Indoor Escapes

For the days that it’s rainy or too cold to play outside, here’s a smorgasbord of indoor entertainment options for your little ones: everything from museums to puppet theater to “drop-in” gymnastics. Each destination is grouped by distance from Port Washington: “Local” — in Port, ”Pretty Close” — under a 30 minute drive from Port, and “Further Away, but Worth the Drive” — over a 30 minute drive from Port. A * means it’s a Port Washington Mama fav. Also remember to check the “Seasonal” page for a list of seasonal activities. If you have an inside escape that you think other families would enjoy, email me here.



Bow Tie Cinemas Port Washington

116 Main Street, Port Washington, New York | 516.944.6200

This local movie theater on Main Street offers free morning movies for kids. Call ahead for details.

Dolphin Bookshop & Cafe

299 Main Street, Port Washington, New York

The dedicated staff are passionate about helping shoppers make selections. Not only books, Dolphin carries toys, games, music, small gifts and other merchandise. The café next door is a great place to grab a coffee and pastries while enjoying your new purchase. The Dolphin has hosted book readings and signings by many distinguished authors including J.K. Rowling, Eric Carle, Cokie Roberts and Madeleine Albright. See site for special events and kids’ programs.


Port Washington Library

One Library Drive, Port Washington, New York

Named by a national consortium of professional librarians as one of the 50 best in the nation, this library has a special kids’ space with toys, books, mommy & me programs, special events, and more.
PW Mama Tip: The library offers a museum pass where you can access free admission to a number of musueums including the Natural History Museum, Long Island Childrens Museum, Cradle of Aviation Museum and more. Visit their website for details.


Port Washington Skating Center

70 Seaview Blvd, Port Washington, New York | 516.484.6800

Indoor ice skating rink open all year round. See website for details.

SoulShine Art Studio

146 Main Street, Port Washington, New York

Art classes that expose students to drawing, painting, beading, and more.

Drop-In Play

The Sands-Willets House

336 Port Washington Blvd, Port Washington, New York
516.365.9074 |

Dating back from the early 1700s, the Cow Neck Historical Society maintains the Sands-Willets House as a museum and educational center. Tours of the house are offered on the first and third Sunday of every month, through October, from 2-4pm and at other times by appointment. Docents dressed in period costume, kid friendly crafts and hands on activities (like apple pie making) are available for school and girl scout tours.

Pretty Close

Active Kidz

200 Robbins Lane, Jericho, New York

Fun for toddlers to tweens. Features a toddler center, maze, rock climbing, inflatable zone, laser tag, arcade and more. Pricing varies by attraction.

Drop-In Play

*AMF Bowling on Eileen Way

111 Eileen Way, Syosset, NY
516.921.7575 |

AMF Syosset is clean, modern and awesome anytime fun — featuring 48 all-star lanes, a dynamic video wall (often playing music videos or cartoons), delicious food/snacks and for the young kiddos,  bumpers and dragon “bowling ramps” to boot. Fun for all ages and for parties, too!

Bounce! Trampoline Sports

310 Michael Dr., Syosset, NY
516.762.1300 |

Our whole family loves it here. Bounce Jr. Area for ages 2 – 6 and larger area for ages 6+, Bounce offers open play, fitness classes, multiple foam pits, enormous open jump court, slam dunk basketball, trampoline dodgeball, indoor trampoline bungee jumps and more!

Drop-In Play

Cradle of Aviation Museum

Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City, New York

Built on what was formerly Mitchell Fields Air Force Base, this museum offers a collection of air and spacecraft and a number of interactive exhibits (like the cockpits to play pretend Pilot), games, and short films. The domed IMAX Theater offers museum documentaries and popular films.

$14, Adults; $12, Children 2 – 12



38 Great Neck Road, Great Neck, New York

Play, tumble, and bounce in a fun and stimulating environment designed to keep you kid on the move. Slides, trampoline, obstacle courses, and more! Great for crawling tots and up. Open gym is available when no class is being conducted. Call ahead to confirm availability.
PWMama Tip: Dreamnastics can be tricky to find. It’s located in the Waldbaums shopping center on the bottom floor of the Health & Racquet Club.

Drop-In Play

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve

50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove, New York

Exhibits devoted to Native American culture as well as archeological and geological displays. Outside (if it’s nice) you can meander through the preserve’s 5 miles of nature trails, explore a wigwam or see the first (and only!) dinosaur footprints found on Long Island.

$3 per adult; $2 per child (5-12 years)


Herrill Lanes

465 Herricks Road, New Hyde Park, New York

Family oriented bowling alley with bumpers available for kids. Cash only but their is an ATM on premise. Check website for pricing and details.

Island Rock

60 Skyline Drive, Plainview, NY
516.822.7625 |

Indoor rock climbing facility that offers “open climb”, classes and training, and birthday parties. Kids Club Programs starts for newbies ages 5+. Family Programs and adult climb also available.

Jewish Children’s Museum

702 Eatern Parkway, Crown Heights, NY

This museum clelebrates Jewish cultrue through hands-on exhibits focusing on Jewish holidays, biblical history, the land of Israel, and contemporary Jewish life. It features multimedia exhibits, an art gallery, computer labs, a game show studio, a audiovisual theater , a miniature golf cource, and a craft workshop.

Kiddie City USA

262 Glen Head Road, Glen Head, New York | 516.399.2525

Kiddie City offers open play in it’s “mini town”-like environment. Fun for 6 months on up. See website for details.

Drop-In Play


9 Service Rd, Roslyn Heights, NY
516.559.7122 |

Kidville offers a wide range of classes and programs for infants – age 6 including art, dance, music, movement and more. Great indoor playspace (which is our favorite part) is available for drop-in play throughout the week and includes matts, trampolines, balance beam, swings, bars, and so much more. Lots of birthday party options (although pricey), too!

Drop-In Play

Le Play Cafe

2465 Merrick Rd, Bellmore, NY
516.308.7053 |

Drop-in play area with dress-up and performance stage, marketplace, and building area. Mats & age-appropriate toys for infants and crawlers. Coffee, healthy snacks, and drinks for all ages. Don’t forget socks!

Drop-In Play

Long Island Childrens Museum

Charles Lindbergh, Garden City, New York

Excellent, interactive, hands-on exhibits that will keep crawling babies on up entertained for hours. Kids will especially enjoy the huge rope jungle gym, bubble center, and “Tot Spot” which contains a pretend grocery store, train, lighthouse, and fishing boat. Features also include special exhibits, and a theater where you can see live performances of dance, music, and hands-on entertainment. Visit website for details and special events.

General Admission, $11; Under 1, FREE

PWMama Tip: An annual membership pays for itself after three visits and also offers a reciprocity program with other museums, like the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

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Long Island Puppet Theater

10 Heitz Place, Hicksville, New York

Offers highly interactive puppet shows with a live actor and puppeteer. Past shows have included “The Little Mermaid”, “Meet Elmo & His Friends”, and “Little Red Riding Hood, The 3 Little Pigs, & 7 Baby Goats.” Check site for the most current listings and make reservations in advance.

Mudd Works

6 Bond Street, Great Neck, NY | 516.305.4900

Warm and friendly place to create art, candles and pottery for adults, teens and children of all ages.

New York Hall of Science

47-01 111 Street, Queens, New York

Full of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and plenty of knowledgeable staffers, this museum is a “science playground” full of all sorts of educational fun. There’s a separate preschool space designed for infants to six year olds. Favorite features include the shadowbox, bubble dipper, and illusions house full of fun mirrors. There’s also an awesome outdoor play space. Visit website for details.

Adults (ages 18 & older), $11; Children (ages 2 – 17) and Students (with college ID): $8
PWMama Tip:Free general admission is available September through June on Fridays from 2-5pm and on Sundays from 10-11 am.

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The North Hempstead Aquatic Activity Center at Tully Park

1801 Evergreen Avenue, New Hyde Park, New York | 516.869.631

The totally renovated 30,000 squarefoot, indoor, state-of-the-art facility features a figure-eight slide, three seperate zones including six lanes for lap swimming and a zero-depth entry area for wading. A pool-level exercise room with new spin cycles and a wide selection of exercise equipment is also available for adults.

Nunleys Carousel

Charles Lyngbergh Boulevard, Garden City, New York

Originally located in the famed Nunley’s Amusement Park, this indoor carousel has been relocated to Museum Row. With over 40 colorful horses and one majestic lion, kids of all ages will enjoy a ride. Great birthday party spot too!


Once Upon a Treetop

151 Dupont Street, Plainview, New York

Kids will enjoy exploring the interactive mini city and climbing through their treehouse play unit.

$12 per walker; $6 per crawler; Adults and Infants FREE

Drop-In Play

The Sandbox Playspace

51 Gibson Ave, Huntington, NY
631.421.1600 |

Appropriate for children 5 and under, Sandbox offers mommy + me and separation classes, birthday parties and open play in a beautifully designed modern play space.

Drop-In Play

Further Away But Worth The Drive

Atlantis Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center

431 East Main Street, Riverhead, New York

Ranked by Parents Magazine as one of the “Top Aquariums for Kids”, this aquarium is themed around the “Lost City of Atlantis”. Not only are fish tanks and stunning coral on display, but they also have penguins, seals, sea lions, monkeys and a butterfly farm. Little babes will love the vibrant colors; tots and older kids will enjoy the hands on activities, penguin exhibit and sea lion show.

Adults (13 – 61), $22.50 plus tax; Children (3-12), $19.50 plus tax; 2 & Under, FREE
PWMama Tip: Tanger Outlets is about a five minute drive from the aquarium. Great discount shopping for the whole family.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

This museum is features fun-filled learning experiences for children and their families. The new exhibits feature hands-on activities, role-playing opportunities, authentic specimens and artifacts, and hundreds of new things to discover in the arts, culture, science, and the environment. A tot fav is the adorable kid-sized storefronts of actual stores in Brooklyn where kids can play with fake fruit and products.

$7.50 per person
PW Mama Tip: Parking is hit or miss (may be worth it to pay for parking) and the museum is extra crowded during school vacations.

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Children’s Maritime Museum at Port Jefferson

101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson, NY
631-331-3277 |

This museum is a lighthouse learning center featuring interactive exhibits for kids in primary grades and adults. Learn about Long Island’s natural ecosystem and maritime heritage through permanent installations like Navigation Station and Virtual Submarine—two interactive computer programs that allow visitors to virtually navigate the Port Jefferson harbor (both above and below water) while learning more about the natural attributes and history of the area.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Tisch Building, 212 W 83rd St, New York, New York

212.721.1223 |

CMOM offers interactive exhibits and programs Adventures with Dora and Diego, inwhich children ages 2-6 join a series of missions to save animals, build a bear’s nest, and get ready for a fiesta; and PlayWorks, where children up to age 4 feed alphabet letters to a talking dragon, drive a fire truck, and more.

Children’s Museum of the East End

376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY
631-537-8250 |

Kids ages 2-10 can learn through play at the museum’s permanent exhibits, which include a Crawler Garden with bugs, fruits, and vegetables, a Musical Forest, and a drop-in art studio. You can also sail the high seas, meet sand puppets, discover how a windmill works, try on costumes at the turn-of-the-century general store, and let off some pent-up energy in an indoor play space meant to nurture cognitive and physical development.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery

1660 Rte 25A, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

CSH Fish Hatchery & Aquarium houses the largest living collection of NYS freshwater reptiles, fishes, and amphibians. Two aquarium buildings contain a diverse array of slimy, slithering creatures all housed in tanks set at toddler eye-level Outdoors, there are eight ponds and a number of “trout-rearing” pools where you can feed the fish and trace the stages of a trout’s development from a tiny minnow to a full-fledged adult.

$6 per adult; $4 per child (Ages 3 – 12) Children (Under 2) FREE
PW Mama Tip: It will take about an hour to wander around the Fish Hatchery — especially worth the trip when coupled with a visit to the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum.

Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

279 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

This small, quaint museum is easy to navigate with a stroller and offers a lot of interesting insight into the whaling industry. Kids will enjoy investigating the maritime artifacts and playing Captain on a reproduction of a whaling ship bed. Children’s room features puzzles, games, and puppets.

$6 per adult; $5 per student (Ages 5 – 18) Children (Under 5) FREE
PWMama Tip:Take time to wander through the historic village of Cold Spring Harbor. One of my favorite towns on Long Island.

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Darlings + Divas

65 Merrick Rd, Amityville, NY

Mini spa-themed playdates: manicures, pedicures, dress up and more!

DiMenna Children’s History Museum at New-York Historical Society

170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way, New York, NY
212-873-3400 |

A museum that brings American history to life through the eyes of children. Targeted toward children ages 8-13, the museum features life stories of a diverse selection of youngsters who lived in NYC from the late 17th to the 20th centuries. Museum Scavenger Hunts (Saturdays and Sundays) where amilies team up for a historical scavenger hunt through the museum.

Legoland Discovery Center

39 Fitzgerald St, Yonkers, NY
866.243.0770 |

The Discovery Cener offers childrens activities with the Master Model Builder, a Miniland (NYC’s top attractions made from LEGO), a soft play area, rides, 4D cinema and more!

PWMama Tip: Children under 2 are free!

Museum of Mathematics

11 E. 26th St., New York, NY
212-542-0566 |

Discover a new side of math with exhibits and activities like Seeing Math, an exhibit that shows math in a whole new lights, and Square-Wheeled Trike, a surprisingly smooth ride on square wheels.

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

111 Rodeo Drive, Deer Park, NY
631.392.2600 |

Indoor trampoline park that offers “fun fitness” for kids and adults 2 on up. Birthday parites and “open jump” available.

SONY Wonder Technology Lab (SWTL)

56th Street and Madison Avenue, New York, NY
212-833-8100 |

This state-of-the-art facility unites technology and creativity for entertaining, experiential learning. A number of permenat, interactive exhibits, include Virtual Surgery, where visitors can “feel” what it’s like to perform open-heart surgery; WSWL Production Studio, which explores the various roles associated with television production; GameBuilder, where visitors can create their own computer racing game; and Wonder Of Music, which explores the process of making music and lets kids perform in front of a virtual audience.

PW Mama Tip: Although free, reservations highly recommended especially during school vacations.

Tackapausha Museum

2225 Washington Ave., Seaford, NY
516-571-7443 |

The museum offers a variety of environmental education programs for all ages that involve all aspects of Long Island’s natural history. Visitors can see live animal exhibits and monthly scheduled presentations that include birds of prey, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. Birthday party packages are available as well as nature walks, campfire circles, bird-watching programs, and community service projects.