Long Island

Memorial Day Weekend on Long Island: Air Show, Carnivals, Parades

Marvel at aerial airplane acrobatics as the Bethpage Air Show takes to the skies of Long Island's South Shore this Memorial Day weekend at Jones Beach. Indulge in some fried Oreos and upside-down rides at carnivals in Levittown, East Meadow, and Merrick.

Enjoy a colorful stroll down Riverhead's Main Street during the East End Arts Street Painting Festival.

Teach children the history behind Memorial Day with a poppy-making craft at the Long Island Children's Museum. Of course, there are also plenty of parades marching around Long Island on Monday to salute our fallen veterans.

Hop over to our May GoList to find even more options for this holiday weekend, including boardwalks, beaches and theme and water park fun.

Peruse our Spring Family Fun Guide for the best in seasonal entertainment, including day trip ideas, bountiful botanical gardens, and even biking and hiking trails. Of course, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids.

It's Farm-to-Table Fresh at These Great LI Farmers' Markets

There's something about a farmers' market that inspires even the pickiest eater to try something he or she otherwise would not. Perhaps it's the fun of meeting a farmer, the spectacle of all the bold, colorful displays of produce, or maybe it’s simply the freedom of an outdoor market filled with delicious aromas and live music.

Spring is the traditional opening of farmers' markets across Long Island. So we’ve rounded up markets from Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End sure to supply you and your family with delicious locally grown fruits and veggies, as well as inspiration for how to prepare them once you get home. Bring reusable bags so you and the kids can comfortably tote your bounty. Bring your appetite, too: You'll want to snack while you shop.

Times are as of May 2018. But be advised: Times and locations can change, and inclement weather can postpone markets. If you're traveling some distance, call ahead or check websites before heading out. 

For more outdoor activities as the weather warms up, check out our Summer Fun Guide.

The Best Beaches for Families on Long Island

Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty, and we don't mean just the Hamptons. Whether you have younger kids looking for tranquil shores or older kids looking to body surf, there is a Long Island beach for you. It's time to get ready for cool sea breezes and the feeling of sand between your toes.

At these Long Island's family beaches, you'll find picnic areas, swimming pools, and bathroom complexes along with food trucks and umbrella rentals. Use our guide to choose the best beach for your family's needs. These beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2018.

If you're in the mood to travel, check out our list of the best family beaches near New York City or our guide to the Jersey Shore area. For more family fun, see our guide to Long Island amusement and water parks.

The Grove Resort and Water Park Is a Worthy Disney Alternative

When planning a family vacation to Orlando, Florida, you and the kids might have just one destination on the brain: Disney. But actually, as we’ve pointed out before, there’s more to Orlando than theme parks, including plenty of family resorts from which to choose.

If you’re looking off-park for a hotel, consider The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. The 106-acre resort is just a few miles down the road from the entrance to Walt Disney World, but sits on a pretty tract of land set back from the major highways in a natural marsh and wooded landscape. It has all the favorite perks of a great family resort, including suites for housing extended family, pools, on-site restaurants, a spa, activities for kids, and even a water park.

We just returned from a long weekend at the resort and are happy to share our review.

16 Super Sprinkler Parks for Kids on Long Island

When the temperature rises, there’s nothing like jumping through a sprinkler to cool off. Long Island sprinkler parks are great places to take kids because unlike pools and beaches, sprinkler parks have low water depth and often a rubber-like surface. Just add sunscreen and let the adventures begin.

We’ve put together a list of super sprinkler parks that are open to everyone. We've even included a few parks open to residents only. Proof of residency and/or a membership pass can be required at those facilities. Fees vary, so check the websites or call before going.

For more aquatic fun, take a look at our guide to Long Island amusement parks and water parks. For other kid-friendly activities, check out our Summer Fun Guide, and our recommendations for the best beach playgrounds as well as other top playgrounds and parks on LI

Sensory Garden in Shoreham: An Immersive, Kid-Friendly Experience

If you have kids who love investigating their surroundings, the AHRC Suffolk's sensory garden is a great spot to spend an afternoon. The garden, which opened in May 2017, is a therapeutic environment for residents of Shoreham Homes as well as children and adults of all abilities.

A visit to this unique space is unlike a trip to any park or playground in the area. The garden offers different ways for visitors to interact with the installations and natural settings while inviting them to touch, smell, taste, and play. Admission is FREE. 

For more sensory experiences with kids, see our guide to special-needs facilities and programs on Long Island, including our list of inclusive playgrounds that offer more choices for great outdoor fun.

Weekend Fun: Spring Fairs, Water Safety, Cirque du Soleil

Hit up the carnival fairgrounds this weekend at the Empire State Fair. Located outside of Nassau Coliseum, the event features food and more than 100 rides and attractions. Inside the Coliseum all weekend, Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA ignites the stage with acrobatics and art.

Splash around in the seasonal outdoor exhibit Our Backyard at the Long Island Children's Museum. Get set to get wet at this outside space that features a sensory garden, water table, hand pumps and more. Then head indoors to catch a showing of Gruff! The Musical. In this reinvention of the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale, audiences learn the importance of environmental stewardship. 

Meet the sheep, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits that make the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair such an annual success at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead. Or experiment with scents the way ants do and make an ant habitat at the South Fork Natural History Museum.

Get a jumpstart on summer safety at Goldfish Swim Schools in Farmingdale or Garden City. This Saturday children and families can learn life-saving ways to stay safer in and around the water..

Hop over to our May GoList to find even more options for this weekend, including stroller striding and amusement park fun. Explore a new playground with our list of top picks.

See our Spring Family Fun Guide for the best in seasonal entertainment, including day trip ideas, bountiful botanical gardens, and even biking and hiking trails. 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. 

7 Great Programs for Long Island Kids With Special Needs

Without doubt, people who are challenged with special needs can experience sadness, insecurity, isolation, and exclusion. With increased attention paid to autism, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and other conditions, research and resources seem to be increasing.

Unfortunately, some of these programs are not publicized sufficiently to provide easy access for families who are faced with the responsibility of designing a quality life for their children. There are, however, several organizations here on Long Island that help those with special needs live their best lives possible. And, we’ve compiled a list just for you.

For more educational and developmental programs for Long Island kids, see our classes and enrichment guide or our Long Island Special Needs Guide.

Stunning Long Island Lighthouses Worth Visiting with Kids

Long Island lighthouses are a beacon into the past. To explore them is to immerse yourself in the history of the region, from the Revolutionary War to the whaling age, and the great steamship era of the 19th century.

There are about 20 lighthouses on Long Island, from New York Harbor to Montauk and the North Fork. Four—Bug Light, Fire Island, Horton Point, and Montauk Point—are open for public exploration. A fifth, Huntington Harbor Lighthouse, has been undergoing major renovations and plans are underway to reopen to the public at the end of June 2018.

In the meantime, check out our guide to these incredible lighthouses your family can visit. A word of advice before you go: Limber up, as some of these lighthouses boast steep climbs although we think you’ll agree the panoramic views are definitely worth the effort. Have fun exploring.

Got the travel itch? Check out our guide to popular Long Island family day trips

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