Come Memorial Day weekend, the East End is known as the ultimate summer playground for adults, but there’s also plenty to keep the kids busy while you enjoy our beaches and bounty. Why not find something educational and interesting for your young ones? Below is a list of 10 excellent museums and attractions for children, spanning the Twin Forks and that lively area right in-between.
East Hampton Town
Miss Amelia’s Cottage
Main Street, Amagansett
Built in 1725, this cottage stands on the property owned by the founders of Amagansett, Abraham and Jacob Schellinger. Located on Main Street, it houses a museum with Colonial furnishings and a rare Dominy clock. On the rear of the property is the Roy K. Lester Carriage Museum. Both museums are operated by the Amagansett Historical Association. Call 631-267-3020.
East Hampton Marine Museum
301 Bluff Road, Amagansett
Perched overlooking the ocean on Bluff Road in Amagansett, the Marine Museum depicts the history of whaling and fishing on Eastem Long Island. Extensive exhibit areas feature whaling artifacts donated by local families and dioramas of the various fishing techniques unique to this area. A children’s studio includes books and resources for kids to learn and play, and outside, children can even climb on the “jungle-gym” trawler. Programs at this museum are administered by the East Hampton Historical Society. Call 631-267-6544.
Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum
The End of Montauk Highway, Montauk
Built in 1796, this oldest lighthouse in New York State is still actively aiding ships with navigation. Climb the spiral staircase 86 feet to the watch deck and take in the view. You’ll feel like you are on top of, and at the end of, the world. Call 631-668-2544 or visit montauklighthouse.com.
SoFo: South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center
377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
Also, don’t miss Andy Sabin’s Salamander Seining… and Some Frogs Too hike at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Call 631-537-9735 to make a reservation.
CMEE: Children’s Museum of the East End
376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
Along with its regular interactive and educational exhibits, the Children’s Museum is hosting fun events all weekend. This summer CMEE has a full schedule of classes in art, science, tumbling, gardening, music and sports, along with weekly performances in the outdoor amphitheater. Drop by, call 631-537-8250 or visit cmee.org to learn more.
Also, join Super Soccer Stars and the CMEE for a Memorial Day weekend Summer Kickoff at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor! Kick, shoot and score with Super Soccer Stars AND build, decorate and fly your own kite! For ages 2-10.
Sag Harbor Whaling Museum
200 Main Street, Sag Harbor
Examine artifacts from Sag Harbor’s whaling past and learn how the village became one of the busiest ports in the Northeast during the 19th century. Call the museum at 631-725-0770 or visit their website at sagharborwhalingmuseum.org for more info.
Southampton Historical Museum
17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton
No need to drive all the way out to Old Mystic or Sturbridge Village for a taste of history. The Rogers Mansion and the Thomas Halsey Homestead in Southampton provide an intimate look at the Hamptons of yesteryear, and the grounds are home to 12 historic, 17th and 18th century structures, including a blacksmith’s shop, a cobbler’s shop and a one-room schoolhouse. Call 631-283-2494 or visit southamptonhistoricalmuseum.org.
On the National Register of Historic Places, The Big Duck inspires joy and wonder in every child who sees it. Check out the Big Duck Ranch and the gifts within this whimsical masterpiece and roadside oddity. This is a definite must for any East End kid. Open Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 1–5 p.m. Visit bigduck.org to learn more about this East End icon.
Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
431 East Main Street, Riverhead
An all-day adventure awaits at this aquarium in Riverhead. In addition to many tanks full of incredible marine life, interactive exhibits allow kids to feed a stingray, watch a sea lion show, ride in a submarine simulator, hold some marine life in the touch tank and get up close with penguins. There’s even an arcade to blow off a little steam once you’ve had enough of fish. Call 631-208-9200 or visit longislandaquarium.com.
Beneath a glass pavilion, this antique carousel is the only one of its kind on the East End. Hop on one of its lovingly restored painted horses and try to grab the elusive brass ring! Free rides for the lucky few who can get hold of it.
Also check out the nearby Camera Obscura in Mitchell Park. This is another unique and fascinating treat unique to Greenport.