Cousins Dean Del Prete and Paul Sattler started playing paintball for fun in 1986. Noticing a lack of places to play or find equipment, the pair took advantage of this business opportunity and founded Cousins Paintball the following year, creating a one-stop shop for players. They started out with the only paintball field on Long Island, and since then, they have grown to encompass 10 New York locations with scenario and speedball fields. Today, teams equipped with full mask and semiautomatic paint markers wander across their 20- to 80-acre spaces, searching for the opposing team's flag. Eco-friendly paint ensures trees do not suffer lasting damage, and themes such as hide-and-seek and cops and robbers add variety to a full day of games.
Settle traffic arguments by challenging an opposing driver to a duel on Boomers!'s speedy go-carts. Or just cruise solo, banking curves and outdriving total strangers in a wild day of rubber-burning and dust-eating. For crashtastic thrills, climb aboard a bumper boat and drift on the waterscape, floating amok and gleefully broadsiding fellow captains. A bit of the briny seeps into Boomers!'s mini-golf range, where it creates a sparkling blue hazard to complement the verdant greens. Finish the day with a feeling of accomplishment that comes only from climbing Boomers!'s big, giant rock wall. The 32-foot climbing surface has a variety of handholds and different climbing options, so explore them all with the three climbs. Be sure to check Boomers! Medford's hours before heading out.
Pump It Up is a blissfully big space designed to help kids meet their needs for friendship, midair dance moves, and gravity defiance. Parents can watch as their bounce-prone descendants slide, scale, and moonwalk around Pump It Up’s inflatable arena. The bounce zone draws kids with its promise of afternoon hang time and offers a brief history lesson in its resemblance to King Louis XVI’s famous “jumpy castle.” Kids can bond with one another through the subtle physical fitness that comes with recreational jumping, and they’ll be glad to have a spot to discuss pressing kid-only issues, such as the superiority of the color blue to the color green.
The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center throws its visitors into the shark tank. And the tropical lagoon. And the salt marsh. As executive director Bryan DeLuca noted in the New York Times, the center (formerly Atlantis Marine World) is one of the most interactive aquariums in the area, which snagged it a place on Parents magazine's list of the 10 Best Aquariums for Kids. The Atlantis-themed aquarium’s educational exhibits combine myth with science as they bring guests face to gills with creatures such as eels, jellyfish, seals, and clownfish. In addition to its indoor and outdoor exhibits right on the banks of the Peconic River, the aquarium delights guests with aquatic adventures such as snorkeling or receiving a photo op and kiss from loveable sea lion Java, who still dreams of one day being turned into a beautiful princess.
High-school social-studies teacher Anthony Pennino Sr. played his first round of paintball in 1985. By the following year Tony had gathered 20–30 friends and kin for paintball bouts on his family's private land. As demand for paintball guns and safety gear grew among his brigade of marksmen, he converted his basement into a makeshift store, supplying paintball accoutrement from home until moving into a storefront in 1990. Within two decades Tony and his clan formed the lauded paintball team the New York Dogs, opened their own indoor arena, and eventually combined that arena with their largest store yet.
That facility forms the backbone of Island Paintball, where a sports turf field hosts Model 98–brandishing players. In between games, players can watch other contests from behind the staging area's Plexiglas viewing windows or browse Island Paintball Supplies' gun wall and 12 massive showcases of paintball gear. An in-house gunsmith repairs any malfunctioning guns, which patrons can wield at open-play sessions and private parties.
In its massive indoor facility, Funtime Junction has room for laser tag, an arcade, and even a ride that seats children in tiny model helicopters. Youngsters cavort on classic attractions as well: inflatables encourage record jumps, whereas jungle gyms have slides to zoom down and tunnels that kids can explore after sending in a scout party with headlamps. The playground hosts casual visits and birthday parties, which reward guests with pizza, hot dogs, goodie bags, and tokens to use on games.