Long Island Family Fun in Winter

Where to take the kids for winter activities in Nassau and Suffolk counties

Cold Spring Harbor
Jake Pujals / EyeEm / Getty Images

Don't let the kids get cabin fever on Long Island. There is plenty to do in the winter without taking the Long Island Railway into New York City.

There are great activities like museums, holiday celebrations, and ways to get to know area wildlife. For an active day, find a skating rink or have some interactive fun at a children's museum. Your kids will love these activity ideas, all on Long Island. 

01 of 09

Ice Skating Rinks on Long Island

Kids ice skating with their dad
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It's time to take the kids whirling and twirling on the ice. Visit one of these ice skating rinks in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the whole family will enjoy this winter pastime.

There are indoor rinks like at the Port Washington Skating Arena. General skating for the public is on Saturdays and Sundays. If you are a new skater to the rink, they offer a limited number of free 15-minute introductory lessons during the Sunday sessions.

And then the seasonal outdoor rinks are fun when the weather is good. At Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, you'll find a regulation-sized rink with skating available every day except Thursdays. Skate rentals are available.

For something scenic, try The Rinx at Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson. The harbor there is scenic and the rink, located in the Harborfront park has a great view. They are open seven days a week during the season. There's plenty to do before and after you skate as the rink is located in the quaint restaurant and shopping area. They offer skate rentals and lessons. 

02 of 09

Take a Hike

Winter hiking

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If the kids are up for a long or short walk on a crisp winter's day, or for an invigorating foray through the snow, there are plenty of places in Nassau and Suffolk where you can enjoy nature during this season.

Check out one or more of the following:

  • Garvies Point Museum and Preserve offers marked trails outdoors, but if you and yours are looking for a warmer experience, just wander through the indoor museum.
  • Caleb Smith State Park Preserve is a great place for an outdoor walk, but the kids can also enjoy a free, indoor museum with exhibits of wildlife specimens.
  • The Quogue Wildlife Refuge features seven miles of nature trails, but you can also register the kids for their nature workshops, which take place indoors.
  • The Sweetbriar Nature Center sits on 54 acres of woodlands, fields and more on the Nissequogue River. Take a winter hike or sign the kids up for one of the many nature programs inside.
03 of 09

Long Island Children's Museum

Long Island Children's Museum
Courtesy of Long Island Children's Museum

Kids of all ages will enjoy this hands-on museum with its many interactive galleries and a theater that features family-friendly shows.

You can do things like making a room full of bubbles, climbing around on their accessible climbing structure and, for the little ones, hearing a story and taking home a craft.

04 of 09

Cradle of Aviation Museum

Cradle of Aviation Museum
Courtesy of Cradle of Aviation Museum

Focusing on Long Island's contributions to the history of flight, the Cradle of Aviation Museum will entertain the whole family in a warm, indoor environment.

From hot air balloons to Long Island’s first flight in 1909, to planes built by Grumman, the exhibits teach visitors about Long Island's significant role in the evolution of machines that take us up into the sky.

In addition to a world-class collection of aircraft, the museum boasts an IMAX Dome Theater which shows films daily on Long Island's only giant IMAX screen. The museum also features the Red Planet Cafe, which is a Mars-themed eatery that is open daily.

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05 of 09

Storytime for Kids

Book Revue

Book Revue

Need a cure for cabin fever? Then take the kids to Book Revue in Huntington, New York. Book Revue is Long Island's largest independent bookstore selling new, used, and discounted books.

Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., you can bring your young ones for a free story time and craft event, no registration required. 

Barnes and Noble stores throughout Nassau and Suffolk offer FREE programs for kids. To find a store near you and to see the latest listings of events, go to barnesandnoble.com.

06 of 09

Christmas Tree and Menorah Lightings on Long Island

Lighting menorah
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From holiday festivals that include a visit from Santa Claus, to the glittering lights of a lovely menorah, wintertime brings Christmas tree and menorah lightings that will delight kids of all ages.

The town of Sayville marks the beginning of the holiday season with a parade, Winter Wonderland in celebration of Small Business Saturday, a tree lighting, live reindeer and a visit from Santa.

Back for its 32nd year, the Orient Beach State Park Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature a holiday performance by the local elementary school while Santa lights the holiday tree and cookies are enjoyed. 

07 of 09

Seal Cruises

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Take a cruise to learn about the wildlife that swims in the waters surrounding Long Island. The cruises sail throughout the winter. Bundle up and view seals and more from the deck, or stay in the warm cabin and watch the wildlife through a window. Captain Lou's Seal Watching tours go out in the winter/spring. Make your reservation in advance. 

08 of 09

Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

 Cynthia Grimm/Wikipedia

Need a place to take the kids, but you're not up for a walk in the cold? The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum chronicles the story of the town's history as a whaling port.

It's a small museum with some fun children's activities scheduled throughout the year. 

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09 of 09

Long Island Aquarium

Long Island Aquarium

Long Island Aquarium

The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center has live marine animals, including their ever-popular shark tank. (In the summer, you can see the outdoor exhibits.)

During the winter, there's often a Breakfast with Santa event, as well as some family sleepovers.

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