BY JOE MARVILLI
If you are looking to get away for a day trip this summer, you cannot go wrong with Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center.
Located out in Riverhead, this aquarium offers a full range of entertaining and informative experiences for both children and adults. With aquatic adventures, educational exhibits, dozens of sea creatures and a calendar of events, Long Island Aquarium will offer a summer highlight that will be the envy of the office or the classroom.
Part of what makes Long Island Aquarium a must-see attraction is its interactivity. In many cases, guests can go right up to the aquatic wildlife and touch them. Head to the Penguin Encounter and pet one in the Penguin Preschool. Go on the Pirate Snorkel Adventure, where you don a wet suit and take a swim with tropical fish, including a leopard shark. Reach into the Ray Bay and pet a stingray.
For the bravest guests, there is the Shark Dive adventure. Put on some scuba gear and spend 45 minutes in a 120,000-gallon tank, where sharks will surround you.
“It helps make each guests’ day more personal,” marketing manager Darlene Puntillo said. “We feel by exposing our guests to these up close and personal experiences, they connect more with the animals and with us. This fosters a love and respect of aquatic animals and with our aquarium.”
If you want to turn this trek into a weekend getaway, there is plenty to do in the surrounding area, with beaches, wineries, hotels and shopping outlets nearby. However, if you visit the aquarium next Wednesday, you can forego the hotel entirely and join in a family sleepover. This overnight adventure on July 16 will feature hands-on activities in the Shark Discovery Lab, a visit to the animal care areas, a screening of the film “Shark Tale,” dinner and a continental breakfast.
“We want everyone to have fun, have a great day with us and think about the animals they met and how they can help to keep those animals in the wild, safe and in existence for generations to come,” Puntillo said. “We also want to keep our guests coming back.”
Long Island Aquarium is located at 431 East Main St., Riverhead. For more information, call (631) 208-9200 or visit www.longislandaquarium.com.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.