For all the wonderful things dads do for their families, they definitely 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 that will let him know how much he’s 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 17. 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 Father's Day barbeque. Photo courtesy of the LI Ducks
1. Play ball. Cheer on the home team at a Long Island Ducks game at Bethpage Ballpark. In addition to watching the game, you can purchase tickets to a special Father’s Day barbecue and the chance for dad and child to take part in a pregame catch on the field.
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. Get your geek on at Eternal Con: The Long Island Comic Con. Enjoy superheroes, including appearances by William Shatner from Star Trek and Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), comic books, collectibles, displays of cars from popular movies and TV shows, live performances, and more at this weekend-long event that’s billed as Long Island’s biggest pop culture event of the year.
4. Enjoy a game of polo at Bethpage State Park. The Father’s Day game starts at 3pm; gates open at 2pm. You can purchase food and beverages or bring your own and enjoy a picnic.
5. Go see the eagles. We’re talking birds here, not the band (although they are currently on tour). 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Attend a festival or fair. During the summer, it seems every town on Long Island is hosting an outdoor celebration. Here are a few to choose from on Father’s Day weekend: Long Island FunFest, Port Jeff Green Fest, Mattituck Lions Club Strawberry Festival, Massapequa Strawberry Festival, South Shore Blueway Festival, Summer Arts & Crafts Fair at Marine Park, and Kings Park Day.
9. 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 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 on a Father's Day beach hike. Photo courtesy of the Fire Island National Seashore
10. Take a hike. The Father’s Day breach hike meets at the Fire Island National Seashore Wilderness Center and explores the gorgeous shoreline of Fire Island as a guide takes hikers to the wilderness breach and back.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. If you can't score tickets to the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, take dad to a local mini-golf course, where the whole family can practice their swings.
14. Attend a ship-in-a-bottle workshop at the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum on Saturday, June 16. Create your own version of the classic craft. Visit the museum on Father’s Day, and dad and a visitor enjoy FREE admission.
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Build your rocket and watch it blast off at the Center for Science Teaching & Learning's Daddy and Me rocket event. Photo courtesy of CSTL
15. Build and launch a rocket with dad at the Center for Science Teaching & Learning’s annual Daddy & Me rocket event.
Dads and grandfathers enjoy FREE admission to the Heckscher Museum of Art on Father's Day. Photo courtesy of the museum
16. 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.
17. Get creative at a Father’s Day family paint event at Key to My Art in Amityville. Fathers and kids create a two-part painting together.
18. Build a birdhouse at a Father’s Day event at Sands Point Preserve. Biologist Eric Powers is on hand to guide dads and kids with step-by-step instructions.
19. 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, hop on a ferry and spend the day in Bridgeport, Connecticut, or take the train to New York City and explore all that Manhattan has to offer.
20. 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 the many family-friendly restaurants where kids get to eat FREE and dad gets to save some money.
This article is updated annually.