On July 31 (or, for the British, 31 July), fans of “Harry Potter” celebrate the birthday of its titular character. Filled with magic and heroism, the series appeals to young children and grown-ups alike and has done so for more than 25 years since the release of the first book in 1991. In honor of this magical day, here are six things Long Islanders can do to celebrate The Boy Who Lived.
- DEFEAT VOLDEMORT
One of the latest crazes for all ages gets a Harry potter twist! In 60 minutes, up to eight players can escape form wizard prison, collect magical objects called Horcruxes, and defeat the dark wizard Voldemort. Reservations required. Escape Zone Long Island, 872 Middle Country Rd., St. James, 631-645-8906, escapezonelongisland.com $28 per person. 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily.
- VISIT ‘HOGWARTS’
Even though this isn’t a Harry Potter location, the gardens and beautiful architecture at the Sands Point Preserve certainly feels like Hogwarts, the magical school. Perfect for photography, picnics, and tours of the buildings and landscaping. Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point, 516-571-7901, sandspointpreserveconservancy.org $15 per car, plus tour fees. 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day weekend.
- CAST A SPELL
Fans of the series that are more interested in real-world witchcraft might be interested in this magic shop that offers all things metaphysical. Additionally, it hosts classes on meditation and spiritual counselors. A Time For Karma, 14 S Village Ave. Rockville Centre, 516-442-3200, atimeforkarma.com Prices vary. Open daily, times vary.
- FLY LIKE A WITCH
For fans that are disappointed by the lack of flying broomsticks in the Muggle (non-magical) world, why not learn to fly on a trapeze instead! Witch two locations across Long Island, open for children and adults of all ages. I Fly, Merrick Ave, East Meadow, or 5 Riverside Blvd, Long Beach. Prices vary. Open Tuesday through Sunday.
- USE A MAGIC WAND
Though not inherently magical, the Long Island Children’s Museum staple can encourage young people to find their own magic. Of special note is the fan-favorite bubble exhibit, which helps encourage creativity through its uses of (bubble) wands. Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City, 516-224-5800, licm.org $14. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Sept. 1.
- GET CHARMED
The charming café Witches Brew offers noteworthy pastries, teas, and other hot beverages, or more hearty fare in a quaint atmosphere. The decorations and clever menu item names give this location an extra magical feel to it. Witches Brew, 311 Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead, 516-489-9482. Prices vary. 12 p.m.-12 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 12 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Hocus Bonus: Wizard Fest is coming to Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville on Oct. 19 and 20. Get tickets here