The New York Hall of Science is somewhere you would think I would have taken my kids to by now. It’s come highly recommended by friends over the years, a museum great for rainy days, a place full of exploration for little minds. But living in the New York area there is always a wide range of indoor activities to choose from, a list constantly growing. So when bad weather struck the city this past weekend, we finally decided to make a trip – and how glad we are that we did. My girls were reeling when it was time to go.
About the New York Hall of Science
Located in Queens (in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park), the New York Hall of Science actually occupies an old 1964 New York World’s Fair building, one of the few remaining buidings. It is a big space with over 100,000 square feet of 450 permanent exhibits and feature exhibitions, most of them hands-on. If you have a curious child, one that likes to wonder and explore (who doesn’t?), then you really must visit this wonderful museum. Filled with activities centered on science, technology, design, math and engineering, it is for all ages, from toddlers to teens. From outer space to under the sea to climate to biology to food to sports, there are hundreds of activities that show you how science plays a role in everything we experience as human beings.
About the Exhibitions
We spent a few hours at the museum, and definitely had some favorites. I should start by saying you mustn’t miss a visit to the Great Hall, where the new science interactive exhibition Connected Worlds is located. An animated world consisting of 6 different habitats, you are encouraged to move around and connect with the world by making certain movements and gestures. With a flick of the hand you can water the plants; by moving cushions around on the floor you can control the water supply from the 38 foot projected waterfall. It is as fascinating as it is educational, and the proclaimed favorite activity of our visit. Note you have to get (not purchase, because it’s free) a timed ticket. You can just obtain one right there at the exhibition, and each interval is about 15 minutes long.
Another popular area was the Sports Challenge section, where you can do a variety of things like ride a bike, rock climb, surf, etc. that teach you how physics and physiology play a role in sports. The 3-D theater was fun as well, where we saw a 45- minute film on extreme weather (it also served as a nice break for the feet). My older daughter loved the Mathematics section, while my younger one and I played around next door with activities such as “Decoding Dog Barks” (where you listen to about 6 different types of barks and have to match it to the dog’s mood) and “Where did your ancestors’ skin color evolve?” (where you put your arm on a sensor and it shows a map of where your ancestors are from based on the color of your skin). There’s a ton of neat stuff, and so much more than mentioned here, and really you could spend all day there if you wanted.
If you have toddlers, there is a popular Pre-School section, and if you have older kids, there are all sorts of programs and discussions on everything science. Finally, you don’t have to go on a rainy day – NYSCI has an outdoor Science Playground, Rocket Park and 9-hole mini golf course. Before you leave, make sure to check out the two giant vintage rockets, Atlas and Titan, which are sure to impress the kids.
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 11th Street, Corona, NY, 718.699.0005. Admission: Adults, $15, Children (2-17), $12. Monday – Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.