Attempt the aerial ropes course at Bounce! in Syosset.
Attempt the aerial ropes course at Bounce! in Syosset.

Unplugged Fun on Long Island

Tired of prying phones, tablets, and game controllers out of the hands of your littles? Maybe you just want a digital detox for your own sanity. Mommy Poppins has created a round-up of places to go and things to do on Long Island that offer unplugged fun. Put down the phones and head out the door.

For more family fun, connect with Mother Earth at these Long Island nature centers, plan a day trip and explore a nearby town or visit one of Long Island's many museums. Or if you're not totally screen-free, check out the 50 Best Kids' Movies for Family Movie Night.

Can you make it out of an escape room in under at hour? 


Nassau County

Just Escape — Massapequa
Popular rooms for kids and families at this venue include Pirates of the Dark Sea (steal the hidden treasure) or Sweet Revenge (candy-store themed). In the Carnival Conundrum room, kids can play various carnival games to help unearth clues. But be sure to escape before the storm strikes!

For more clue solving fun, check out our list of the Best Escape Rooms on Long Island

Learn some new cooking skills at a culinary class. 

The Cooking Lab — Port Washington
Participate in hands-on cooking lessons, learn fundamental cooking skills and collaborate to create a culinary masterpiece. Look for one of their parent/child classes that is sure to leave your family with more confidence and independence in the kitchen. 

Bounce! — Syosset
After bouncing in the trampoline park, head over to the Adventure Zone that boasts two elevated ropes courses; one for 42" and 48" and taller. Race to the top of the rock wall to press the buzzer or scale the four-sided climbing wall. 

Wildplay Adventure Park — Wantagh
WildPlay, an adventure park featuring ropes, bridges and tunnels, as well as a 700-foot zip line that runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, opened in July at Jones Beach State Park. Whether you're conquering your fear of heights or challenging your physical abilities, there's an activity for every level of intensity. 

The Witches Brew — West Hempstead
Serving breakfast, lunch, coffee and other yummy treats and drinks, this is the perfect spot to chill out and enjoy some one-on-one convo. It's comfy, yet quirky decor makes it feel like a real treat to visit. Bonus: lots of vegan/vegetarian options too!

Play a classic family favorite or try out a new one at Main Street Board Game Cafe. Photo courtesy of Main Street Board Game Cafe

Suffolk County

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery — Cold Spring Harbor 
With the trout pond stocked regularly, you're guaranteed a successful fishing expedition here! It's catch and keep, so all trout must be kept and carry a $4 per fish fee. Bring your own fishing equipment or rent from the Hatchery. No reservations are needed, just grab a spot on the bridge and drop a line! Afterward, explore the charming harborside town of Cold Spring Harbor.

The Melting Pot — Farmingdale
This unique dining experience brings the cooking to the table! Armed with skewer sticks your family can dip breads, veggies, etc. into ooey-gooey cauldrons of melted cheese. Then boil chicken, steak, shrimp, and fish as a main course or skip right to our favorite; dessert! Dip strawberries, graham crackers, pound cake and more into velvety melted chocolate. The fun, just like the chocolate and cheese, will be bubbling over at your table.  

The Hidden Oak Cafe — Great River
Explore the Bayard Cutting Arboretum before stumbling upon the enchanting Hidden Oak Cafe. The menu includes freshly prepared foods including sandwiches, quiche, soups, pies, and other desserts. However, you can also turn it into a dress-up party and experience a real Victorian Tea - complete with finger sandwiches, scones, and fresh pots of tea and catering. NOTE: All Victorian Tea reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance to allow for preparation.

Main Street Board Game Cafe — Huntington
Their game library boasts more than 300 titles from classics such as Monopoly and Chinese Checkers to popular wizardry games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Magic. You can walk in anytime to play for four hours at a set rate. Expert assistance is at the ready if you get stuck on any rules, but this doesn't mean they'll meddle in any heated family disputes! Nosh on small plates and appetizers or an after-meal sweet treat. Bonus: Main Street Board Game Cafe offers after school classes for more unplugged fun.

Adventure Park at Long Island — Wheatley Heights
Challenge your family to reach new heights at this outdoor park that is comprised of seven different climbing and ziplining trails, with varying levels of difficulty. Platforms, cables, bridges and more make up 10 separate trails with more than 140 unique challenges. They also offer glow in the dark events! This park is ideal for ages 7 and up.

Decorate your own creation at Gingerbread University. 

East End

Riverhead Ciderhouse — Calverton
While the adult draw here is the local cider brews, this 8,000 sq. ft. rustic-style spot is ripe for family fun. Live music, dueling self-pianos, oversized UNO and other card games boast unique entertainment. Head outdoor to the patio to play giant Connect 4, corn hole and more. They also host game nights, such as Bingo! on select Mondays. 

Gingerbread University — Riverhead
This unique decorating center focuses on hands-on fun. Choose from a variety of giant cookies, houses, trains, and more to design your own edible treat. They have all of the yummy supplies to help your creation come to life; including icing and assorted candies. They also have GingerElves on hand to assist!

Custer Institute — Southold
Long Island's oldest public observatory, the Custer Institute was founded in 1927. It houses a number of telescopes of varying sizes and descriptions. It is open every Saturday evening from dusk until midnight for lectures, slide shows, and weather permitting, sky viewing.

Unless noted, photos by the author

Port Jefferson Village Annual Charles Dickens Festival
Port Jefferson Village - 10:00 AM Pick
Meet Santa at Hicks Nurseries
Hicks Nurseries - 10:00 AM Pick
Bright Lights at the Vanderbilt Mansion
Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum - 10:30 AM Pick
A Child's Life at Eagle's Nest at the Vanderbilt Mansion
Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum - 10:00 AM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
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