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Riding the carousel at Mitchell Park. Credit: Randee Daddona, file)

It happened: Amid the chaos of childrearing, you somehow found yourself with a day free from errands, sports practices, birthday parties and other obligations. Now, however, you’re left wondering how to keep your family — not to mention yourself — entertained.

Northforker Kids has you covered. Plan your next day trip in the area by checking out the following boredom-busting suggestions. Whether your children are toddlers or tweens, these ideas are sure to keep them smiling. You’ll have fun, too! 

Toddle with your 2-year-old around Greenport Village

• Ride the antique carousel at Mitchell Park Marina, located on Front Street in downtown Greenport. In addition to providing beautiful water views for adults, the carousel is thrilling for little ones. Open daily through Labor Day and weekends and holidays after that, rides cost $2. Kids under 4 are free, but must ride with a paying adult.

• Set up a blanket in Mitchell Park and take in the view with your toddler. Count the boats in the marina, observe the happenings on nearby docks, fly a kite or simply enjoy a breather on the park’s expansive lawn.

• Head to nearby Main Street to make a stop at Goldsmith’s Toy Shop. You and your child will love the selection of toys, which include everything from vintage dolls and games to rubber ducks, puppets and trucks.

138 Main Street, Greenport, 631-477-0466

• Enjoy a late-afternoon meal at Claudio’s, which serves lunch until 3:30 p.m. This off-peak time provides a great opportunity to enjoy some quiet, rest and relaxation in the waterfront eatery’s dining room. Claudio’s accommodates youngsters with a “Little Mates” menu that includes generous portions of chicken fingers, fried cod, hamburgers, fries and a beverage. Your tot will love looking at the restaurant’s lobster tank as you savor your seafood dish or burger.

111 Main Street, Greenport, 631-477-0627,

• Conclude your outing at Sandpiper Ice Cream Shop, conveniently located across the street from Claudio’s. What can we say? Every day should end with dessert.

142 Main Street, Greenport, 631-477-1154

Lobster Roll northside

Riverhead to the rescue: an active outing for kids ages 4 to 8

• Head to Indian Island County Park in Riverhead, where you and your child can expend some energy exploring the playground, hiking the wooded trails and strolling the beach. Plan ahead for rumbling bellies by bringing snacks and beverages to enjoy at one of the park’s picnic tables or benches, which overlook the water.

County Road 105, Riverhead, 631-852-3232

• For hands-on fun, visit Gingerbread University, where you and your youngster can use candy to decorate a jumbo cookie or signature gingerbread house. This activity isn’t just for the holidays, either: Gingerbread University offers decorations including sharks, bears and even turkeys. Themes vary according to the time of year.

3225 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, 631-727-7309,

• When decorating with all that candy kicks your appetite into high gear, head next door for dinner at Lobster Roll Northside Restaurant. This family-friendly establishment offers a children’s menu and variety of seasonal foods — not to mention their signature lobster roll.

3225 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, 631-369-3039,


Priceless moments with your pre-teen

• Pick apples with your 9- to 12-year old at Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue, where fruit can be harvested mid-August through late October. The farm grows more than 20 varieties of apples on semi-dwarf trees — which means plucking them off their branches is a breeze no matter your size. Once you’ve filled a bucket with red fruit, be sure to stop by Woodside’s barn for fresh-baked cider donuts and other goodies, along with hard cider tastings for grown-ups.

729 Main Road, Aquebogue, 631-722-5770,

• Head to The All Star to knock down some pins at this spacious and updated bowling alley and arcade. Friendly competition among family members always makes for a memorable day out.

94 Main Road, Riverhead, 631-904-0580,

• After you’ve hit some strikes, grab dinner at Joe’s Garage and Grill, located just off Main Street in downtown Riverhead. There is energy in the atmosphere at this car-themed grill, where garage décor hangs from the walls. Joe’s location on the Peconic River is scenic and its fresh, made-to-order menu — which features custom cocktails and mocktails — suits parents and kids alike.

40 Peconic Avenue, Riverhead, 631-591-3330,