Looking for places to stay and play with your little one, but not break the bank? There are destinations that offer fun for all without a hefty price tag. Check out this list of Long Island hot spots where babies ages 2 and younger are FREE. Now, what to do with all the extra cash?
Check out our indoor activities or baby age guides for more ideas.
American Airpower Museum — Farmingdale
Wander around this airport hanger and explore planes from the inside and out. Press all the buttons, pull every lever, and flip each switch. A one-level facility makes this spot stroller-friendly. Children 4 and younger are FREE.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery — Cold Spring Harbor
Your little one can learn about land and aquatic creatures from the hatchery's large collection of living reptiles, fish, and amphibians. An outdoor pond is stocked daily for trout fishing. Children 2 and younger are FREE.
Junior Jet Club — Garden City
Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard
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This is an interactive play area for children up to age 6. Young aviators can build, explore, and even settle down for a story in the book corner. The Junior Jet Club is included with regular museum admission, or you can enjoy it minus the museum for a nominal fee. Children 2 and younger receive FREE admission to both the Junior Jet Club and Cradle of Aviation Museum.
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Butterfly coming in for a soft landing. Photo courtesy of the Long Island Aquarium.
Long Island Aquarium — Riverhead
Marvel at the colorful fish tanks, feed the stingrays and await a butterfly landing at the Long Island Aquarium. Watch the sea lion show and enjoy other outdoor exhibits. Or stay inside and explore. While it is multilevel, the aquarium provides a stroller-friendly layout. Children 2 and younger are FREE.
Tackapausha Museum and Preserve — Seaford
This environmental education center has in-house live exhibits, interactive learning displays, and an expansive outdoor play area that uses nature as a jungle gym. Outdoor trails are mostly flat. Children 4 and younger are FREE.
The Whaling Museum & Education Center — Cold Spring Harbor
Explore the relationship between humans and whales through this collection of artifacts and interactive educational opportunities. Younger ones might not grasp the history of whaling on Long Island, but they can certainly take in the colorful artifacts. Children 3 and younger are FREE.
White Post Farms — Melville
The Singing Chicken Show and the Animal Band Jamboree are sure to engage your wee one—think animated puppets shows. Take a gander at Patches the giraffe, among several friendly barnyard animals. Kids 18 months and younger are FREE.
FREE for ages 1 and younger
Meet the resident reptiles and other animals at CSTL, then meander around the trails at Tanglewood Preserve. Photo courtesy of Center for Science, Teaching & Learning
Center for Science Teaching & Learning — Rockville Centre
Open year-round, this live animal exhibit boasts birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and more. Hoot with the owls outside, enjoy the whimsy of goats, or check out a live honeybee hive. Meander around the woodsy trails, which are stroller-friendly.
Children's Museum of the East End — Bridgehampton
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The Children's Museum of the East End features a number of themed play spaces. Children can run a general store or soda fountain, enjoy a story inside an upside-down book, crawl through hollow logs and mouse holes, sail a ship, drive a fire truck or tractor, play mini-golf, and more. The museum's arts and crafts studio features ongoing drop-in projects. Though the museum is aimed at kids ages 2 to 7, there is a special discovery area for pre-walking kids, and the museum offers an array of children’s programming, special events, and classes.
Lolli Bop Cafe & Play — Lawrence
This enormous play space boasts interactive and imaginative play, oversized Connect 4, a sand table, American Girl Doll vanity area, dress-up clothes station, a musical instrument section, Lego wall, reading nook, separate baby crawl area, and more. It also offers a menu of salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and more, including gluten-free options. Admission is FREE for parents, caregivers, and children 1 and younger.
Play pretend at the Long Island Children's Museum Tot Spot. Photo by Jaime Sumersille.
Long Island Children's Museum — Garden City
Perfect for crawlers, cruisers and toddlers, the Tot Spot boasts a lighthouse, farmer’s market, post office, train station, and more. Bubble over with fun in its sudsy station. These, plus more, are ideal for little ones visiting LICM.
Explore the FREE programs at the Maritime Explorium in Port Jefferson. Photo courtesy the museum
Maritime Explorium — Port Jefferson
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Build, sculpt, mold, and explore at this science-based center of fun. All board the bailing boat, which is full of rice for kids to play in. You can touch ALL the buttons and switches in the lighthouse exhibit. Poke away! Each weekend features an instructor-led experiment.
Safari Adventure — Riverhead
Safari Adventure offers fun for all ages, including a special toddler zone, where little ones can play safely, and plenty of climbing and bouncing structures for older guests. There is also an arcade, a sensory play area, and a calming room if your child and guests need a break. Infants and crawlers under 1 are FREE, as long as there are older, paying guests tagging along.
Top photo by Michael Radwin/CC BY 2.0