Summer at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum features a wide-ranging calendar of music, dance, theater and special events. A popular destination for Long Islanders and their families, the Vanderbilt offers moderately priced cultural entertainment, close to home.
The Vanderbilt offers a rich historical and educational experience. Year-round, visitors can tour the estate, mansion and museum of William K. Vanderbilt II – including his marine-life, natural-history and cultural-artifact collections, and wild-animal habitats– or see a show in the new, state-of-the-art Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.
Mr. Vanderbilt’s spectacular Eagle’s Nest, a 43-acre waterfront estate and 24-room Spanish-Revival mansion, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion, with its considerable collection of rare, fine and decorative art – and centuries-old furnishings from around the world – is a museum in itself, a time capsule of the privileged life on the Gold Coast from the Jazz Age through the Second World War.
Tickets for most of these events may be purchased on-line at vanderbiltmuseum.org:
Mid-Summer Night Dances, Thursdays, 6:30–9:30
Popular summer dances are held in the Celebration Tent most Thursday evenings. Ballroom and other types of dancing are featured. Instructors teach a new dance step each week. Co-produced with C & D Productions, Inc. Gates open 6:00. Dance lessons, 6:30 to 7:00, with dancing until 9:30. Light dinner fare included (51 Broadway Caterers). Admission: $30 at door; $25 in advance, on-line. Season tickets available: $160 (or $20 per evening).
Schedule with featured dance step: July 9, West Coast swing by Ellen McCreery; July 16, rumba by Antz Joseph (special performance by Dancing Classroom Long Island Youth Ensemble); July 23, fox trot by Ballroom of Huntington; July 30, cha cha by Patti Paneibianco; August 20, hustle by Donna DiSimone; August 27, East Coast swing by Swing Dance Long Island; September 3, salsa by Rhythmology.
Sunday, July 12 – The Liverpool Shuffle Summer Concert, 7:00
This Beatles tribute band, a regional favorite, will perform classic songs live outside on the Great Lawn. Bring a picnic, blankets and chairs. Tickets: adults $25 on-line, $35 at door; children 5–15, $10 on-line or at door; children under 5 free.
Saturday, July 18 – Clam Bake IV,6:00–10:00
This annual fund-raising event, held in the Celebration Tent, offers a wide seafood-lovers’ menu plus wine, beer and soda, and a DJ with music for listening and dancing. Tickets: $100 person, on-line; Members, $90.
Friday, August 7 – Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra, 6:00–10:00
For the ninth summer, the orchestra will perform (rain or shine) Spicy Sounds for a Hot Night. Bring a picnic, take a club-style Latin dance lesson, and listen and dance to the music of these renowned musicians and recording artists. Tickets: $25 on-line, $30 at door.
Living History Tours – Sundays: July 26, August 30, September 6, 5:00–7:00 (last tour starts at 6:30)
These special, time-machine tours offer visitors the chance to meet the Vanderbilts’ summer guests. This summer it will be 1936 in the Mansion, and featured family guests will be golf champion Sam Snead and renowned writer Dorothy Parker. Tours are synchronized with the evening performances of the Outdoor Summer Shakespeare Festival. Visitors are encouraged to take a tour, bring a picnic dinner, and stay for a Shakespeare play in the Mansion Courtyard. Guests and household staff are portrayed by Museum guide-actors. Tickets: $10 on-line. Members, free.
Children’s Workshops – July and August
Creative Summer Fun for Preschoolers
The Vanderbilt Education Center offers fun, creative workshops for children ages 3-5 (with an adult). Projects include paper sculptures, masks, and tee-shirts. Call 631-854-5539 for details and fees, or visit vanderbiltmuseum.org.
Sail the Seas with Mr. V
This series ofscience and art workshops for grades K–3 explore the Museum’s collections, artifacts and habitats, followed by creative projects. Call 631-854-5539 for details and fees, or visit vanderbiltmuseum.org.
27th Annual Outdoor Summer Shakespeare Festival
July 5–26 – Twelfth Night (no performance Sundays, July 12)
July 29-August 30 – Othello (no performance Sunday, August 7)
Presented by the Arena Players Repertory Theater on the Vanderbilt Mansion Courtyard stage. Performances on Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 7:00 p.m. Tickets: $15 per person – call 516-293-0674. Visit www.arenaplayers.org. In case of an inclement weather forecast, call 631-854-5570 to see if performance will be given.