Around my house, these few weeks before my kids’ Summer camps officially start can be tough. The Summer weather seems to have arrived finally and the kids are anxious to take advantage of it. With plenty of beach days ahead, I wanted to do something special to celebrate today being the first official “day I don’t have to go to school” this Summer. So, we headed to Bayville this afternoon and hit the best mini-amusement park on Long Island-the Bayville Adventure Park.
For young kids, really, nothing could be better. First of all, there are lots of parking spaces right up front or just across the street, and you don’t even have to take a train to get into the park, like you do at Disneyland or those other big amusement parks. There is just enough activities to keep them from getting bored, but also the right amount to squeeze into the average young child’s visit without missing any (which I’d say is a few hours).
One of the biggest attractions here is the pirate theme Minature Golf Course (think minature golf a’la Pirates of the Caribbean). It was really fun, and even though it was really hot on the course, there is plenty of water and shade and even a shack you can duck into toward the end of the course where you can get sprayed with a cooling mist.
The Bumper Boats are the major draw though during the summer, and if you hit the park on a quiet day or in the late afternoon when less people are there, your kids will be allowed to stay on the boats until they want to get off and then won’t even have to wait in line to get back on. Anyone over 44” can go in their boat alone, while littler ones need an adult or older friend or sibling with them. The boats are great, easy to steer, and each has their own built in squirt gun to spray other boats. While your kids are cooling off on the boats, you can sit in the shade under an awning and relax.
We also loved the Climbing Tree Top Rope attraction, although I admit it is for older kids, probably 6 and up. My 6 year old amazed me as he climbed the ropes and literally appeared to be walking on air at times while safely harnessed in with gear. For any aspiring acrobats this would be a draw.
Bayville does a great job all year long with a terrific Haunted House scene and a great Holiday program, but it really makes a terrific day trip during the Summer for young families. Besides the bigger attractions mentioned already, they have a nice, clean(er) arcarde area with a variety of games and machines, a ride on train, gigantic inflatable slides and equipment and an indoor rock climbing wall. Here are a few tips we suggest –
- Purchase the one day VIP pass; it might seem expensive, but you get two free day passes for the park to be used later. It’s buy one get one free.
- If you don’t have a napper, visit the park in the later afternoon; there will be fewer people and no wait times
- If you can, make a day of it and pack a picnic lunch for the beautiful beach which is directly across the street. There are play structures, restrooms, and some of the cleanest and smoothest sand you’ll find on the North Shore.
- If you share the same sticker shock that I did, pack your lunch, snacks and drinks (there are plenty of picnic tables there) and avoid the arcade; it is really expensive and while clean and organized, your kids walk away with the same cheap prizes they get anywhere else.
- Bayville Amusement Park is probably best enjoyed by children ages 4-10; much younger they can’t enjoy the attractions and much older I think they’d be bored.
8 Bayville Avenue
For other fun summer trip ideas visit our summer guide.