Long Island

6 Destinations for Train-Obsessed Kids on Long Island

All aboard! If your little one loves trains (and what kid doesn't?), you're in luck because Long Island is home to some of the coolest places for kids who want to explore everything about them. From model trains to small-scale rideable trains and even historic train cars, there's something for every enthusiast here. Kids young and old can get hands on and learn all about trains as well as the history of railroads on Long Island. For models and miniatures, check out some local model railroad clubs at FREE open house events held several times a year. 

Don't forget, you can always take a quick excursion on the Long Island Rail Road, where kids 4 and younger ride for FREE. Some sites below are open seasonally, so be sure to call or check the location's website before heading out.

And if your child loves learning, why not check out these historic sites on LI sure to delight children. Or visit an outdoor classroom, where natural history springs to life. For more fun in the area, check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Weekend Fun: Park Celebrations, Tulips, Israelfest

Long Island is in full bloom, and this weekend you can catch a glimpse at cherry blossom festivals in Greenport and Stony Brook, or at the Tulip Festival in Huntington. 

Get outdoors and explore one of Long Island's green spaces during the free I Love My Park Day. Or cuddle baby animals at the Suffolk County Farm. Celebrate Israel's 70th birthday at Israelfest at North Hempstead Beach Park.

Hop over to our May GoList to find more options for the first weekend of the month, or see our spring family fun guide for the best in seasonal entertainment. Of course, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. Don't see a great event listed here? Add it to our Event Calendar yourself. 

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Where to Enjoy Kayaks, Rowboats, Pedal Boats, and More on LI

Row, row, row your boat—all over Long Island! Our ponds, preserves, and bays are prime spots for water sports. Get set to make a splash as you row, pedal, paddle, and more at these sporty locations.

Looking for more wet and wild fun? If you're on the East End, check out our guide to kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals in the Hamptons and North Fork. Or enjoy a spritz at a sprinkler park on Long Island. Use our outdoors guide to explore parks, playgrounds, and other fun destinations on the Island.

Great Bike Trails for Long Island Families

If it’s been a few months since that bike saw the outside of your garage, why not tune it up and welcome the warm weather with a family bike ride?

Head outside to explore some of the many bike trails Long Island has to offer. If you’re not up for taking on a mountain bike trail, then pack a lunch, bring some water, and head to one of the paved paths or boardwalks that offer easy and enjoyable rides for even the youngest cyclist.

Here are our top picks for the most family-friendly trails on Long Island. Depending on which trail you choose, it might be a good idea to bring along a first aid kit, a tire patch kit or extra tubes, and bug and tick spray. For more outdoor adventures, check out these LI hiking trails and our Spring and Summer Fun Guides. While you're at it, why not look into our 50 FREE things to do with kids on LI this summer or our top 100 things to do with LI kids. A good bike ride just might be on both lists.

25 STEM Activities Easy Enough for Preschoolers

STEM activities are all the rage in education right now, and for good reason. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – and the Arts for STEAM – are crucial to kids’ learning and our future. But how to get your younger children interested?

They might not be ready for coding, but many preschoolers under age 5, and even toddlers, can enjoy some basic STEM principles through play. Although one of my family’s admitted guilty pleasures is relaxing with a little screen time, I was inspired by the upcoming national Screen-Free Week (April 30-May 6, 2018) to take my daughter on a STEM binge instead.

We built an apple boat, a toothpick-marshmallow castle, attempted a pom-pom drop, and indulged in baking soda science. Read on for a list of 25 tried-and-true screen-free STEM activities to do with your preschooler.

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

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.  

There’s also that one day a year when we say thank you to our moms and another when we 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—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.

Visiting Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya in Mexico with Kids

Mexico's Caribbean coast is known for its first-class resorts, especially along the Riviera Maya, including towns such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum. So much so that sometimes the sparkling waters, stunning beaches, and swank surroundings of this northern Yucatan peninsula's all-inclusive deals make it hard to want to leave the lovely confines of your hotel.

But there’s so much more to this gorgeous Mexican coastal region just south of Cancun than beachside getaways. To introduce the kids to a taste of authentic culture, including Mayan ruins, natural wonders, and unlimited adventure, you don’t have to go far. Some excursions may take only an hour and others a whole day, but these 25 ideas are surely worthy of drawing the family out of the resort for even just a few hours.

Weekend Fun: Spring Festivals, Royal Brunch, Touch-a-Truck

Dine like royalty at the Coral House's Prince & Princesses Brunch. Celebrate Mother Earth at Planting Fields Arboretum's annual Arbor Day Festival. Create a butterfly feeder at the Long Island Explorium and then explore the rest of Port Jefferson.

Hop over to our April GoList to find more options for the final weekend of the month, or pad your wallet with a list of FREE family activities.

Of course, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. Don't see a great event listed here? Add it to our Event Calendar yourself. 

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Butterflies and Birds: Where You Can Interact with Them on LI

You know what they say: Birds of a feather flock together. Well, on Long Island they seem to flock to nature preserves, centers, sanctuaries, and farms. Flutter around our area and you can get up close with some beautiful butterflies, too. But don't just wing it — we have the skinny on hoo to see and where.

Need another animal fix? Visit our zoos and gardens guide. Many outdoor petting zoos operate on a seasonal schedule, opening in spring or summer, and closing in fall before the snow arrives.

Cirque Du Soleil's Volta Is an Artful Adrenaline Rush

Cirque du Soleil's Volta show, which just landed in the greater NYC area, is a feast for the senses. From a stirring score to exhilarating acrobatics and heart-stopping thrills, the newest Cirque spectacle captivated audience members of all ages at the performance my 10-year-old son and I saw Sunday afternoon under the Big Top at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where it will run through May 6.

Volta also plays at the Nassau Colesium on Long Island, beginning May 17, and at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, starting in July.

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