By Heidi Sutton

The John W. Engeman Theater celebrates the return of children’s theater with a production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr., an abbreviated version of the 1989 animated classic based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. With music by Alan Menken, book by Doug Wright and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, the show, which opened last Saturday morning, begins with the seafaring number “Fathoms Below” and never loses its momentum.

Directed by Steven Dean Moore, with musical direction by Nicki Winzelberg and choreography by Becky Grace Kalman, the story centers around Princess Ariel, the youngest mermaid daughter of King Triton, who is obsessed with the world above and longs to trade in her fish tail for a pair of legs, much to the dismay of her father. 

When she falls in love with Prince Eric, Ariel strikes a bargain with her aunt, the evil sea witch Ursula, to become human. There is a catch however — Ariel must give up her voice and Eric must fall in love with her in three days or she will lose her soul forever. With the help of her best friend Flounder, the court composer Sebastian the crab, and a seagull named Scuttle, Ariel sets off to follow her heart. Will love conquer all or will revenge strike it down?

Katie Dolce is perfectly cast as the strong-willed Ariel and her solo, “Part of Your World,” is breathtaking. She shares a nice chemistry with Matthew Rafanelli, her charming Prince Eric, who holds his own with “One Step Closer” where he teaches a mute Ariel how to dance in one of the most endearing moments in the show.

In his debut at the Engeman, T. Ramsey Pack is incredible as Sebastian. With a spot on Jamaican accent, a calming presence, and flawless comedic timing, Pack is the perfect crabby crustacean tasked with keeping an eye on Ariel and pulls off the show’s two most elaborate numbers, “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl,” with ease. He even walks like a crab! 

Jae Hughes lends her amazing talents to the role of Scuttle and shines in the tap-dancing number “Human Stuff” as she teaches Ariel all about dinglehoppers, thingamajigs and snarfblatts, la-di-da! And AnnaBelle Deaner, as bestie Flounder, is in perfect harmony with Ariel’s sisters — Allana (Ella Piscatello), Aquata (Angelina Miller), Atina (Elizabeth Dolce), Adella (Amelia Freiberger), Arista (Jenna Hammelman) and Andrina (Meaghan McInnes) — in “She’s in Love.” 

The role of Ursula is shared by Jennifer Collester and Samantha Carroll. During Saturday’s show, Collester gave a powerful performance of the villainous sea witch — her version of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” will give you chills. And Suzanne Mason and Ryan McInnes are downright creepy as the slithering moray eel minions Flostam and Jetsam. Great job!

One of the most entertaining scenes of the show takes place in the palace kitchen with Chef Louis. Elizabeth Dolce takes this delicious role and runs with it, literally, as she attempts to serve Sebastian for dinner. Her version of “Les Poissons,” complete with a French accent and a chase scene, is hilarious!

Supporting cast members also include Justin Autz as Prince Eric’s confidant Grimsby, always by his side; Moore Theobald as the head sailor on Prince Eric’s ship; and Logan Dolence as King Triton, a protective and loving father.

As an added bonus, a large screen in the background changes with the scenery (the deck of a ship, Ariel’s grotto, the beach, the castle, etc) and shows scenes from the movie which are hard to replicate on stage including when Ariel saves Prince Eric from drowning and when Ariel gives her voice to Ursula. A nice touch. 

The incredibly beautiful costumes by Laura McGauley, from the colorful merfolk outfits and wigs, royal palace garbs, Scuttle’s feathers, Ursula’s tentacles, and iridescent eel puppets are the icing on the cake.

The cast and creative team have composed a wonderful morning of live theater. Don’t miss this one! 

The John W, Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through Aug. 22. The Disney theme continues with Beauty & the Beast Jr. from Sept. 25 to Oct. 31. All seats are $20. For more information or to order, call 631-261-2900 or visit

All photos by Corinne Wight

By Heidi Sutton

For the second year in a row, the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts will present outdoor performances of Disney’s Moana Jr. on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society through Aug. 14. With a new performance space behind the Frank Brush Barn, a larger and more elaborate set, fresh choreography and the return of most of the original cast, the show launched last Thursday night and brought the house down.

The Cast:
Moana: Gabriella Fugon
Maui: Michael Gualtieri
Gramma Tala: Gianna Oppedisano
Sina: Adrienne Porti
Chief Tui: Logan O’Leary
Tamatoa: Alia Romanelli
Pua: Zachary Podair
Hei-Hei: Lorelai Mucciolo
Chief Ancestor I: Max Lamberg
Chief Ancestor I: Dylan O’Leary
Chief Ancestor II: Gabby Blum
Chief Ancestor III: Gabrielle Arroyo
Right Claw: Derek Hough
Left Claw: Justin Walsh Weiner
TeFiti/TeKa: Savannah Shaw
Ensemble/Claw Understudy: Ari Spiegel
Ensemble: Jonathan Setzer

The strong-willed daughter of Chief Tui and his wife Sina, Moana lives on the Polynesian island of Motunui, never straying beyond the safety of the lagoon. When the island’s coconuts turn black and the fish in the lagoon disappear, she follows the advice of her grandmother and sets sail on a journey across the Pacific Ocean to find the demigod Maui, so that he might help her restore the heart of Te Fiti, the Polynesian goddess of earth and life, and save her people from starvation.

Along the way, the pair stop at Lalotai, the Realm of Monsters, to retrieve Maui’s magical fishhook from Tamatoa, a giant coconut crab, and battle the volcanic demon Te Kā.

Directed by Courtney Braun and Jordan Hue, with musical direction by Melissa Coyle, the stage adaptation follows the 2016 animated film Moana closely and hits all the right notes with the wonderful songs by Lin Manuel-Miranda from the film including “Where You Are,” “How Far I’ll Go,” “Shiny,” “I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)” and “You’re Welcome.”

The young energetic cast does an excellent job in retelling the story.

Reprising her role as Moana, Gabriella Fugon is perfectly cast and tackles her solos with confidence and ease. Her rendition of “How Far I’ll Go” could easily match that of Auli’i Cravalho (the voice of Moana in the film). Her vocals are flawless.

Michael Gualtieri is equally matched as the self-centered and egotistical Maui. His rendition of “You’re Welcome” is magnificent. 

While the entire cast has strong voices, special mention must also be made for Logan O’Leary in “Where You Are,” and Alia Romanelli in “Shiny.”

The show itself is a visual feast for the eyes. Costumes by Ronald R. Green III are colorful and fun with Polynesian dresses, grass skirts, leis and flowers in the hair. The set, designed by Michael Mucciolo, is quite impressive. Everywhere you look the legends and traditions of the Polynesian people are evident with Moana’s traditional camakau (canoe) and oar as the centerpiece. Long flowing sheets in shades of blue are used to represent waves and a screen print depicts the beach and ocean. 

As with many children’s theater productions, there is a moral to the story, best described by co-director Courtney Braun. “Moana really provides a lesson for each individual audience member. A journey of self-love and passion for some, the importance of family for others, and most importantly — a strong message of perseverance and overcoming fears.”

Don’t miss this one.

While folding chairs are available, theatergoers are welcome to bring blankets or chairs for seating. Mats are available for smaller children who would like to sit up front. Bathrooms are available on the premises and merchandise and water will be sold before and after the event (debit or credit only).

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts presents Moana Jr. on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown on various dates and times through Aug. 14. Running time is one hour with no intermission. Tickets are $18 per person. To order, call 631-724-3700 or visit

Image from BNL

Every year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory opens its gates to thousands of community members for open house events called Summer Sundays. Visitors get to meet the Lab’s scientists and tour a different world-class science facility each week, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)—all DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

Following the success of Brookhaven’s virtual Summer Sundays program in 2020 and to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19, the Lab is bringing back its online Summer Sunday program for 2021. Over three Sundays this summer, Brookhaven will host a series of live, virtual events for people of all ages. Each event will feature a guided tour of a Brookhaven Lab facility and live Q&A sessions with a panel of scientists.

Brookhaven Lab plans to return to an in-person public tour format for Summer Sundays 2022, as conditions permit.



Schedule of events

NSLS-II: Sunday, July 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Tune in to get an up-close look at some of the “beamlines” where scientists use ultrabright x-ray light to see the atomic structure of batteries, proteins, and more. Viewers will have the opportunity to pose questions to NSLS-II scientists about each beamline on the tour and all of the research conducted at NSLS-II. Watch on TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

RHIC: Sunday, August 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Join Brookhaven scientists as they explore the physics of particle colliders, including RHIC and the upcoming Electron-Ion Collider (EIC). Get a behind-the-scenes look at RHIC’s operations, then scientists for a Q&A session where they’ll take viewers’ questions about RHIC and the EIC. Watch on TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

CFN: Sunday, August 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Investigate our world at the nanoscale with CFN, where scientists will show viewers the sophisticated microscopes and research tools they use to observe ultrasmall science. Viewers will have the opportunity to pose questions to CFN scientists about each scientific instrument on the tour and all of the research conducted at CFN. Watch on TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

More details about these events will be announced soon. For the most up-to-date information, follow Brookhaven Lab on Facebook or visit the Summer Sundays website.

How to watch and ask questions

Each of the Lab’s live Summer Sundays events will be streamed to TwitterFacebook, and YouTube. At the time of the event, the live stream will be pinned to the top of Brookhaven’s profile on each platform. You do not need to have a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account to watch the stream.

Viewers are encouraged to submit their questions for the Q&A segment in advance through the Lab’s social media accounts or by sending an email to [email protected]. Live questions will also be accepted during the Q&A through the chat functions on all streaming platforms mentioned above.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

Follow @BrookhavenLab on Twitter or find us on Facebook.

Huntington Town Clerk Andrew Raia, New York State Senator Jim Gaughran, Huntington Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Mark Baron, Will Harnos, Luke Kowalchuk, Ryan Farrington, Thomas Albero, Paul Ritter, Joe Sledge of Northport VA Medical Center, Suffolk County From left, Legislator Rob Trotta, Northport Chief of Police Chris Hughes.

Troop 41 of Northport conferred the Boy Scouts’ highest rank, Eagle, on six young men in its June 20 Eagle Scout Court of Honor, held on the grounds of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport. The occasion included remarks from local dignitaries.

New York State Senator Jim Gaughran noted that for a troop to have six Eagles in a single year is “unheard of and speaks to the content of their character.”

Five of the new Eagles are seniors at Northport High School (NHS) and one is a junior at St. Anthony’s High School in Melville. They acknowledged the support, mentorship, and help they received from their adult leaders, fellow scouts, and families.

The scouts completed their projects during the pandemic – when many other troops had shut down operations – which only added to the honor and level of accomplishment. Their projects are sustainable and will benefit their community for years to come.

Other local dignitaries who spoke included Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Huntington Town Clerk Andrew Raia, Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class John Revere, Huntington Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Northport Chief of Police Chris Hughes, and Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy

Ryan Farrington created a Meadowlark Park/Northport Veterans Administration (VA) walking/running/biking/5K trail. He also installed 30 posts and navigation signs and has maintained the trail.

Will Harnos renovated two, lean-to camping structures at West Hills County Park and installed new roofs.

Lukę Kowalchuk built and installed three handicapped-accessible tables for the Northport VA Medical Center in honor of his grandfather, a Korean war veteran.

Paul Ritter constructed a 36- by 20-foot stone retaining wall at the Northport VA Medical Center Library memorial garden. He also renovated the garden by weeding and adding new plants and mulch.

Mark Baron built and installed a wheelchair-accessible picnic table for the PTSD Residential Treatment Unit at the VA Medical Center.

Thomas Albero, a junior at St. Anthony’s High School, built and installed a bookcase at the Long Island Cares food pantry in Huntington Station. He filled it with more than $1,500 worth of new English, Spanish, and bilingual Spanish/English children’s books, and cookbooks. He also collected more than two dozen boxes of gently used children’s books to replenish the bookcase and donated $1,100 of remaining funds to Long Island Cares for the purchase of new books.

Christopher Henigman, now a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh, completed his project in 2020 before the pandemic, but passed his Court of Honor during the pandemic. He built and installed two marimba instruments for the outdoor classroom at The Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI).

Troop 41, sponsored by the Northport American Legion post, has produced dozens of Eagles since it was established in 1924.


Photo from East End Arts

East End Arts & Humanities Council, Inc. has announced the winners of the 2021 Teeny Awards. An award ceremony was broadcast live from the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on July 11.

And the winners are:

LEAD MALE IN A PLAY, Kiernan Urso in the role of George Spelvin in “The Actor’s Nightmare” at Longwood

LEAD FEMALE IN A PLAY, Jessica Soledad in the role of Juror #8 in “12 Angry Jurors” at Hampton Bays

SUPPORTING MALE IN A PLAY, Isaiah Mraz in the role of Corey in “Our Place” at Southold

Photo from East End Arts

SUPPORTING FEMALE IN A PLAY, Emma Martinez in the role of Betty-Sue in “It’s Always the Butler” at Shelter Island

LEAD MALE IN A MUSICAL/MINI-MUSICAL, Kiernan Urso in the role of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in “Jekyll & Hyde” at Longwood


Angelina Milici in the role of Lucy Harris in “Jekyll & Hyde” at Longwood
Juliet Rand in the role of Lady of the Lake in “Spamalot: The Socially Distant Concert-ish Version” at Southold

SUPPORTING MALE IN A MUSICAL/MINI-MUSICAL, Quinn Bruer in the role of Taunter, Herbert, & Monk in “Spamalot: The Socially Distant Concert-ish Version” at Southold

SUPPORTING FEMALE IN A MUSICAL/MINI-MUSICAL, Zoe Richardson in the role of One-Eyed Pete in “Take Ten!” at Pierson


Silas Jones in the role of Dance Captain in “Anything Goes” in the Musical Revue: “Pandemic Pandemonium of 2021” at East Hampton
Brenna Kiernan in the Musical Revue: “A Broadway Revue” at Rocky Point


Elizabeth and Jacqueline Gluck for “I Feel Pretty” in the Musical Revue: “The Southampton Broadway Revue”


Vanessa Aurigue for “Jekyll & Hyde” at Longwood Belle Penny for “Our Place” at Southold


“Jekyll & Hyde” at Longwood “Les Misérables” at Miller Place

BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL REVUE, Zoe Richardson for “Dream a Little of Me” in “Take Ten!” at Pierson

BEST DUET/TRIO PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL REVUE, Tessa Cunningham, Brenna Kiernan & Samantha Leversen for “Webber Love Trio” in the Musical Revue: “A Broadway Revue” at Rocky Point

BEST GROUP PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL REVUE, “Seize the Day” in the Musical Revue: “Hope Rising” at Riverhead

BEST MASTER OF CEREMONIES/HOST/NARRATOR IN A MUSICAL REVUE, Johan Arias as Master of Ceremonies in “The Southampton Broadway Revue” at Southampton

BEST MUSICAL PERFORMANCE IN A VIDEO, Camryn Trant for “Stupid with Love” at Mattituck

BEST MONOLOGUE PERFORMANCE IN A VIDEO, Michael Marziliano for “Trinculo (The Tempest)” at Bellport

For the full list of the nominees & winners, visit

For more information or details about the ceremony please contact Teeny Awards Coordinator Kasia Klimiuk at 516-297- 4123 or email [email protected]

By Heidi Sutton

Excitement was in the air as Theatre Three celebrated its reopening on July 10 with The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. Addressing the audience, director Jeffrey Sanzel said, “This is our very first theater performance since March 15 of last year. This is also our favorite children’s show of all time and I know you’re going to like it.” 

Well, that was an understatement.

For the next hour and 20 minutes the young theatergoers were treated to the mischievous adventures of Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny … and loved every minute of it. 

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and the late Brent Erlanson, the original musical is loosely based on one of the best-selling books of all time, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and features all of the beloved characters in the story. The eight adult cast members know their target audience well and keep them well entertained. 


Peter Rabbit: Eric J. Hughes

Benjamin Bunny: Steven Uihlein

Mrs. Rabbit: Elizabeth Ladd

Flopsy: Meg Bush

Mopsy: Alyssa Montes

Cotton-Tail: Heather Rose Kuhn

Mr. McGregor: Darren Clayton

Mrs. Mcgregor: Linda May

The audience is whisked away to the countryside home of Mrs. Rabbit and her four bunnies who live next to Mr. and Mrs. McGregor. While Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail listen to their mother by staying inside and doing their chores, Peter and Benjamin spend the day sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s garden to satisfy their insatiable appetite for lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and string beans. The many trips to the garden patch eventually wear down the farmer’s patience, resulting in a great chase with a narrow escape.

The show is adorable on so many levels. Like two peas in a pod, Peter and Benjamin produce the most laughs with their antics and Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail spend most of their time looking for their wayward brother. And for some strange reason, the audience will walk away with a craving for bread and milk and blackberries.

The show is also a lesson in ingenuity. Trapdoors on stage become rabbit holes used by Peter and Benjamin to hide. An attempt to reclaim Peter’s socks and shoes and jacket and hat from a scarecrow in the garden turns into a scene from Mission Impossible complete with perilous stunts and spotlights. And when Peter retells the great chase to his family, the entire scene is reenacted in slow motion — a most spectacular feat.

Audience interaction is a big part of the show as the actors spend as much time in the aisles of the theater as on stage. When searching for Peter and Benjamin, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail run around asking the children if they’ve seen them (“They’re right behind you!”).  When Benjamin Bunny tried to jump onto the stage over and over again during last Saturday’s performance, the children called out words of encouragement (“You can do it Benjamin!). He took the stairs. 

With excellent choreography by Nicole Bianco, the musical numbers, accompanied on piano by Doug Quattrock, are catchy and fun, with special mention to “One More Time Around,”  “Run, Peter, Run!” and the hip hop number, “Peter’s Socks.” The final number incorporates all of the songs in a super mega-mix extravaganza.

Best suited for ages 3 to 8, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit is the perfect choice to celebrate Theatre Three’s reopening and the return of live theater. Your kids will love it.

Souvenir bunnies in various colors will be sold before the show and during intermission for $5 (proceeds will help maintain the historic building) and the entire cast is in the lobby after the show for a meet-and-greet.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents The Adventures of Peter Rabbit on Saturdays at 11 a.m. through Aug. 14. Children’s theater continues with A Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 9 to 30 and Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 20 to Dec. 26. All seats are $10. To order, call the box office at 631-928-9100 or visit

Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL), the region’s premier privately-held discount retail chain with 146 stores throughout the Northeast, is pleased to announce the return of its “Buy-Give-Get” program to benefit children in need prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Beginning Thursday, July 8, any customer who buys a backpack at OSJL for $15 and gives it back to the store as a donation to children in need, will get a $15 Crazy Deal Gift Card to be used for a future purchase online or at any Ocean State Job Lot store.

“Last year, school-aged students in underserved communities struggled to adapt to distance learning due to a lack of resources. Now, with more and more schools returning to in-person learning in September, these students may not have access to the basic items needed for a positive educational experience,” said David Sarlitto, Executive Director, Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation. “Our customers have answered the call to help our veterans during past ‘Buy-Give-Get’ promotions, and we’re confident they’ll do the same for local school children in need.”

30,000 backpacks are available to purchase as part of the program and will be distributed to students in need across the region in partnership with the New England Patriots Foundation and the USA Veterans Military Support Foundation.

There are three Ocean State Job Lot stores on Long Island: Centereach, East Northport and North Babylon.

About Ocean State Job Lot:

Founded in 1977, Ocean State Job Lot is a growing, privately held discount retail chain with 146 stores in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, approximately 5,600 employees, and annual sales exceeding $800 million. Job Lot sells brand name, first quality merchandise at closeout prices. Shoppers find an ever-changing array of household goods, apparel, pet supplies, seasonal products (holiday, gardening, patio, pool and beach supplies), and kitchen pantry staples at a fraction of their typical price. The company was named a “Best Midsize Employer” by Forbes Magazine and a US Best Managed Company by Deloitte.

The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has a long history of philanthropic leadership, supporting numerous causes, including feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, assisting veterans and military families, aiding animal rescue, caring for children, advancing healthcare, supporting the arts and promoting learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it distributed $15 million in PPE to school systems, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and police and fire departments across New England and the Northeast. Ocean State Job Lot is headquartered at 375 Commerce Park Road in the Quonset Point Business Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852.  Phone: (401) 295-2672; Web:

Volunteers are always needed at Bethel Hobbs Community Farm, 178 Oxhead Road, Centereach. Help with planting, weeding, harvesting, working in the greenhouse, property maintenance and more. Volunteer hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (hours subject to change) and Sunday by appointment. For more information, call  631-774-1556 or visit

Vanderbilt visitors enjoy a trip into space. Photo by Jennifer Vacca

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport found a way in the late 1960s to honor William K. Vanderbilt II’s (1878-1944) love of science and exploration – and to create a new revenue source – when it decided to build a planetarium. Last month, the Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium observed its 50th birthday.

Opened on June 29, 1971, the Planetarium began generating income to support Museum operations. The Planetarium was a testimony to Mr. Vanderbilt’s passionate interest in science and astronomy and his use of celestial navigation in the early 20th century while circumnavigating the globe in his yachts. Most importantly, the Planetarium was and is essential to the Museum’s mission to provide high-quality astronomy and science education.

The Planetarium, which was popular with visitors immediately, became an invaluable teaching tool. By the second decade of this century, however, the facility and its technology were worn and years out of date. In 2012, the Vanderbilt, with substantial help from Suffolk County, undertook a $4-million renovation and complete technological update of the facility, which reopened on March 15, 2013.

The renovation design allows the star projector to retract out of audience sightlines. This feature, along with removable rows of seating, provides flexibility for the William and Mollie Rogers Theater to be used also as a venue for lectures, performing arts, and large-group meetings. Flexible theatre space allows the Museum to expand its audiences, visibility, and regional appeal.

In February 2020, the Vanderbilt received approval from Suffolk County to use Museum endowment funds for significant technological upgrades. The Vanderbilt purchased two advanced systems – laser phosphorus full-dome video projectors that generate sharper imagery and laser-beam projectors to enhance laser-light entertainment shows. Dave Bush, director of the Planetarium, said this state-of-the-art equipment adds dimension and excitement and greatly improves the visual experience.

The Planetarium is an education center with astronomy programs for visiting school groups that align with New York State educational standards. The facility also offers science entertainment programs and laser-light shows. The Observatory recently added a solar telescope for safe viewing of the Sun.

The Planetarium, which has a 60-foot-diameter dome, is one of the largest and most advanced in the United States. More than 85,000 visitors see shows there each year.

In honor of its largest benefactors, the Vanderbilt renamed the facility the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium in 2019. Their unprecedented gift is helping to ensure the Planetarium’s future.

Visit for upcoming shows and programs.


METRO photo
Leg. Nick Caracappa

Water safety should be a primary concern not just in the summer, but all year long. Being that it only takes a few inches of water for a child to drown, it is important for adults to be aware and remain updated on important water safety and its procedures to prevent drowning incidents from occurring.

Suffolk County Legislator Nick Caracappa would like to provide the following recommendations to ensure a happy and safe summer for residents and their families. “Now that summer is in full swing, it is important for us all to remember these safety tips to prevent any unnecessary danger to children and adults alike,” stated Caracappa. The following tips are found on the website:

Learn life-saving skills.

Everyone should know the basics of swimming (floating, moving through the water) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Fence it off.

Install a four–sided isolation fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when they aren’t supposed to be swimming. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.

Make life jackets a must.

Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim. Life jackets can be used in and around pools for weaker swimmers too.

Be on the look out.

When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times. Because drowning happens quickly and quietly, adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, talking on the phone, and using alcohol or drugs.

Legislator Caracappa is asking everyone to take the POOL SAFETY PLEDGE

(found on the website):

I pledge that I will…

  • Designate a water watcher every single time children in my care are in or near the water.
  • Make sure my kids know how to swim.
  • As a parent or guardian, learn CPR.
  • Always remove portable pool ladders when not in use.
  • Ensure all permanent pools have a proper fence and gate and safer drain covers.

Have a great summer, and stay safe!