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Fun for Families During February Break

February 17, 2017

Looking for things to do with the kids during the February break from school?

There are a lot fun activities you can try, from indoor fun centers and museums to outdoor nature programs and hikes. Find some ideas below or click to find a full listing of kids’ attractions on Long Island.

Feeling a need for speed? Pole Position Raceway was created for racers, by racers. Pole Position Raceway’s Long Island location is a state-of-the-art racing facility featuring two quarter-mile tracks, the latest in high-performance, all-electric, emission-free indoor karts capable of speeds of 45 MPH, arcade games and space for private parties.

Got kids with lots of energy? Bounce Trampoline Sports® offers jumping, training, working out and playing popular indoor sports on massive courts of interconnected trampolines. Foam pits, main jump court, two dodgeball courts, slam dunk basketball lanes, and separate Bounce! Jr. zone. Available for large group rentals, movie and TV shoots, and parties.

For a classic experience, Nunley’s Carousel is open from 12:00-3:00 PM Tuesday through Friday, and 12:00-5:00 PM Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Open on Mondays that fall on holidays or school breaks. Admission is $2.00 per ride. The carousel is located in its own beautiful building adjacent to the Cradle of Aviation on Museum Row, Long Island’s world class aviation museum, which also includes Leroy R. and Rose W. Grumman IMAX Dome Theater, and Red Planet Cafe located. Check the schedule to see the latest in immersive IMAX fun.

Artfully housed in a former airplane hangar, the award-winning Long Island Children’s Museum is a creative, innovative and inspiring destination for children and their grown-ups. With 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space (12 galleries, a sensory garden and 2 art exhibit spaces) and a state of the art theater, families have ample opportunities to play and learn together in a nurturing environment. Check the website for the schedule of interactive family programming.

For aspiring future firefighters, the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center is a nearly 10,000 square foot interactive facility where individuals, families and groups can experience first-hand the proud tradition of firefighting in our communities. Visitors can also trace the history of firefighting in Nassau County with hands-on exhibits that feature antique and contemporary fire apparatus and gear. People of all ages will enjoy the interactive gallery that is as informative as it is fun… Call 911, Crawl Low in Smoke, Stop-Drop-Roll, Home Escape Planning and much more. It’s an opportunity to learn how to protect yourself, your family and their property from fires, burns and other common household hazards.

Kids will be fascinated by the display of military aircraft and equipment at the American Airpower Museum or the spectacular display of actual tanks at the Museum of American Armor in Bethpage.

The Long Island Aquarium features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, butterflies from all over the world, and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including Butterflies, Bugs & Birds, Shark Dive, Penguin Encounter, Pirate Snorkel, Shark Keeper, and more. Long Island Aquarium is open daily 10:00am to 5:00pm year-round. Add to the fun with an overnight stay at the waterfront Hyatt Place Long Island/East End located adjacent to the property.

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, without the drive, why not make a plan to get together with family and/or friends for a ‘Pool Party Weekend.’ You don’t have to go far to find a hotel with an indoor pool and restaurant where you can shut out the idea of the cold and snow and relax in comfort. Order in, watch a movie, take a swim, enjoy the hot tub.

Want to bring your pet along? The Andrew Hotel in Great Neck has a special ‘Pampered Pet Package,’ which includes luxury accommodations for you and your pet, a special welcome pet amenity, complimentary dog walks and turn-down service with treats for you and your pet.

NYS Parks Programs

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation runs children’s programs all winter. These indoor and outdoor programs include craft-making and nature education.

There are plenty of nature hikes organized by NYS Parks to keep the kids active all winter. Go along with a naturalist guide who will show you parts of our parks you might never have seen otherwise, and who will offer insight on the wildlife, trees and flora that make these parks the gems that they are.

Or you could venture out to the top of a lighthouse. Perhaps one of the most famous New York lighthouses is Montauk Point lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington in 1796. It is one of three Long Island lighthouses that permit a climb to the top of the tower, along with Fire Island Lighthouse (the tallest) and Horton Point.

Or you could take part in a guided walk or cruise to see Long Island’s winter seal population. Visitors to Long Island can experience ocean life up close through several organizations and charters offering seal watching excursions. Seal watching walks in the winter are offered at various locations, including Montauk Point State Park and Jones Beach State Park, along with educational guided tours at Cupsogue Beach by the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI).

The primary months for seal-watching are January to April. Never approach wild animals.

If you want to head out on your own quiet adventure outdoors, take a look at our full list of Hiking and Biking Trails. You can explore the rare Dwarf Pines in the Pine Barren region; set out on a bird-watching tour or discover the bluff-top hiking trails on the north end of the Greenbelt Trail system.

Sweetbriar Nature Center hosts 54 acres of beautiful hiking trails through habitats which include wetlands, fields and forests all with views of the Nissequogue River; self-guided nature trails, butterfly and moth house, unreleasable wildlife on exhibit, picnic area, gardens, and nature center. Part of the Greenbelt trail runs through the preserve. Natural science education programs are scheduled.

Explore the 588-acre Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown, with richly forested hills and valleys at the headwaters of the Nissequogue River. Explore the historic mill district featuring the 1798 “New Mill”, the 1802 Miller’s House, the c.1860 Farm Cottage, and the c.1820 Blydenburgh Farmhouse. Features bridle paths and hiking trails. Dog friendly on leash.

Or hike the 423-acre Massapequa Preserve, representing the largest single acquisition by Nassau County of a New York City watershed property. The southern section, from Merrick Road to Sunrise Highway, contains the most diverse and ecologically valuable lands. Freshwater swamps, marsh, stream, lake and sandy-bog area provide habitat for many rare and endangered Long Island plants. The longest hiking trail in Nassau County, the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, begins at Merrick Road and Ocean Avenue and continues through the length of the preserve, ending at Cold Spring Harbor.

Outdoor Ice Skating

What would winter be without ice skating. There are several indoor locations, but to truly get a feel for the season, bundle up and head out to one of Long Island’s many outdoor ice skating rinks. You can always have a nice cup of hot chocolate afterwards to warm you up.

The Town of Oyster Bay operates three ice skating rinks, conveniently located in Bethpage, Massapequa and Syosset. Massapequa’s outdoor rink is located at Marjorie R. Post Community Park, Massapequa. Syosset’s outdoor rink is located at Syosset-Woodbury Community Park, Woodbury. The Town’s new indoor rink, the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center, is located at Bethpage Community Park, Bethpage

Several of the Island’s villages and parks, including Port Jefferson Village, Greenport Village, Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, Grant Park in Hewlett, Bethpage Community Park, Marjorie Post in Massapequa Park and Syosset-Woodbury Park welcome skaters of all levels to their outdoor rinks. Indoor rinks are located at Cantiague Park in Hicksville and Freeport Recreation Center, among other public and privately operated facilities.

Cultural Events 

There are a lot of events going on at our local museums. There’s a Norman Rockwell era exhibit at the Heckscher Museum, various new exhibits at the LI Museum and a photography exhibit at the Nassau Museum of Art. Or plan an evening out at one of our local theaters and music halls.

ABOUT DISCOVER LONG ISLAND:

Discover Long Island was established under the name Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau & Sports Commission in 1979 as the official tourism promotion agency for the destination’s travel and tourism industry. The organization contributes to the economic development and quality of life on Long Island by promoting the region as a world-class destination for tourism, meetings and conventions, trade shows, sporting events and related activities. For more information, please call 631-951-3900 or visit www.discoverlongisland.com.

 

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