You don’t have to jump on a plane to make this spring break one your kids will never forget. Long Island offers plenty of fun opportunities for families to enjoy, many of which incorporate hands-on learning. Here are just a few of the many local destinations offering Long Island families entertaining options a quick car ride away.
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Travel through 100 years of aerospace at the Cradle of Aviation Museum and learn more about Long Island’s role in the development of modern aviation. Visitors to the museum can explore more than 75 air- and spacecrafts, a dozen cockpits and 30 hands-on exhibits, as well as a hot air balloon and an actual Apollo Lunar Module. The immersive JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium screens educational movies that give viewers an unparalleled look at the universe and the National Geographic Leroy R. and Rose W. Grumman Dome Theatre features a real-time digital planetarium and large-format cinema.
Special spring break activities include an Astronomy and Space Day on April 13, Hands-On Science Zone from April 11-13 and Live Astronomy Programs from April 8-18.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum is located at Charles Lindbergh Boulevard in Garden City. For more information call 516-572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org.
Thrill-seekers can spend their Spring Break at Long Island’s amusement park, open from April 8-17. Whether your youngsters want to whirl through the air on the Frisbee, fly high on the Wave Swing or take a spin on the Turbulence Coaster, there are options for everyone, regardless of height requirements. Kids (and parents) will also love the arcade games, and if you can’t win an oversized plush from there, you can always grab a souvenir at the new Midway Market.
Adventureland is located at 2245 Broad Hollow Rd. in Farmingdale. For more information call 631-694-6868 or visit www.adventureland.us.
Long Island Aquarium
Ever had the chance to meet a penguin? Or take a selfie with a sea lion? Do that and more at the Long Island Aquarium, which gives visitors a chance to not only see fish and animals, but interact with them. In addition to fish, exhibits feature alligators, marmosets, sharks, butterflies, birds and a touch tank where visitors can get a hands-on encounter with sea stars, clams, hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs. Also calling the Aquarium home are seals, sea lions and bats.
From April 10-14, the Aquarium features a Spring Fun-Cation, a week of fun and educational activities for kids including tours, string ray feedings, time at the arcade and visits to the Butterflies, Bugs and Birds exhibits. Children ages 6 to 14 can attend the whole week, or on a daily basis. Reservations are required.
The Long Island Aquarium is located at 431 E. Main St. in Riverhead. For more information call 631-208-9200 x 426 or visit www.longislandaquarium.com.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
Take a trip back in history at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. In today’s high tech digital age, the Restoration gives youngsters a look at what life used to be like in the 1800s. Not only can visitors walk through the collection of historic houses, some of which were originally built in the 1700s, but they’ll get an authentic look at history, with costumed staff members bringing to life the time period.
On April 8 and 9, visitors can learn how maple syrup is made, with tree tapping demonstrations, sap boiling and a cooking demonstration. April 8 is also the date of the Mounted Cowboy Shooting Show, featuring an exciting target shooting show on horseback. April 12-14 is Hands-On History, where attendees can learn how to churn butter, participate in military drills and play 19th-century games, among other activities.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration is located at 1303 Round Swamp Rd. in Old Bethpage. For more information call 516-572-8401 or visit www.obvrnassau.com.
Known as Roosevelt’s “Summer White House,” the 23-room estate has changed little from when it was the home of the president and his family and features much of the original furniture. Visitors to the home can see Roosevelt’s hunting trophies, books and gifts he received from foreign dignitaries, as well as the library that served as Roosevelt’s private office, the dining room, kitchen and drawing room that served as Mrs. Edith’s Roosevelt’s private space. While guided tours of the home have a fee, access to the Theodore Roosevelt Museum is free and features exhibits and films that portray the president’s political career and family life.
The grounds at Sagamore Hill are perfect for exploring. There’s plenty of open space for little ones to run around and a nature trail leads guests to a gorgeous view of Cold Spring Harbor.
Sagamore Hill is located at 20 Sagamore Hill Rd. in Oyster Bay. For more information call 516-922-4788 or visit www.nps.gov/sahi.
Long Island Puppet Theater
The Long Island Puppet Theater is at 10 Heitz Pl. in Hicksville. For more information call 516-932-5469 or visit www.lipuppet.com.