Family Fun Guide - Summer 2021

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Summer 2021

E D UI G n u F y l i Fam our Fam Y r o f s ie it iv t c A Great Summer


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Summer 2021 | •

Family Fun Guide



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editors’ note

Time for Family Fun!


Ahh, summer...truly our favorite time of year. After all, it’s the season of family vacations, beach days, and no homework! And after the last year and a half, we know you’re ready to get out and have fun with your kids. So, in an effort to help you find all the family fun you’re craving, we’re proud to present the first issue of the Family Fun Guide! It’s full of fairs and festivals, travel advice, and fun activities for your family—think: local attractions, day drip destinations, amusement and water parks, and more! Here’s to a happy summer full of fun adventures with your kids! Katelin Walling Jeannine Cintron Editorial Director, NYMetroParents Editor, Staten Island Parent Helping Parents Make Better Decisions @NYMetroParents @nymetroparents



The Scoop @siparent


The Scoop

afe Summer Travel S This year’s rules and regulations for your summer vacation. 14 Summer Fairs, Festivals, & Carnivals Celebrate the season by attending one of these fairs or festivals in the tri-state area 27 Selfie Scavenger Hunt! Take the average scavenger hunt up notch by making it photocentric. 34 Road Trip Entertainment Great ways to keep kids from constantly asking, “are we there yet?” 40 Apps & Sites to Simplify Travel These 7 apps and websites will help you plan an awesome vacation! 44 Family Fun After Dark Everyone can enjoy these activities when the sun goes down. 48 Fun Places to Go 52 Advertisers’ Index 8

Summer 2021 | •







Family Fun Guide


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Safe Summer Travel This year’s rules and regulations for your summer vacation By Zlata Faerman


ast summer COVID-19 restrictions halted many families’ travel plans. Instead of a vacation, many families opted for a staycation, enjoying their backyard or local park more than ever. This year, however, promises to be different. Not only are Americans traveling, they are traveling more than they did 2 years ago. Travelers are staying over longer— booking 8 or more nights while the 2019 average was 6, according to CheapCaribbean’s data. The demand for VRBO vacation homes increased more than 20 percent on Memorial Day Weekend 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. But what does travel for families look like this summer?

Is vaccination required to travel? This year, more than 130 million people in the U.S. will be fully vaccinated and ready to get back to normal summer travel. But is proof of a vaccination enough? Do you also need a negative COVID test? “If you are fully vaccinated, you don’t need a test before or after domestic travel unless required by local, state, or territorial healthy authorities,” according to Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Medicine and associate dean for Public Health and Healthy Policy at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. The same goes for self-quarantining upon return. If you’re headed outside the U.S., it’s best to research the current travel rules for your destination. “Traveling outside the United States is where it gets more complicated,” Dr. Carney says. The U.S. State Department has a helpful website 8

Summer 2021 | •

( for travelers to search for specific information about their destination.

Can unvaccinated children travel? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all children receive the vaccine before traveling. (While kids have accounted for approximately 12 percent of all positive cases, they can still become infected with COVID-19 and transmit it to others.) Parents of unvaccinated kids who choose to travel will have to check their destination’s regulations before planning their trip. Different countries have different rules for entry—some will accept unvaccinated kids while others won’t. Same goes for cruises. For example, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity said adult passengers would need to be fully vaccinated to sail but children younger than 18 could sail with proof of a negative COVID test instead of proof of vaccination. There is no current vaccine requirement to travel back to the U.S. but all passengers ages 2 and older will still need to provide a negative test result before boarding—even if they have been vaccinated.

What is the safest way to travel? “Traveling by car with people who know they’re negative is likely the least risky because you’re mitigating the known status of strangers,” says Gerald Commissiong, CEO of Todos Medical, Ltd. And while planes have significant ventilation, “the process of getting on the plane carries similar risks to trains, since you’re in areas with strangers of unknown COVID status,” Commissiong says, adding that trains are likely the riskiest location for COVID spread because ventilation systems are not as robust as they are on planes. Family Fun Guide


If you are flying, the U.S. Department of Transportation has an easy-to-follow guide ( about travel and what you can expect at the airport. Note: Passport renewals are extremely delayed right now (10-12 weeks versus the typical 4-6) and it’s likely to get worse as travel increases and borders continue to reopen.

What safety precautions do you still need to take? Families traveling with unvaccinated kids should take all safety precautions, which means masks and social distancing. Current public health recommendations suggest that even fully vaccinated travelers wear masks, avoid crowds, use good hand hygiene, and stay aware of new illness symptoms. “As of today,” Dr. Carney says, “masks are still required on public transportation, including planes, trains, ships, subways, taxis, and busses, and in airports and train stations.” Travelers should consider comfortable and breathable mask brands like Primal Wear, INEX Gear, Co.Protect, and HALOLIFE. Primal Wear just launched a 3.0 Collection that features a removable flexible frame to hold the mask off your face, keeping you comfortable, safe, and allowing room to breathe during lengthy travel times. With all the safety precautions, it won’t be travel like we’ve always known it—but unlike last year, it’s possible to take the family on a faraway and memorable vacation. Zlata Faerman is a full-time publicist, part-time writer, and round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions for her food blog @lifeandthymez, she can be found spending time with her family, having @zlatathoughts, and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of New Jersey. 10

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Go od st y l e is always in fa shion. Outdoor shopping. F r ee pa r king.

CRO-21131 A1 updated Spring Ad.indd 1

5/21/21 12:26 11PM Family Fun Guide




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Fairs, Festivals, & Carnivals

Celebrate the season by attending one of these fairs or festivals in the tri-state area By Shara Levine

Palisades Center Carnival

WHEN: Through June 6: Thursday-Friday, 5-10pm; Saturday-Sunday,

12-10pm WHERE: Palisades Center, 1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack WHat: Families are welcome to join in on the fun with rides, game

booths, and your favorite food vendors! Tickets and wristbands are available for purchase at the carnival. WANT TO GO? $30 individual bracelets; $2 individual ride tickets; $40 for 22 tickets; $75 for 45 tickets.

2021 SI Mall Carnival

WHEN: Through June 13: Monday-Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-11pm WHERE: Staten Island Mall, 2655 Richmond Ave., Staten Island WHat: The SI Mall Carnival is back with some of your favorite rides, and some new

ones that will become your favorite! Play games, have fun, and get your fill of delicious carnival treats! WANT TO GO? $5; free for children younger than 10 when accompanied by paying adults Monday-Friday. $30 per ride wristband. Discounts available when purchasing multiple single day wristbands.

Strawberry Festival 2021

WHEN: Through June 27: daily, 9am-6pm WHERE: Garden of Eve, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead WHat: Visit the only certified organic U-pick strawberry field on Long Island!

Admission includes unlimited access to U-pick organic Strawberry Field, Family Fun Fields, pedal karts, hay tower, farm animals, spider web, and more. WANT TO GO? $9.95; free for children younger than 2. Fee does not include cost of berries. 14

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The L.E.A.D. Fest Carnival

WHEN: Through June 20: Wednesday-Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-11pm WHERE: Westfield Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ WHat: Bring the family out to this carnival with spectacular rides, tons of food, games, and more! WANT TO GO? $40 Megapass; individual ride tickets available as well.

12th annual NYC Multicultural Festival Part II

WHEN: Saturday, June 5, 12-6pm WHERE: Jackie Robinson Park: The Bandshell, 85 Bradhurst Ave. and West 148th Street, Harlem,

Manhattan WHat: Experience an explosion of cultural music, dance costumes, and art from Ireland, China,

Nigeria, Ghana, Italy, Dominican Republic, Spain, and more. This year’s theme is Culture and Diversity Unite Communities. Activities include live music and dance performances, food and merchandise from international vendors, art making activities, free giveaways, and more. WANT TO GO? Admission is free with advanced registration.

White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival

WHEN: June 5-6, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm WHERE: Tibbits Park, North Broadway at Main Street, White Plains WHat: Paintings, photography, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, textiles, and more are all on display and

available for purchase. The event also features emerging artists, the artwork of scholarship winners, a free children’s art workshop, and unique food vendors. WANT TO GO? Free admission.

Apple Blossom Carnival

June 5-13, Friday, 5:30-8:30pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-6pm WHERE: Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, Queens WHat: Celebrate the season with assorted carnival rides, hayrides, midway games, local food vendors, and a visit with farm animals! WANT TO GO? $21.95; free for children younger than 2. Timed ticket entry to carnival ride area; advance tickets recommended. WHEN:

Fairy House Festival

WHEN: Saturday, June 12, 12-4pm WHERE: Artpark, 450 S. 4th St., Lewiston WHat: Now in its 11th year, Artpark Fairy House Festival is an international,

interdisciplinary, and immersive performing arts festival with European street theater groups, modern dance, interactive performances by local actors, and music presented in the park overlooking the stunning Niagara Gorge. WANT TO GO? $10. Continued on page 18 >

Family Fun Guide 15


ADVENTURE? Bring the entire family to experience aerial adventure courses, freefall jumps, and our amazing 700ft zipline across beautiful Jones Beach!

Located at Jones Beach State Park between Fields 4 & 5 16

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OVER TWO DECADES OF MAKING FARM DREAMS COME TRUE! Step back to a time when life moved according to the rhythms of the natural world!


· Country Hospitality · Bottle & Hand Feed Farm Animals · Milk the Cows · Gather Eggs · Cuddle Kittens · Private Guest Houses · Campfires with S’mores · Hayrides & Fishing · Create Timeless Memories

Nearby Attractions: Zoom Flume Water Park · Howe Caverns · Horseback Riding

Hull-O Farms | Durham NY | 518-239-6950 | Only 2 1⁄2 hours north of NYC Family Fun Guide 17

Fairs, Festivals, & Carnivals Cont’d FREE Queens International Children’s Festival

WHEN: June 12-13, Saturday-Sunday, 12-5pm WHERE: Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica, Queens WHat: This fun-filled family event brings high-quality arts performances and craft activities to inspire

young people and families to enjoy the arts. Activities include live music and dance performances, a magic show, and a socially distanced dance party. WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.

66th Annual Mattituck Lions Strawberry Festival

WHEN: June 16-20, Wednesday-Thursday, 5-10pm; Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday,

11am-5pm WHERE: Fairgrounds, 1175 Route 48, Mattituck WHat: There’s some much to do at the 66th Annual Strawberry Festival. Make a day or evening of it.

Whether you choose some farm fresh strawberry delicacies, take a ride on a super roller coaster, shop amongst the arts and crafts, listen to some great music, or watch many of the great attractions with the kids. WANT TO GO? $5-$10; $25-$50 Pay-One-Price Bracelet; Dads enter and ride free on Father’s Day with paid child’s admission.

Newburgh Mall Carnival

WHEN: June 17-27, Monday-Tuesday and Thursday, 5-10pm; Friday,

5-11pm; Saturday, 12-11pm; Sunday, 12-10pm WHERE: Newburgh Mall, 1401 Route 300, Newburgh WHat: Spend the day at the carnival and take a spin on the new Bertazzon Himalaya and the Jumbos Rides! WANT TO GO? Admission is free. $1.50 for single tickets, $30 for 20 tickets; $60 for 50 tickets. $35 Unlimited Ride Wristbands for persons 36” and over.

State Fair Meadowlands

WHEN: June 18-July 11, Monday-Thursday, 5pm-12am; Friday, 3pm-1am (June 18, 5pm-1am); Saturday, 2pm-1am; Sunday, 2pm-12am (July 4, 2pm-1am) WHERE: MetLife Stadium, 1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, NJ WHat: Spread over 35 acres, the fair is a fun-packed event. This year’s fair features a robust entertainment lineup, including the Jurassic Kingdom and Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean, Cycle Circus Live, Master Hypnotist Steve Bayner, Magician Jay Mattioli, and Racing Pigs. Don’t forget the spectacular fireworks July 3-4. WANT TO GO? $34.95; free for children shorter than 36 inches. $15.95 Fast Pass Upgrade available at the fairgrounds. 18

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FREE 16th Annual NYC Kidsfest

WHEN: June 19-20, 2-6pm WHERE: Morningside Avenue, between West 115 and 116 streets, Morningside Heights, Manhattan WHat: This creative initiative brings the performing arts to open street spaces. Headliners include

Grammy Award-nominated artist SaulPaul, Fyütch, and Flor Bromley. Plus, kids can enjoy a Kung Fu demo and workshop, Chinese dance and hip-hop workshops, Hour Children Kids Harlem School of the Arts’ Violin Madness Music Presentation, and more! WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.

The Rhinebeck Crafts Festival

WHEN: June 26-27, Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm WHERE: Dutchess County Fairgrounds, 6636 Spring Brook Ave.

(Route 9), Rhinebeck WHat: This curated event features contemporary fine craft and art from more than 200 American makers. Find original fashions, accessories and jewelry; functional and sculptural works; and fine art. Enjoy gourmet foods and tastings from local distilleries and wineries. Plus, there’s an interactive puppet theater, face painting, stilt walkers, and more for the kids to enjoy. WANT TO GO? $10; $9 seniors ages 62 and older; $4 ages 6-16; free for children younger than 6.

2021 Empire State Fair

WHEN: July 1-11, Monday-Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-11pm WHERE: NYCB LIVE, Home of The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike,

Uniondale WHat: This fair features new acts including the Royal Hanneford Big Top Circus, The Incredible Dock Dogs Show, an educational experience at the Exotic Animal Zoo, and new rides and attractions! Dreamland Amusements will provide a midway featuring rides and attractions never before seen at the Empire State Fair! WANT TO GO? Admission prices were not available at time of press. $30 unlimited ride wristband for those taller than 36 inches; $1.50 single ticket, $30 for 20 tickets; $60 for 50 tickets.

Orange County Fair

WHEN: July 15-Aug. 1, Thursday-Friday, 4-11pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-11pm WHERE: Orange County Fair Speedway, 239 Wisner Ave., Middletown WHat: Whether you go to see one of the grandstand shows (almost all now have some free seating

with fair admission), taste some of the delicious fair food, or take a spin on one of the new rides, you’ll create family memories that will last a lifetime. WANT TO GO? Admission: $10; $7 seniors ages 65 and older and children ages 7-12; free for children ages 6 and younger. $25 unlimited ride wristband for those taller than 36 inches; $1.50 single ticket, $30 for 20 tickets; $60 for 50 tickets.

Continued on page 22 >

Family Fun Guide 19


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Family Fun Guide 21

Fairs, Festivals, & Carnivals Cont’d NJ Lottery Festival of Ballooning

July 23-25, Friday, 1-10pm; Saturday, 6am-10pm; Sunday, 6am-8pm WHERE: Solberg Airport, 39 Thor-Solberg Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ WHat: This is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. From twice daily mass ascensions of up to 100 special shape and sport hot air balloons, to concerts, non-stop family entertainment, hundreds of crafters and vendors, great food, fireworks, and more, the festival is jam-packed with stuff to do. Laurie Berkner will perform at 1:30pm on the festival’s opening day. WANT TO GO? General admission (includes lawn seating for concerts): $26; $10 children ages 4-12; free for children ages 3 and younger. WHEN:

Jurassic Quest Drive Thru Summer Tour

WHEN: July 30-Aug. 8, Wednesday, 1-8pm; Thursday-Friday and

Sunday, 9am-8pm; Saturday, 9am-9pm WHERE: Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium, 615 Silver

Lane, East Hartford, CT more than 70 dinosaurs in person! Jurassic Quest’s herd—from the largest predators to playful baby dinos—is displayed in realistic scenes that allow guests to experience them roaring and moving. Make epic family memories including a choose-your-own-audio-adventure tour, a visit with baby dinos and trainers, and a digital souvenir photo. WANT TO GO? $49; $80 for passenger vehicles seating 9-15 people. Police, military, medical personnel, and first responders save 10 percent (must show valid ID). Tickets must be purchased in advance. WHat: See

FREE Mercer County 4‑H Fair

WHEN: July 31-Aug. 1, Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 10am-4pm WHERE: Howell Living History Farm, 70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville, NJ WHat: Visit the Howell Living History Farm for a truly enjoyable day!

The fair includes animal shows and exhibits, homemade ice cream, hayrides, pony rides, music, magic shows, and farm tours! WANT TO GO? Please bring a non-perishable food donation for Rutgers Against Hunger. 22

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83rd Annual Warren County Farmers’ Fair

WHEN: July 31-Aug. 7, Monday-Friday, 3-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-10pm WHERE: Warren County Farmers, 1350 Strykers Road, Phillipsburg, NJ WHat: Enjoy balloon launches, balloon rides, and tethered rides. Savor the bounty of Warren

County’s agricultural community. Be sure to check out the Kids Rodeo Roundup on Friday. Shows, crafts, educational presenters, daily contests, and clowning with Merriloons. WANT TO GO? Admission: $9; $5 ages 6-12; free for ages children 5 and younger. Ride bracelet prices and individual ticket prices were not available at time of press. Tickets for shows will be available for purchase the week of the fair.

Middlesex County Fair

WHEN: Aug. 2-8, Monday-Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-10pm WHERE: Middlesex County Fairgrounds, 655 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ WHat: Browse a selection of homemade goods. Hop on one of the rides. Indulge in some traditional

fair food and entertainment. And explore the agricultural heritage of Middlesex County. WANT TO GO? Admission: $10; $4 seniors ages 65 and older and children ages 3-12; free for children

ages 2 and younger. $25 ride bracelet. $45 Mega Bracelet Multi-Day Pass. $1 single tickets; $20 for 24 tickets; $50 for 64 tickets.

61st Annual Lebanon Country Fair

WHEN: Aug. 6-8, Friday, 5-10pm; Saturday, 8:30am-11pm; Sunday, 9am-6pm WHERE: Lebanon Fairgrounds, 122 Mack Road, Lebanon, CT WHat: The Lebanon Country Fair offers entertainment on the center stage, food, games, and more! WANT TO GO? Admission: $10-$11; $9 seniors; free for children ages 11 and younger and active,

retired or disabled military with ID.

New Jersey State Fair Sussex County Farm & Horse Show

WHEN: Aug. 7-14, daily, 10am-10pm; carnival rides open at 12pm WHERE: Sussex County Fairgrounds, 37 Plains Road, Augusta, NJ WHat: Make it a day of carnival rides, live entertainment, animals, carnival treats, and more! WANT TO GO? $14; $10 seniors 60 and older; $6 children ages 6-12. See website for various

promotions, pay-one-price, and mega pass options.

Wolcott Country Fair

WHEN: Aug. 20-22, Friday, 4-11pm; Saturday, 10am-11pm; Sunday, 10am-9pm WHERE: Wolcott Country Fairgrounds, 245 Wolcott Road, Wolcott, CT WHat: There is so much to do, including kiddy rides, thrill rides, and games of chance! Enjoy a variety

of delicious food and catch some of the many bands playing country, oldies, and pop. WANT TO GO? Admission: $10; $8 seniors ages 65 and older; free for children ages 10 and younger and current active duty, reserve, and National Guard Service members (must have a valid military CAC ID). $25 carnival ride wristband Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. Family Fun Guide 23

Fairs, Festivals, & Carnivals Cont’d The Great New York State Fair

WHEN: Aug. 20-Sept. 6, Monday-Thursday, 10am-11pm; Friday-Sunday, 10am-12am; Sept. 6, 10am-

9pm (closing time subject to change without notice) WHERE: New York State Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse WHat: This one-of-a-kind fair will feature New York’s best food and

drink, live music and entertainment, rides, and games. Daily concerts include REO Speedwagon, Dropkick Murphys, Foreigner, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Farm animals will be on display to introduce the young and young-at-heart to New York’s agriculture. WANT TO GO? $3; free for children 12 and younger. Tickets must be purchased online. Midway Ride Ticket prices were not available at time of press.

The 175th Dutchess Fair

WHEN: Aug. 24-19, daily, 10am-10pm; rides close at 11pm on Saturday WHERE: Dutchess County Fairgrounds, 6636 Route 9, Rhinebeck WHat: The Dutchess Fair is back with fairgoer favorites, including the midway, fun fair food, animals,

and free entertainment! WANT TO GO? Admission prices were not available at time of press. Continued on page 26 >

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Summer 2021 | •


WHALE WATCHING CRUISES Humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles and more!

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SANDY HOOK BEACH FROM NYC Spend a day at the beautiful Jersey Shore. Swim, sunbathe, bike, explore, and relax! The beach is just a 45 minute ride away!

THE SANDBOX AT SEASTREAK BEACH Unwind at our casual beach bar. Views of Sandy Hook and the NYC skyline. Food trucks and live music all summer long!

Open Tuesdays – Sundays For more info: or call (800) BOAT RIDE Departing from: 325 Shore Dr. Highlands, NJ

Family Fun Guide 25

Fairs, Festivals, & Carnivals Cont’d 2021 4-H & Agricultural Fair

WHEN: Aug. 25-29, Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-10pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm WHERE: Hunterdon County Fairgrounds, 1207 Route 179, Lambertville, NJ WHat: Animals, great food, amazing entertainment, rides, and a variety of displays

make for great family fun! WANT TO GO? Admission is free; $17-$25 ride wrist bands.

Brooklyn Fair 2021

WHEN: Aug. 26-29, Thursday, 4-11pm; Friday, 10am-11pm; Saturday, 9am-11pm; Sunday, 9am-6pm WHERE: Brooklyn Fairgrounds, 15 Fairgrounds Road, Brooklyn, CT WHat: Catch one of New England’s best agricultural fairs! It’s family-oriented and features food, music, agricultural displays, amusement rides, and more! WANT TO GO? Admission: $10; $8 seniors ages 65 and older and military members with ID; free for children ages 12 and younger. $30 ride bracelets: Thursday, 4-11pm; Friday, 12-5pm; Sunday, 126pm. Regular ride tickets must be used all other times.



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Selfie Scavenger Hunt!

Take the average scavenger hunt up notch by making it photocentric. By Stacey Feintuch


ost kids love to take pictures with their smartphone or iPad. So, if you’re looking for something different to do with your family, consider a family selfie scavenger hunt! It will get them excited, outside, and keep them busy for a while. It’ll keep kids thinking all while making some fun memories. Plus, it’s suitable for kids and adults alike. Photo scavenger hunts can be done anywhere—at home, around your neighborhood, or during one of your summer outings. They’re fun, easy, and affordable too. Here are some ideas to get you started. (And make sure to tag @NYMetroParents or @SIParent when you post on Instagram—we love seeing your pics!) Continued on page 32 > Family Fun Guide 27


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Family Fun Guide 29

Play Big Zone offers a variety of unique experiences & entertainment that the entire family will enjoy! Join us for a Celebration or Open Play where everyone can PLAY BIG with fun, well-organized activities & amazing games to win big prizes. Call now to customize your Play Big Zone experience today!

Book your next play day or birthday party today!

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Summer 2021 | •


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Richmond County Sailing School Great Kills Harbor Staten Island, NY 718-984-0632 Family Fun Guide 31

Selfie Scavenger Hunt! Take a selfie of your family… Exploring a historical location. Do this by foot, bike, scooter, car, or any other method. Standing next to a statue. You can even copy the pose or “interact” with the statue to take things up a notch. Kneeling beside a sandcastle your kids built. Two extra points if you then photograph yourself buried in the sand. Licking ice cream cones. Wearing swim googles in a pool. If you have an underwater camera, take a picture beneath the water’s surface. Cheering on the Yankees or Mets. Snap a pic of yourself doing the wave. With Lady Liberty, aka the Statue of Liberty, in the background. You can even pose like her, too. Taking in the view at the top of the Empire State Building. See what buildings you can spot. Waiting at an underground subway station. Hopefully, you won’t see any rats. Eating a rainbow bagel. Decide if it tastes the same or different than a plain one. Walking the High Line. Snap photos along the way or one at the beginning and another at the end. Visiting animals at a zoo. Photograph yourself beside your favorite exhibit. At the top of a mountain. The view from above will be worth the effort of the hike—guaranteed! Frolicking in a garden full of flowers. See what floral varieties you can spot.


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Reveling in the experience of the Top of the Rock. Maybe you’ll even see Al Roker down below. Donning sunglasses on a cloudy day. You really can wear shades whenever you want. Walking through Times Square. Take in the bright lights. Enjoying a boat ride. Canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats count, too! Driving across the George Washington Bridge. Decide if you want to travel via the upper or lower level. Traveling in a car through the Lincoln Tunnel. Time how long it takes you to get through. Riding a double-decker bus. Sit on the top level and feel the breeze in your hair. At your favorite amusement park. Bonus points if it’s just after riding a roller coaster! Climbing a tree in your yard. Just don’t get stuck up there. Skipping rocks in a stream. Count how many times your rock jumps. Enjoying a picnic. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Munching on a large slice of pizza. The bigger the slice, the better. With your favorite artwork at a museum. After all, sometimes you just need a day in the AC. Painting a rock. Then plant it where someone else can find it. Sprawling on a grassy lawn. Count how many clouds you see in the sky. Hugging your kids. You can never do that enough times! Stacey Feintuch is a freelance writer who currently lives in Bergen County, NJ. A mom to two boys, you’ll find her at the baseball diamond on the weekends.

Family Fun Guide 33

Road Trip Entertainment Great ways to keep kids from constantly asking, “are we there yet?” By Zlata Faerman


iven the last year and a half, many families are opting for a road-trip vacation over a jet-setting one. Vaccinated or not, to many, traveling with a family pod inside of a car still feels more comfortable than getting on a plane. What’s not comfortable, however, is the number of times parents can expect their children to ask, “are we there yet?” during the course of the ride. Kids get bored easily, and while the simple solution is to turn on a movie or give them an iPad, there are still plenty of ways to keep the ride screen-free and fun. The household gems of I Spy and the License Plate game (find all 50!) are the nostalgic car games to pass down to your kids. But it’s 2021, so here’s our roundup of new and improved screen-free activities your kids can do in the car. Continued on page 36 >


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For the Story Lovers If you want to “change the tune” on your stereo, consider checking out the Story Pirates Podcast. The award-winning show features songs and sketches based on stories that were written by kids. Special guest talent includes Julie Andrews, Kristen Bell, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and David Schwimmer. Even when you’re at home and want the kids to have less screen time, you’re probably hoping they make time to read. Well, sitting in a car on your road trip is the perfect opportunity for just that (so long as carsickness isn’t an issue!). Whether it’s books they’re interested in or magazines that teach them something, reading is the perfect way to pass the time. Check out It’s A Numbers Game! Baseball ($14.99) or Girls Can! ($14.99)—and the National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas can be a great book to always keep handy in the car ($9.99-$19.90).

Calling All DIY-ers! The Vacation Activity Kit ($14.99) by Kid Made Modern offers an interactive way for kids to document your trip. It comes complete with a guided book with prompts for drawings and activities for the young explorers. A passport booklet tracks the family’s travels, making your trip one that they’ll never forget. Kid Made Modern also has a ton of crafts to choose from, like the On-The-Go Friendship Bracelet Kit ($10.99). The set includes 8 embroidery threads, 100 alphabet beads, 50 pony beads, and 2 best friend charms—all organized in a cute carrying case. Continued on page 38 >


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Find a Nanny, Place a Nanny New York’s most reliable Nanny Boards — restricted to parents’ posts

MOMMYBITES.COM/NANNIES Mommybites is a community that connects expectant, new, and young moms to resources, education, expert parenting tips, fun family activities, job opportunities, childcare, and each other.

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Aunt Goodie is a new brand on the block and it’s definitely making waves! Its creativity-fueled activities are great for your own family, or to gift to another. For your road trip, check out the Backseat Bundle ($31.99), which comes with five assorted activity books, fabric markers, and a cotton canvas tote that kids can decorate. Aunt Goodie offers a Big Kid Bundle and a Little Kid Bundle, each curated with age-appropriate activities. She thinks of everything!

Educational & Fun A variety of on-hand board games can do the trick. The brand HABA has a lot of travel-friendly options, but we particularly love the Town Maze Magnetic Game ($22.99). Best for your younger ones, the magnetic board game features color balls that need to be “brought home” to their matching garage. Plus, it’s great for developing motor skills! Think Tank Scholar makes flash cards that are educational and fun (nope, that’s not an oxymoron!). They’re a great accompaniment when traveling with young ones and keep them occupied with something that nourishes their brain. Bonus: The math flash cards (covering multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction) come in a pocket-size bundle ($44.99) so they’re easier to travel with. Want to get to know your kids a little better? We love Aunt Goodie’s Let’s Talk ($9.99)! It’s a game of cards with thought-provoking questions on them—like if you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy?—to encourage conversation as a family. Zlata Faerman is a full-time publicist, part-time writer, and round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions for her food blog @lifeandthymez, she can be found spending time with her family, having @zlatathoughts, and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of New Jersey.


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Get Schooled

thIS SUMMER! Visit our website for daily schedules, educational experiences & upcoming events for adults and kids!

431 E. Main St., Riverhead • 631.208.9200, ext. 426 Aquarium Get Schooled Family Fun Guide 7.3x4.7 May 2021.indd 1

5/26/21 4:47 PM

Climbing, a sport the whole family can enjoy!

Meet the Ludwig Family, three generations of climbers who enjoy both indoor and outdoor climbing. Click here to watch their story! New Rochelle, NY / 914-633-7625 /

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Apps & Sites to Simplify Travel These 7 apps and websites will help you plan an awesome vacation! By Zlata Faerman


ow that states and countries are opening up, people feel more comfortable with the thought of traveling. And who can blame them? After being quarantined and hibernating for the better part of a year and a half, families want to get back to a sense of normalcy, especially for the sake of their children. Traveling fits right into the bucket of “normal,” especially with the summer coming up.


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Planning a trip can be a very tedious process. It was hard enough before, but now with the added layer of guidelines and restrictions due to COVID, nearly every step needs to be thought out. Thankfully, there are a slew of website and app solutions that can help guide you. Here are our faves!

Una Una is an experiential travel app that simplifies the planning process with a curated selection of places to stay, where to eat, and things to do—all based on the family dynamic. Think of it like a digital travel agent that knows you best. With Una, you can save time and hassle. The app provides suggestions based on your likes, budget, dream destinations, and more. (Free; Apple and Google Play)

Hoptale This app will help you remember your adventures for many years to come. The digital scrapbook helps document your family trip and works to organize photos and save the trip itinerary as a keepsake reminder. (No need to scroll through thousands of photos to find the vacation shots from 3 years ago anymore!) Bonus: You can easily share with family and friends. (Free; Apple)

ItsEasy Passport Renew & Photo The ItsEasy app lets you renew your passport (photos and all!) right from the comfort of your own home. Since passport renewals can be a pretty tedious and lengthy process, let this app do all the work for you, sooner rather than later. Now if only there was such an app for the DMV… (Free; Apple and Google Play) If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of lugging your suitcases with you on your journey, consider checking out LugLess. This luggage shipping service lets you ship your bags in advance of a trip and ends up costing about the same as checking a bag or even less. The biggest benefit is bypassing baggage claim and check-in lines altogether, which is especially great when you’re traveling with kids.

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Gowhee The Gowhee app was made for parents, by parents. It’s meant to provide information on unique places for parents to travel safely and with ease. Find and share kid-friendly locations and things to do no matter where you are in the world. The community of like-minded parents share authentic reviews about their experiences, offering you a peace of mind as you plan your own family’s trip. (Free; Apple and Google Play) With TripScout, you don’t have to stress about missing out on the best places your destination has to offer. Simply enter your trip details and the app creates a guidebook offering articles about where to stay and what to do. Save your favorite spots and boom, an itinerary is created for you.

Mamava If you’re a nursing mom, planning feedings can be a daunting task. With the Mamava app, you can find all the best places to pump or nurse in peace wherever you go. With more than 5,000 private lactation spots around the country, the app also helps you find and unlock dedicated Mamava pods. (Free; Apple and Google Play) Zlata Faerman is a full-time publicist, part-time writer, and round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions for her food blog @lifeandthymez, she can be found spending time with her family, having @zlatathoughts, and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of New Jersey.


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Family Fun After Dark Everyone can enjoy these activities when the sun goes down. By Stacey Feintuch


hen given the opportunity, most kids love to be outside—especially at night. After all, being outdoors after dark takes any activity to a whole new exciting level! So, shut off your devices, and spend some time in the dark—together. Here are some fun after-dark ideas the entire family will enjoy.

Play flashlight tag.

Take a night stroll.

One child has a flashlight. He has to tag the other kids or adults by shining a light beam at them.

Go for a walk around the neighborhood in the evening. Take note of what you see, hear, and smell during your jaunt. (Just make sure to wear reflective clothing in low-lit areas!)

Build a campfire. Something is timeless about watching flames. It feels comfortable to be silent and get lost in your thoughts. Add a tasty treat to the mix by roasting marshmallows for s’mores.


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Go on a treasure hunt. Fill plastic eggs with small batteryoperated lights. Hide them outside or inside your house. Kids will have fun looking for the eggs and may even put them inside their clothing too to make it glow.

Gaze at the stars. Go camping. You don’t have to be in the wilderness to experience the joys of camping— minus the long car ride. Pitch a tent, snuggle in a sleeping bag, and create your own adventures, whether it be in the backyard or your living room. Remember to grab flashlights and tell spooky ghost stories.

Kids and adults alike will be amazed as they stargaze. Grab a blanket and everyone can lay down and compare notes about the stars they see in the sky. Or if you have a telescope, set it up at dusk and watch the stars come out.

Watch a flick. Grab some blankets, pillows, popcorn, and the movie of your choice. Use a projector or take a TV outside for family movie night. Your home theater is guaranteed to make the neighbors jealous.

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Family Fun After Dark Dance in the shadows. Play this game inside or outside. Use flashlights or outdoor lights to cast shadows onto light-colored walls of your house. Or hang a white sheet on the fence or between trees. Kids can cast shadows against the walls or sheet and make shapes or letters with their bodies.

Catch fireflies. We all have fond memories of catching fireflies or lightning bugs. Some people keep these easy-to-spot creatures in jars and others try to catch them in their hands.

Bust out the paint. Paint on paper with glow-in-the-dark paint or tape. Get artsy on a large sheet of construction paper. Then display the designs for all to see at night or in a dark room.


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Throw a ball. Light-up balls are fun to play with when it’s light out, but they’re even more fun to use in the dark.

Splash in glowing water. Add glow-in-the-dark paint to water and put it in your water table. Throw in some glowing moons and stars to make it even more fun.

Dine amongst the stars.

Make music.

Food always tastes different outside. Fire up the grill or munch on pizza amid the glow of the moonlit sky.

It can be liberating to raise your voice in the dark. Singing songs outside can make an evening more celebratory, even if your only audience is the trees.

Take it old school with hideand-seek. Hiding in the dark takes hide-and-seek to a whole new level. The seeker uses a flashlight to find who is hiding. Stacey Feintuch is a freelance writer who currently lives in Bergen County, NJ. A mom to two boys, you’ll find her at the baseball diamond on the weekends.

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Featured Family Attractions Cross County Center

8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers 914-968-9570 Cross County Center is an open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment destination located in Yonkers. With free year-round parking and more than 80 stores and restaurants including the only Zara in Westchester County, Shake Shack, H&M, Children’s Place, and Starbucks, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Empire State Building

20 W. 34th St., Midtown Manhattan 212-736-3100 The new Empire State Building provides a new way for families to see New York. Explore our new museum featuring 12 interactive exhibits. Visit the main 86th Floor Observatory for breathtaking, open-air views and the brand-new 102nd Floor Observatory for 360° floor-to-ceiling glass views. Learn more and purchase tickets at

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

180 Greenwich St., Lower Manhattan 212-312-8800 The Family Pass is intended for families or small groups up to 5 people exploring the city together. The package includes two adult and up to three child and/or young-adult admission tickets to the museum for a discounted price of $82.

Palisades Center

1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack 845-348-1000 Palisades Center is a four-level shopping center offering 225 brands, 16 sit-down restaurants, a bowling alley, ice rink, the world’s tallest indoor ropes course, comedy club, and more! 48

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With its diverse merchant mix, Palisades Center is the goto place for family fun! Learn more at,,, or

Ridge Hill

1 Ridge Hill Blvd., Yonkers 914-207-2900 Ridge Hill is the top destination to shop, dine, and play in Westchester! Home to popular retailers, restaurants, and entertainment including indoor skydiving, trampoline park, and LEGOLAND, the outdoor shopping center features a parklike setting with children’s play area and events including a farmers’ market, movies, live music, and art.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square

234 W. 42nd St., Times Square, Manhattan 212-398-3133 Ripley’s Times Square in New York City will astonish visitors! The largest Believe It or Not! in North America with more than 20 galleries and more than 500 artifacts, including the Little Apple room and Manhattan’s only LaseRace™, Ripley’s is open daily, 9am-1am. Perfect for visitors and groups of all ages.

Top of the Rock

50th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Midtown, Manhattan 212-698-2000 Stand among skyscrapers at Top of the Rock. With sweeping views of Central Park and Manhattan’s Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown skyscrapers, the view from Top of the Rock is truly unforgettable. Enjoy three indoor and outdoor viewing decks, including the 70th floor open-air roof deck. Visit for tickets and information.

Wheel Fun Rentals

Big SNOW American Dream

Family Attractions

Hull-O Farms Family Farm Vacations

Seven New York Locations in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island! 917-231-6229 Get outside for summer fun! Take a spin around the park on a Surrey or cruise on the water in a pedal boat. We offer specialty cycles, family bikes, two-wheel bikes, bike attachments, pedal boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. Product varies by location. Group rates for parties and camps.

175th Dutchess County Fair

845-876-4000 For six days each August, the fairgrounds come alive with entertainment around every corner. More than 1,000 individual exhibitors including hundreds of farm animals, jams, quilts, and more! Explore the carnival midway with games, rides, and delicious food! Fun for the whole family! Fair hours: 10am–10pm

1 American Dream Way East Rutherford, NJ 973-864-6600 Big SNOW American Dream is North America’s first and only indoor, year-round, real-snow ski and snowboard resort. Located right in New Jersey. Big because it’s big fun for everyone. And SNOW because, well, we have lots of it. Even in the summer! Every day is a snow day at Big SNOW.

10 Cochrane Road, Durham, NY Farm: 518-239-6950 Cell: 518-653-4125 Whether you are looking for country relaxation, a spirited adventure, or an educational experience, Hull-O Farms has it all. Experience farm life firsthand and become involved in the chores with Farmer Jared or if you prefer, just be an observer to the myriad of activities that farming encompasses. • (914) 771-7000

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Family Attractions Cont’d JCC of Staten Island

718-475-5223 The JCC Summer Swim Club is open! Our summer-only membership includes giant figure-8 slide, fun activities, special events, chairs, lounges, and canopies in a large grassy area, café delivery available. Reservations are required for entry. For more information, contact 718-475-5223 or email sscmembership@ Learn more and join at

Long Island Aquarium

431 E. Main St., Riverhead 631-208-9200 Featuring one of the largest all-living coral reef displays, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, African penguins, touch tanks, and more than 100 exhibits including indoor gardens of the Butterflies and Bugs habitat! Try an aquatic adventure like the Shark Dive, Penguin Encounter, or the Pirate Snorkel Adventure (seasonal).

Monster Mini Golf

200 Route 94, Vernon 973-827-2000 Mountain Creek Waterpark offers 25 rides, slides, and attractions all nestled in the picturesque mountains of the Vernon Valley. Mountain Creek is open June 19 through Labor Day: daily, 11am-5pm. Day tickets and season passes are available online for advance purchase. Live life outdoors this summer at Mountain Creek.

Play Big Zone

300 Campus Drive, Morganville, NJ 732-991-1993 Play Big Zone offers a variety of unique experiences and entertainment that the entire family will enjoy! Join us for a celebration or open play where everyone can “play big” with fun, well-organized activities, amazing games, and the chance to win big prizes. Call now to customize your Play Big Zone experience!

410-C Commack Road, Deer Park 631-940-8900 Monster Mini Golf is 18 holes of indoor, monster-themed, glowin-the-dark mini golf and more. Cool monster décor with custom artwork, animated props, our interactive DJ, private party rooms, arcade games, and prize center. Other attractions include virtual reality and laser maze Deer Park.

Playland Amusement Park

Monster Mini Golf – Yonkers Ridge Hill Mall

Quassy Amusement and Waterpark

221 Market St., Unit 2950, second floor, Yonkers 914 346-5072 Monster Mini Golf is 18 holes of indoor, monster-themed, glowin-the-dark mini golf and more. Cool monster décor with custom artwork, animated props, our interactive DJ, private party rooms, arcade games, and prize center. Other attractions include virtual reality and bowling. 50

Mountain Creek Waterpark

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Playland Parkway, Rye 914-813-7000 Playland Park, home of the Dragon Coaster, will open for fun Saturday, June 26 through Labor Day, Sept. 6: WednesdaySunday, and Mondays July 5 and Sept. 6. Save time, buy online, pre-purchase day of visit at Pricing: Rider $20, Junior Rider $15, Spectator $10, car parking $10. 2132 Middlebury Road, Middlebury, CT 1-800-FOR-PARK (367-7275) • 203-758-2913 Quassy Amusement and Waterpark in nearby Middlebury, CT, offers two parks for one great price! Conquer the award-winning Wooden Warrior roller coaster or more than a dozen slides in Splash Away Bay water park. Food, beach, entertainment, and arcade. Visit

Rab’s Country Lanes

1600 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island 718-979-1600 Rab’s Country Lanes has been providing a fun, safe haven for New York City residents for more than 25 years. In addition to our bowling alley, lounge, party rooms, eats, and pro shop, we offer something every community needs: a place to have fun with friends and family.

Richmond County Sailing School

112 Mansion Ave., Staten Island 718-984-0621 Have you ever dreamed of learning to sail on the ocean? Learn with us in the sheltered harbor of Great Kills and the open Raritan Bay. Our U.S. Sailing-certified Keelboat Course relays all the basic methodologies, strategies, theories, and best practices. Advance courses are also available.

The Rock Club

130 Rhodes St., New Rochelle 914-633-7625 Climbing is a sport that the whole family can enjoy, regardless of age or fitness level. Experience problem solving, help each other out, build trust, and celebrate each time someone reaches the top! Did we mention that it’s just fun!? Create awesome memories and get in shape in the process.

Staten Island Children’s Museum

1000 Richmond Terrace, Building M, Staten Island On the grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center 718-273-2060 A hands-on place for children to explore, learn, and play. We have 10 indoor and two outdoor interactive exhibits that harness the natural curiosity of children. We frequently have free outdoor shows and performances in front of the museum. Check out our online calendar and come join in the fun!

Storybook Land

6415 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 609-646-0103 Your pay-one-price admission to Storybook Land includes unlimited rides, along with access to all of our storybook attractions! At Storybook Land, our emphasis is on fun for the entire family... with special attention given to its youngest members. A visit to Storybook Land offers good old-fashioned family fun!

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Zoos and Aquarium

NYC and NJ 800-BOAT-RIDE (262-8743) Your summer on the water awaits! Seastreak offers much more than traditional ferry services. Hop aboard a boat in NYC for a whale watching cruise or a trip to Sandy Hook beach! Then stop by our casual beach bar, The Sandbox, for drinks, live music, and delicious food from popular food trucks!

1-800-433-4149 The Bronx Zoo: 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx Central Park Zoo: 830 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side, Manhattan Queens Zoo: 53-51 111th St., Corona, Queens Prospect Park Zoo: 450 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Park, Brooklyn New York Aquarium: 602 Surf Ave., Coney Island, Brooklyn The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquariums have your summer covered with fun, educational children and family experiences! Whether online or in person, we provide unforgettable experiences for your family including hands-on activities, up-close animal experiences, and tons of educational fun that builds on a child’s innate love for our wild planet.

Sportime USA

WildPlay Jones Beach

Seastreak Summer Activities

380 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford 914-592-2111 x2 Sportime USA is the ideal place to visit this summer! With a restaurant on the premises, and activities for all ages including a Superfly Thrill Ride, four-dimensional motion theater, laser tag, rockclimbing wall, a Ballocity Arena, batting cages, bumper cars, Himalaya coaster, kiddie rides, video and prize ticket games, billiards, and softadventure play area.

2600 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh 1-800-668-7771 New! Long Island’s most thrilling outdoor family adventure: WildPlay Jones Beach! Soar down the beach on a 700-foot oceanside zipline, discover 100 high ropes games, and more! Exciting activities for every adventurer, ages 5 and older. Book online, by phone, or drop in today! Family Fun Guide 51

index Big Snow at American Dream........................... 37

Playland Park.................................................. 43

Cross County Center........................................ 11

Quassy Amusement Park.................................. 35

Dutchess County Fair....................................... 35 Empire State Building Observatory......................7 Hull-O Farms................................................... 17 JCC of Staten Island......................................... 28

Rab’s Country Lanes........................................ 29 Richmond County Sailing School....................... 31 Ridge Hill..........................................................5

Jones Beach Adventure Excursions LLC.............. 16

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!...................................2

Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center......... 39

Seastreak Ferries............................................. 25

Monster Mini Golf........................................... 20

Sportime USA Inc............................................ 43

Mountain Creek Resorts.................................. 26 Musical Munchkins.......................................... 49 Nat. September 11th Memorial & Museum........ 12 Palisades Center.............................................. 13

Staten Island Children’s Museum...................... 31 Storybook Land............................................... 24 Top of the Rock.................................................3

Pinebrook Fitness............................................ 39

Wheel Fun Rentals............................................6

Play Big Zone.................................................. 30

Wildlife Conservation Society........................... 21

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