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Free (or cheap!) for kids in May on Long Island
Need weekend plans or something to do with the kids during the week? There are a ton of free children's events at local libraries, but we also found free and cheap things to do elsewhere this month. Whether you have one, two, three or more kids in tow, here's a roundup of fun, budget-friendly events in May.
Sculpture Art Caper and Exploration Activity Backpack at Hofstra University's Emily Lowe Gallery (Hempstead Turnpike, Hempstead) running weekly throughout the year, ending Sunday, Dec. 21. Times vary. Pick up a backpack and solve an Art Caper mystery by unraveling clues found while exploring the outdoor sculpture collection. Appropriate for children ages 5 to 10.
Archery for Children at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge (340 Smith Rd., Shirley) on Saturday, May 3, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Children ages 8 and older will learn how to shoot a bow and arrow. All equipment is provided; adult supervision is required.
Touch a Truck at Eisenhower Park (Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow) on Saturday, May 10, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Kids can climb all over trucks and vehicles that are usually off-limits, such as big rigs, fire and rescue trucks, police vehicles, boom cranes, military vehicles and more. Held at Eisenhower Park "Kite Field." Rain date is May 11.
Neverland at Sid Jacobson JCC (300 Forest Dr., East Hills) on Sundays in May through May 18, from 6-8 p.m., as well as Thursday, May 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Performers in Grades K-2 take the stage in an adaptation of Peter Pan.
Welcome New Neighbors at Center for Science Teaching and Learning (1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre) on Sunday, May 18, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Take a tour of the facilities, meet the staff, experience typical activities including a nature hike, an animal show and an exhibit.
Rock-the-River Festival and Fundraiser at Rolling River Day Camp (477 Ocean Ave., East Rockaway) on Saturday, May 3, from noon-4 p.m. Rides, bounce houses, pony rides, farm animals, face painting, DJ music, performances, food, refreshments and more.
Kids of Summer Baseball/Softball Camp Clinic and Open House at Mitchel Athletic Complex (1 Charles Lindburgh Blvd., Uniondale) on Sunday, May 4 from, 1-4 p.m. Children ages 5 to 17 can participate in a baseball and softball clinic, play ball, tour the camp facility and meet the staff. Children can take pictures with Mr. Met, from 2-3 p.m.
Cooking for Hope at Chabad Center for Jewish Life (2083 Seneca Gate, Merrick) on Tuesday, May 13, from 7-9 p.m. Teens ages 13-18 can learn to cook a variety of kosher dishes. Registration is required.
Children's Hands-on Milling at Water Mill Museum (41 Old Mill Rd., Water Mill) on Mondays and Thursdays starting May 26, at 11:30 a.m. Kids will learn about the water-powered mill and its giant stone wheels and wooden gears that grind the grain. It's a free event but donations are accepted.
Caroline Country Fair at Caroline Church of Brookhaven (One Dyke Rd., Brookhaven) on Saturday, May 31, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be children's games, races, pony rides, fire truck visits, barbecue lunch, bake sale, live music and more.
Family Adventures: Horseshoe Crab at Nissequogue River State Park (799 Saint Johnland Rd., Kings Park) on Sunday, May 4, from 2-3:30 p.m. Explore the lives of horseshoe crabs along the Nissequogue River and why they are living fossils; reservations are required. Price: $4 adults, $3 children, free for ages 3 and younger; $8 parking fee.
Fossil Finds at Maritime Explorium (101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson) on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, from 1-5 p.m. Create a fossil of a plant or creature that lived thousands of years ago. Price: $5.
Long Island Karting Association at Nassau Coliseum (1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale) on Sunday, May 4 and Saturday, May 17, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. This family-oriented racing sport is run by the Long Island Karting Association's board of volunteers and many members of the club. Held in parking lot 8. Price: $5.
Mother's Day Messages at Maritime Explorium (101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson) on Saturday, May 10 and Sunday, May 11, from 1-5 p.m. Using a variety of materials, kids will design a message in a bottle to give to their mom or grandmother on their special day. Price: $5.
St. Boniface Martyr Feast by the Shore at Harry Tappen Beach (Shore Road, Glenwood Landing) on Thursday, May 15, from 6-10 p.m.; Friday, May 16, from 6-11 p.m.; Saturday, May 17, from 1-11 p.m. and Sunday, May 18, from 1-6 p.m. Rides, games, food and more. Price: Free, POP $30, check website for a coupon.
Pollution Solution at South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center (377 Bridgehampton / Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton) on Sunday, May 17, at 10 a.m. Children ages 12 and older will divide into teams and brainstorm how to carry out a clean-up operation; reservations are required. Price: $4 materials fee.
Family Adventures: Night of the Frogs at Connetquot River State Park Preserve (Sunrise Highway, P.O. 505, Oakdale) on Saturday, May 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join for a presentation about frogs, then walk through the preserve to hear the sounds of various frogs; reservations are required. Price: $4 adults, $3 children ages 3 and older; $8 parking fee.
Beach Combing and Sandcasting in East Hampton on Sunday, May 18, at 10 a.m. Children ages 5 and older will learn how to identify shells, feathers, seaweed and other natural treasures. Then, cast them in plaster of paris to make a seaside work of art; reservations are required. Price: $3 materials fee.
Nassau County Strawberry Festival at Nassau BOCES in Bellmore (2351 Jerusalem Ave., North Bellmore) on Thursday, May 29, from 6-10 p.m.; Friday, May 30, from 6-11 p.m.; Saturday, May 31, from noon-11 p.m. and Sunday, June 1, from noon to 6 p.m. Located on Newbridge Road in North Bellmore, the festival features rides, live entertainment and fresh strawberries, Beatles cover band "Strawberry Fields" perform live on May 31, at 7 p.m., crafts and free parking. Price: $2 admission Friday to Sunday, free for children younger than 5, fee for rides varies.
Fish Migration Day at Long Island Science Center (11 W. Main St., Riverhead) on Saturday, May 24, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Learn about ecology and the Peconic River. See feed from the Fish Ladder and join the Peconic Estuary Program in the park for more activities. Price: $5.
Family Adventures: World in a Bottle at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve (Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown) on Saturday, May 31, from 10-11 a.m. Make your own terrarium and watch as your plants grow within the ecosystem, bring a clear, empty, 2-liter plastic bottle with a screw-on top for each person; reservations are required. Price: $4 adults, $3 children ages 3 and older; $8 parking fee.
Sci-Fi Festival at Long Island Science Center (11 W. Main St., Riverhead) on Saturday, May 31, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sci-Fi day in celebration of Star Wars month. People with costumes enter free. Price: $5.