8 family date nights on Long Island
As any parent knows, work, activities and the daily grind of home life leave few opportunities to schedule some alone time with a child. If you can manage to play hooky together, steal a few moments after a sporting event or stay up past bedtime to hang out, there are a number of ways to make those moments count.
WHEN | WHERE 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. to midnight Fridays, 1 to 4 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays at 1276 Hicksville Rd., Seaford
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT You could hold hands with your child while skating around in circles as you move to the music. You'll reminisce about doing this as a child, and he'll feel like he's doing something fun and tricky (after all, it takes coordination). Plus, you'll burn calories, and he'll sleep through the night after a long skate. It's a win-win.
INFO $10 per child and $11 per adult, plus $5 for skate rentals; $13 per person on Wednesdays for all-you-can-eat pizza, admission, skate rental and soda); $2 on Thursday nights; Mondays are for adults only; 516-795-5474, unitedskates.com.
WHEN | WHERE Noon to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays at 410-C Commack Rd., Deer Park
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT If your adult getaway place is the golf course, you just need to adjust this a little and play on one a bit smaller. You'll get to practice your game on a miniature course -- and prep your mini-me to love golf as much as you do.
INFO $8 for kids and $9 for adults; 631-940-8900, monsterminigolf.com.
Dream Come True Farm
WHEN | WHERE By scheduled lesson at 147 Eastport Manor Rd., Manorville
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT Ride off into the sunset -- literally -- with your young loved one. You will be on a horse, and she will be on a pony. Here you'll each get a lesson and learn the basics about staying in the saddle, feeding the animal and taking care of it.
INFO $50 for a half-hour private lesson or $50 for an hour semiprivate lesson; 631-325-3384, nwsdy.li/dreamfarm.
WHERE | WHEN 8 a.m. to 7p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays at 61 New Hyde Park Rd., Garden City
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT Grab your little lady or gentleman and sit down with a homemade cupcake. While she may relish the chocolate-vanilla cupcake, you'll probably go crazy for the French toast and bacon. After training at the Culinary Academy in Syosset, executive chef Christine Bernhard opened this spot, and the cupcakes are date-day-worthy.
INFO Cupcakes start at $1.50; 516-328-2253, honestlydeliciousfoods.com
WHEN | WHERE Summer hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Bethpage State Park, 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT You'll need bikes, helmets, water and possibly a bagged lunch -- and that's it. There are more than 14 miles of trails here, and it's a combined paved and off-road path. Even the off-road path is marked -- and if your child isn't up to that, you can always walk that area. You'll see tons of plants and small animals. There's also another path that's just under 10 miles, which is completely paved and flat.
INFO Free to play here, but if you plan on driving, the parking fee is $8; 516-249-0700, nysparks.com/parks/108
WHEN | WHERE Charter boats go out seven days a week at 10 and 11 a.m., 2 and 6 p.m. (the Taste of Sailing package goes out daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) from 32 Star Island Rd., Slip 412, Montauk
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT It's exciting for both of you, it's relaxing, and it's something unusual she'll actually remember long after date night. There is a special Taste of Sailing package that allows you to sail with a captain and learn about what it takes to be a captain. You and your child will hoist the sails, take the tiller and even trim the sheets. If your child is too small to be much help, you can relax while the captain does the work. You're allowed to bring all the food and drinks you'd like on the boat -- perfect for picky eaters.
INFO $170 for the Taste of Sailing package, other packages available; 631-522-5183, sailmontauk.com
WHEN | WHERE Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays; 176-2 North Country Rd., Mt. Sinai
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT This spa offers manis and pedis for the pint-sized as well as for adults. Your little diva can also get her hair done, so you two can hit the town for an early-bird dinner after your spa session.
INFO Mother/daughter mani-pedis are $60; 631-828-4403, lipstick-and-lollipops.com
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays at 11 Central Ave., Massapequa
WHY IT'S A GREAT DATE SPOT Take her on a classic date to share a homemade ice cream sundae. Lounge in a booth as a throwback to the past, and talk about your own past. Make memories here, and have this become your annual (or weekly) tradition.
INFO Ice-cream sundaes start at $5.50; 516-797-3149, Krischs.com