South Fork Natural History Museum
|The South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton features a number of hands-on exhibits for kids to explore and an impressive marine touch tank.|
The main floor at the South Fork Natural History Museum is dominated by these four large habitats that showcase different ecologies that are native to Long Island. Inside each one, you'll find animals and flora that can be found in a saltwater marsh, freshwater pond and the beach. Each display mixes live and artificial animals. The height of the displays can be a little daunting for very young kids, but those over three feet should have no problem taking in everything.
In displays like this one of a beach habitat, there are multiple draws and windows for kids to explore different aspects of typical Long Island environments. There is a lot to discover, and the best part of the museum is that the onsite educators act like personal tour guides and take the time to explain everything to your kids. Our guide asked (and remembered!) everyone's name and stayed with us through our visit.
This tree display illustrates the different kinds of animals that make their homes in trees and allow kids to touch stuffed raccoons. Nearby, they can do the same with an opossum. The windows to the left look out onto a large deck where there are observation stations overlooking 70 acres of preserved fields and woodlands.
Downstairs is the highlight of the museum: a huge marine touch tank with snails, crabs, clams, mussels and many other critters gathered from nearby tidal pools. Again, the onsite educators are very helpful in identifying the different marine animals and helping kids explore through holding them. They have step stools available for children who are not quite tall enough to hold things under the water, and a pair of sinks nearby to clean up when you're finished.
The South Fork Natural History Museum is open seven days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission for adults is $7, children three to twelve are $5 and under three are free. Very young kids may not get too much out of the museum, but older ones with an appreciation for animals and their habitats will find it enlightening and entertaining. There is a small public restroom, and strollers are not recommended. There are no food options or dining areas at the South Fork Natural History Museum. The museum is directly across the street from the Children's Museum of the East End.
The South Fork Natural History Museum
Official Site: http://www.sofo.org/
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