. Speaking of eastern Long Island, take a day trip and visit some kid-friendly wineries, explore a few lighthouses, or simply spend the day on one of its many beautiful beaches.
14. Play mini-golf with dad at a local course, where the whole family can practice their swings. Or try a local par-3 course, where kids can learn the finer parts of the royal and ancient game.
15. More freebies for dads and granddads: Enjoy complimentary admission to the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook
. If you're in Nassau, Bellmore United Methodist Church hosts a dad's day
on the church grounds.
16. Get friendly with some of your favorite marine critters from the Long Island Sound at Ocean Science Sunday at the Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbor. You can create a tide pool diorama to take home.
17. You could also stop by the Long Island Children's Museum and make a "terrific tie" from markers and foam for dad to wear.
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Watch your homemade rocket blast off at the Center for Science Teaching & Learning. Photo courtesy of CSTL
18. Build and launch a rocket with dad at the Center for Science Teaching & Learning’s annual Daddy and Me Rocket Event on June 16.
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Dads and grandfathers enjoy FREE admission to the Heckscher Museum of Art on Father's Day. Photo courtesy of the museum
19. Museums are a great place to spend time as a family. Explore the many family-friendly exhibits and art collections at the Heckscher Museum of Art and the historical displays at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. At both museums, fathers and grandfathers enjoy FREE admission on Father’s Day.
20. Get creative at a Father’s Day family paint event at Key to My Art in Amityville on Saturday, June 15. Fathers and kids create a two-part painting together.
21. Build a birdhouse at a Father’s Day event at Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, June 16. Biologist Eric Powers is on hand to guide dads and kids with step-by-step instructions.
22. Pack up the car and head out on the open road for the day or weekend. Head out east or upstate to see sites beyond your neighborhood. Or, if you're near Port Jefferson hop on a ferry and spend the day in Bridgeport, Connecticut. You could also take the train together to New York City and explore all that Manhattan has to offer.
23. No matter what you do, before you head home for the day be sure to stop at one of Long Island’s bountiful farmers’ markets and pick up what you need to cook dad a fresh, farm-to-table meal. Or head to one of several family-friendly restaurants on LI where kids eat FREE and dad saves some money.
24. Enjoy a delightful Father's Day cruise leaving out of Freeport on dad's big day. Lunch or brunch is included in the price.
25. Have a rollin' good time with dad on the rides at Adventureland in Farmingdale. On Father's Day, dads get a FREE pop when they donate a toy to the toy drive.
This post is updated annually.