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Hidden Gems of Long Island

Hidden Gems of Long Island

Long Island is home to some hidden gems for families to do and see. We found five can't-miss destinations and things to do that are family-friendly.

Flock to the Big Duck.

Waddle down Flanders Road in Flanders, and you’ll eventually spot a gigantic duck nesting on the horizon. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Big Duck was designed by Broadway set designers and built by locals in 1931. It is now the home of the Long Island Duck Farming Exhibit & Museum. 

Learn to square dance.

Head out to Wildwood State Park in Wading River on a summer Friday night, and you and the family can learn country western and line dancing with caller Primo Fiore (July 7-Aug. 4; all ages and abilities welcome). Trust us, y’all will have a blast. 

See wild monk parakeets.

You don’t have to schlep into Brooklyn to see wild monk parakeets, as some live along the South Shore, and have been spotted in Freeport, West Islip, Merrick, and Seaford. Though on Long Island, you won’t find an informational tour.

Ride a miniature train.

Walk around Southaven County Park in Brookhaven, and you’ll likely come across a mini train yard—home to the Long Island Live Steamers, a club of steam model enthusiasts. During Public Run Days, held May-October, visitors can ride the mini trains around the tracks. This summer’s Public Run Days are June 11 and 25, July 9 and 30, and Aug. 13 and 27. All aboard!

Go on a foraging walk.

You can find edible foods right in your local parks! Though his home base is in the city, Wildman Steve Brill regularly hosts foraging walks in Kings Park and North Babylon. You’ll learn about renewable, wild edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms that many destroy as weeds, and how to utilize them every day. 

Main image: The Big Duck in Flanders popularized the term “duck architecture,” roadside buildings designed to promote what is sold inside.
Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation


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Katelin Walling

Author: Katelin Walling is the former editorial director for NYMetroParents. She has been writing about parenting, health, finance, education, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, and more for nearly 10 years. She also has 20+ years of child care experience and was a babysitter in NYC for 8 years. Katelin graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby. See More

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