11 Kids’ Event and Activity Ideas for Summer on the East End

The Dan's Papers Kite Fly 2013
The Dan's Papers Kite Fly 2013. Photo credit: Tom Kochie

With so much to do out here, an East End kid has it made! Don’t miss these 11 great family-friendly activities this summer:

Day at the Museum
Sometimes, an educational day at a museum is just the ticket. Luckily, Bridgehampton’s Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE) and South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo) know how to keep learning fun. Head to CMEE’s Lego club every Saturday from 10 a.m.–noon before exploring the numerous other exhibits. SoFo allows kids to learn about the unique natural history of the area. SoFo brings nature indoors, as a walk through the exhibits mimics a nature hike.

CMEE is located at 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. cmee.org, 631-537-8250

SoFo is located at 377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. sofo.org, 631-537-8250.

Goats on Boats?
The Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre in Sag Harbor introduces families to a lifelong love of theater. The young and young-at-heart are sure to enjoy the puppet shows, which take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Puppet productions in store for this summer include Little Red Riding Hood (June 26–28), Three Little Pigs (July 24–26) and Wild West Mystery (August 14–16). Aside from shows, kids will love taking part in weekly programs like Puppet Play Groups, Tot Art, Creative Movement and Kids Yoga Night. Visit goatonaboat.com or call 631-725-4193 for a complete calendar of events. Goat on a Boat is located at 4 East Union Street, Sag Harbor.

A Whale of a Time
The Viking Fleet Whale Watching trips take place on Sundays during July and August. Departure is at 9:30 a.m. and return is at 3:30 p.m. Expect to see cetaceans such as Sperm, Humpback, Fin, Minke, Right, Sei and Pilot whales; Common, Bottlenose, Atlantic White Sided and Risso’s Dolphins; Leatherback, Green and Loggerhead Turtles; Basking, Great White, and Blue Sharks; and other marine life. Trips are with marine biologists from Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island. Visit vikingfleet.com for reservations or call 631-668-5700. 62 Westlake Drive, Montauk.

Under the Sea
A world of adventure awaits at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead. Daily events include a sea lion show, animal talks and feedings (African penguins, piranhas, and more!) and a behind-the-scenes tour. If the mysteries of the sea prove too frightening, the new exhibition center boasts birds, butterflies, bugs and creatures of the night. For more information, visit longislandaquarium.com or call 631-208-9200. The aquarium is located at 431 East Main Street, Riverhead.

Mini-Golf, Mega Fun
Montauk’s Puff ‘n’ Putt is the quintessential beach minigolf course, complete with charming wooden boardwalks and a number of classic seafaring characters ready to thwart attempts to sink a putt. The Puff ‘n’ Putt also rents pedal boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and a number of sailboats by the half-hour or hour to enjoy on sheltered Fort Pond. And, as if that weren’t enough. Puff ‘n’ Puff also has an old-school arcade room. Grab your quarters and go! Puff ‘n’ Putt is located at 659 Montauk Highway, Montauk. For more info, call 631-668-4473 or visit puffnputt.com.

Making Waves
If your little grom (re: young surfer) can’t wait to hit the waves, Flying Point Surf Camp (flyingpointsurfschool.com, 516-885-6607) and Coreys Wave (coreyswave.com, 516-639-4879) both provide professional instruction. For the flat-water thrill-seeker, Southold’s Peconic Water Sports (peconicwatersports.com, 609-987-9801) offers kids the opportunity to try their hand at wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing and tubing with their weekly kids camp.

On a hot day, cool off on the water rides at Splish Splash in Calverton. New for 2014 is The Battle of Mutiny Bay—an interactive water ride that takes you and your crew on a voyage, battling against pirates and sea creatures. Or, trwist your way down the Abyss Tube Slide, Alien Invasion or Barrier Reef Body Slide. The Giant Twister weaves through treetops and splashes into a refreshing swimming pool. For directions and information, visit splishsplash.com or call 631-727-3600. Splish Splash is located at 2549 Splish Splash Drive, Calverton. 

Roadside Waddle
A quack-tastic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the Big Duck in Flanders is a popular roadside attraction. The Duck was originally built in 1931—with Ford Model T taillights as eyes—by a Riverhead duck farmer in order to sell ducks and duck eggs. Plans are now in the works to restore the Big Duck Ranch and add a duck ranching museum to the site. The Big Duck is located on Route 24 in Flanders. For more info, visit bigduck.org.

Montauk Lighthouse.
Montauk Lighthouse. Photo credit: John Bourquin

Lighthouse Tours
The Montauk Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in the state, and guests can climb to the top or take in the museum. August 16–17 is Lighthouse Weekend, where visitors can enjoy colonial toys and games, face painting, a boat safety and knot tying exhibition and traditional poetry, among other presentations. On the North Fork, the East End Seaport Museum offers lighthouse cruises, a narrated day tour of at least six lighthouses, including a walking tour of Bug Light.

Visit montauklighthouse.com or eastendseaport.org for details.

I Scream, You Scream…
How about a family trip to enjoy the most delectable of summer treats? The East End has a number of specialty ice cream parlors, including homemade concoctions at Magic Fountain in Mattituck; Big Olaf in Sag Harbor; and the ’50s style Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe in Riverhead.

Dan’s Papers Kite Fly
Ah, the simple pleasure of flying a kite. Head to Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack on Sunday, August 3, for the annual Dan’s Papers Kite Fly! What’s better than ending a Sunday beach day by embracing the salty spray and calming ocean breezes with a kite? Wind enthusiasts of all kinds are welcome to partake in this four-decades old, free Hamptons family tradition. Prizes will be awarded to the most outstanding kites, both homemade and store-bought. Widely heralded as a favorite family summer event, the kite fly promises to entertain both the young and the young-at-heart!

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