May GoList: Best Things To Do with Long Island Kids This Month

May GoList 2019, Long Island, New York: The Best Things to Do with Kids on LI

Short on syllables, long on possibilities.

That would seem to the story of May on Long Island, would it not? Though only three letters, May offers 31 days of family adventures, as outdoor activity becomes a reality and kids can see the end of the school year on the horizon.

So what makes May so appealing, notwithstanding the sunshine, of course?

Well, there’s nature, as in the Greenport Cherry Blossom Festival in the North Fork harbor community. There's the outdoors at state park celebrations across the Island. Add in a touch of multiculturalism and a spring festival or two and you see why we at Mommy Poppins greet this month with such enthusiasm.  

This year too, on the final day of the month Long Island begins a celebration of the 200th birthday of one of its most esteemed citizens — Walt Whitman, the celebrated poet, journalist, and humanitarian.

May is also the month when we say thank you to our moms and remember our fallen veterans. Long Island restaurants see big crowds on Mother’s Day, so make reservations if you’re planning to take mom out for brunch or lunch. Memorial Day is, of course, the unofficial start of summer, especially on the East End—a time for barbecues, beach parties, and more.    

With all that on tap, why belabor our introduction? Let’s get right to our list of the best in Long Island family entertainment this month.

As always, if you are interested in an event, click through for information on dates, times, and addresses. And see our Long Island Spring Guide for a detailed look at the best seasonal entertainment. Lastly, don’t forget to check our Long Island Events Calendar for more exciting family options as they develop throughout the month.

Stroll around Greenport in early May to view its blooming cherry trees. Photo courtesy of the Village of Greenport

Greenport Cherry Blossom Festival — Greenport
Wednesday, May 1-Wednesday, May 15
For the third straight spring, the North Fork destination, known as “Tree City USA” treats visitors (and locals) to two weeks of blooming cherry blossoms. Pick up a map at village hall and take a self-guided tour.   

I Love My Park Celebrations — Islandwide
Saturday, May 4
More than 130 New York state parks, including Bethpage State Park, Connetquot River, Hempstead Lake, Heckscher, Bayard Cutting Arbnoretum, and others participate in the state’s annual celebration of these outdoor destinations. Join in park cleanups, tree and garden planting, habitat restoration, and more.

Star Wars at the Vanderbilt Museum — Centerport
Saturday, May 4
Grab your light saber and alert your droid. This daylong celebration of all things Star Wars features a lecture by two planetarium astronomers serving as your droid-like tour guides to a galaxy far, far away. The audience is divided into the light and dark sides of the force in a trivia competition.

RELATED: Spring Festivals for Long Island Families 

Israelfest is one of Nassau County's largest celebrations of Israeli and Jewish culture. Photo courtesy of the event

Israelfest — Port Washington
Sunday, May 5
Enjoy live music, dance, food, arts and crafts, and children's rides in the largest celebration of Israeli and Jewish culture on Long Island. The celebration, at North Hempstead Beach Park, begins at noon. 

May Day Festival — East Setauket
Sunday, May 5
Join Benner’s Farm for its 30th annual traditional Maypole celebration. Mingle with the farm animals and enjoy old-time family fun, music, and dancing. Proceeds benefit the local nonprofit Homestead Arts Inc.

RELATED: Where to See Cherry Blossoms on Long Island

Sakura Matsuri at Stony Brook University celebrates Japanese culture and the arrival of spring. Photo courtesy of the festival

Sakura Matsuri: Cherry Blossom Festival — Stony Brook University
Sunday, May 5
Bid a happy welcome to spring at the university’s annual cherry blossom festival at the Charles B. Wang Center. The festival is also a celebration of Japanese culture with music, kimono dress-up, and more. Long Island’s Ryu Shu Taiko Drums of Japan light up the stage with their traditional rhythms.

Glimpse the flowering tulips at Heckscher Park in Huntington. Photo courtesy of the festival

Town of Huntington Tulip Festival — Huntington Village
Sunday, May 5
Come to Heckscher Park (not Heckscher State Park in East Islip) and enjoy more than 20,000 tulips in bloom as well as children’s activities, stage performances, art exhibits, and more. FREE, rain or shine.

Mother’s Day Across Long Island — Islandwide
Saturday, May 11-Sunday, May 12
Show mom how much you love her on Mother’s Day weekend. Saturday events include craft making at Garvies Point Museum in Glen Cove; garden tours at Crossroads Farm in Malverne, and more. On Sunday, enjoy a Mother’s Day tea party at Sands Point Preserve; pottery painting in Long Beach; and plenty more. Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck celebrates mom all weekend long. Need more ideas? Check our guide to the best Mother’s Day brunches and lunches on Long Island and our rundown of FREE Mother’s Day activities and promotions.

RELATED: Great Spring Day Trip Ideas for LI Families 

Kids can meet the resident animals at the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair — Riverhead
Saturday, May 18-Sunday, May 19
At Hallockville Museum Farm, kids can meet the llamas, alpacas, and angora rabbits that provide the fleece needed to make yarn and other fiber goods. Kids can watch knitters up close as they work on wearable pieces. The Hallockville fair is the largest fiber gathering on Long Island.

Thomas School of Horsemanship Spring Festival — Melville
Sunday, May 19
The spring carnival features pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, field games, STEM projects, and more. Kids can explore first-responder vehicles from the Melville Fire Department, and a family playground and picnic tables are available for use.

Bethpage Air Show — Jones Beach State Park
Saturday, May 25-Sunday, May 26
The Air Force Thunderbirds, the Army Golden Knight Parachute Team and civilian pilot Sean D. Tucker headline this start-of-summer tradition at New York’s most-visited state park. FREE with park admission. If you can’t visit on Saturday or Sunday, come by on Friday from 10am to 3pm to watch the aerial teams practice.

Decoration Day at Old Bethpage Village — Old Bethpage
Saturday, May 25-Sunday, May 26
Take part in a special ceremony for those who died in defense of our nation. Enjoy vintage craft demonstrations, brass band concerts, a parade, and old-time "base ball" as the game was played in 1864.  

RELATED: State Parks on Long Island Worth a Visit

Long Island celebrates its beloved poet with a three-day festival at the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site. Photo courtesy of the site

Walt Whitman Bicentennial Birthday Weekend — Huntington Station
Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2
Long Island celebrates its beloved poet with a three-day festival at the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site. Enjoy scholarly lectures, birthday parties for kids and adults, a “Poet’s Picnic,” and readings of Whitman’s most celebrated works, including Leaves of Grass and Multitudes. High school and college students deliver presentations of their poetry, and docents in mid-19th century dress circulate with visitors, providing insight into the life and thinking of America’s “national poet.”

Many Long Island communities sponsor Memorial Day activities, including parades. Check back for schedules and updates.