Operating since the early 1900s and voted Best Petting Zoo of 2011 by readers of the Long Island Press, White Post Farms stimulates visitors with a smorgasbord of exciting diversions. Guests commune with an exotic menagerie of man’s second-best friends in the petting zoo, home to zebras, kangaroos and a sublimely patient giant tortoise. Friends of the feathered can hang out at Ronnie’s Birdie Landing, a free-flight aviary that boasts a 70-foot waterfall and a flock of parakeets that moonlight as a Flock of Seagulls cover band (feed, $0.92–$4.61, is not included). Guests can also enjoy the company of faux furry companions, gawking at the spectacle of the animatronic Animal Band Jamboree and the Singin’ Chicken Show.
Flanked by seven other aircraft, a Grumman F-11 hangs suspended in a shallow dive over the main entrance to Cradle of Aviation Museum’s four-story glass atrium. Three viewing levels on wraparound balconies afford views of the aircraft that only fellow pilots in close formation ever saw when it was in service. The 150,000-square foot facility’s eight exhibits grant similarly intimate glimpses of more than 75 aircraft and spacecrafts that trace the historic path of Long Island’s aviation contributions since 1870. Those artifacts include a replica of the Wright Brothers’ 1899 kite, five aircraft made in Long Island for World War II, and the Grumman Lunar Module LM-5 “Eagle,” which transported Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to that soundstage that looked like the moon.
Patrons also get a chance to soar skyward in the X-Ride Theater, a 30-seat motion simulator whose “Fly with the Blue Angels” film mimics the piloting of a U.S. Navy squadron jet. Over in the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium and the Leroy R. & Rose W. Grumman Dome Theater, the immersive screens bring to life subjects such as Lewis and Clark's journey and National Geographic's Wildest Weather in the Solar System. After riding the Historic Nunley's Carousel, which was built in 1912, guests can reenergize over a meal in the Red Planet Cafe, whose space station décor evokes a Martian cafeteria in the year 2040.
For the tiniest tots, there are foam towers to topple in the Tot Spot and instruments with which to make rhythms in the mUSic area. Toddlers and preschoolers sift and shovel on the Sandy Island, and older children can use a penny to watch a 100-year-old Mutoscope silent movie or use the Bricks & Sticks wire spinner to design their own 3D shapes. Click here to see the museum’s activity gallery and plan out a day trip. Or, simply show up with plenty of energy and your favorite child to discover the museum together, and help him or her build vital skills in social interaction, education, and colored-block identification. Schoolchildren can bolster their studies without realizing they're learning by organizing games in the ClimbIt@LICM structure, or by comparing barometric readings in the Our Backyard outdoor area. Get today's Groupon to treat a special proto-adult to a day of horizon expansion, enjoyment, and giant bubbles.
[[m:####Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum's staff of maritime experts collate the histories, folklore, and artifacts that illustrate Long Island's relationship with the sea. The museum's collection ensures an in-depth look at Long Island's history of whaling with more than 6,000 artifacts and archival objects, including the only fully equipped 19th-century whaling boat with the original furniture and scrimshaw flat-screen television. Interactive education courses for all ages teach kids about the oceanic sciences and engage them in themed arts-and-crafts events. Adult workshops range from drawing and sketching seminars to book readings and discussions. Before leaving, guests can peruse the gift shop, which brims with knickknacks and doodads for all ages, including boatswain's whistles and ships in bottles.:m]]