Indoor Activities for Children on Long Island, NY

Here's where to take the kids when it's cold or raining.

There are so many wonderful outdoor places to take the whole family on Long Island, New York. But when the weather gets cold, or if it rains or snows, our options may seem limited. However, there are plenty of great things to do with the kids when we can't take them to a park, pool or playground. Here are some good options for indoor fun in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

(Note: you might also be interested in reading Free Things To Do With Your Kids on Long Island. Some of these are indoors.)

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    Free Kids' Workshops at Home Depot Stores

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    The first Saturday of each month, Home Depot Stores offer hour-long workshops for kids, and they're hands-on. And the very best part is that they're free. Kids learn how to build a variety of projects, such as a window birdhouse, a firetruck, a tool box and the like.

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    This museum celebrates Long Island's former whaling history and features interactive exhibits as well as a historic whaleboat and many samples of authentic scrimshaw (artistically carved whalebones or teeth) and a model of historic Cold Spring Harbor. There are also regularly scheduled children's programs.

    The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
    301 Main Street
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    (631) 367-3418

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    With a wealth of exhibits on several floors, this excellent museum sprawls for 40,000 square feet and offers interactive, hands-on exhibits that will keep the kids happy even if it's raining or snowing outside.

    There's a theater that features regularly scheduled performances, and you can reserve a space for your children's birthday parties. There are even regularly scheduled museum sleepovers.​

    The Long Island Children's Museum

    11 Davis Avenue
    Garden City, NY
    (516) 224-5800

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    This excellent museum chronicles the history of flight, and it celebrates Long Island's many contributions to this field. With a fantastic collection of aircraft, the museum also features an IMAX Dome Theater with daily films on a giant screen. There's even a display of a Grumman Lunar Module that was built right here on Long Island, in Bethpage, in 1972. 

    Cradle of Aviation Museum on Museum Row
    Charles LIndbergh Boulevard
    East Garden City, NY
    (516) 572-4111

     

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  • 05 of 12

    Garvies Point Museum and Preserve (Glen Cove)

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    This museum in Glen Cove focuses on the daily life of the Native Americans who once lived in this area as we as its geology. There are lots of interactive exhibits and dioramas to show how Long Island was formed, plus samples of local rocks and minerals.

    When the weather is better, take the kids outside to the trails in the preserve that's just behind the museum.

    Garvies Point Museum
    50 Barry Drive
    Glen Cove, NY
    (516) 571-8010/11

     

  • 06 of 12

    Book Revue (Huntington)

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     With a wealth of books for children and adults in its 17,500 square feet of space, this wonderful bookstore offers a weekly toddler time every Tuesday at 11 a.m. It's free and the kids will listen to stories, sing, and dance, and create crafts. You don't even have to register for these events.

    Book Revue
    313 New York Avenue
    Huntington, NY
    (631) 271-1442

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    Jon Hicks/Getty Images

    This tiny museum sits inside a small house but has lots of larger-than-life exhibits like the guitar played in the wedding scene of The Godfather. You'll also see one of Les Paul's original Gibson guitars on display here. And if you or yours are budding musicians, sign up for guitar lessons.

    The American Guitar Museum
    1810 New Hyde Park Road
    New Hyde Park, NY
    (516) 488-5000

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    Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
    Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

    Browse through the many kids' books and books for adults and then have a bit to eat at the Dolphin Cafe. Check their website for regularly scheduled programs for children (and adults.) There are also musical events that are scheduled throughout the year.

    Dolphin Bookshop & Cafe
    299 Main Street
    Port Washington, NY
    (516) 767-2650 

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  • 09 of 12
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    Formerly called Atlantis Marine World, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center is open daily, year-round and it's a great place to spend time getting to know living sea creatures. There is both indoor and outdoor exhibits, so cold or inclement weather shouldn't stop you and yours from enjoying the many wonderful things to see here. 

    The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
    431 East Main Street
    Riverhead, NY
    (631) 208-9200

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    Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
    Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

    WIthin Caleb Smith State Park Preserve's main building, there's a small, free nature museum that features exhibits of native wildlife specimens. The preserve also has regularly scheduled nature programs for kids throughout the year.

    Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
    581 West Jericho Turnpike
    Smithtown, NY
    (631) 265-1054

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    In addition to all the wonderful plants that are sold at Hicks Nurseries, there are often FREE kids' programs that are offered throughout the year. There are even live reindeer, a visit from Santa and an animated holiday show at Christmastime, and an annual fall festival brings the adventures of Otto the Ghost. Check out their website for ​events. Note: there are also events for adults throughout the year.

    Hicks Nurseries
    100 Jericho Turnpike
    Westbury, NY
    (516) 334-0066 

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    Images By Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

    Take the kids out for lunch or dinner. And don't forget that you can keep costs down by going to Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free on Long Island