Garvies Point Museum
|The Garvies Point Museum in Glen Cove has an interesting mix of geological and historical exhibits that will engage kids who are interested in dinosaurs, rocks or Native Americans.|
The museum is located on a bluff overlooking Hempstead Harbor. You have to wind through some local streets to get to the museum, but there are very helpful signs located all along the approach. The parking at Garvies Point is a large paved lot that is well-marked and easy to navigate. It's a short walk to the museum entrance, and there is also a driveway that can be used for dropping people off close to the museum and picnic area.
You enter and exit the museum through the gift shop, which is full of toys and shiny rocks, so be prepared for some grabbing when you get in. The first set of exhibits focuses on the geologic history of New York. A number of displays let kids touch the different kinds of rocks that are found throughout New York State. Others showcase the variety in color and texture of stones like quartz.
This section is also the home of a number of different fossils. Some, like the woolly mammoth display, feature entire bones intact. Others display smaller fossils embedded into rock, most of which you can touch. Children will be interested to see the fossilized remains of dinosaurs that were found right here on Long Island, although they were most likely carried here by the glacier that formed our home some 20,000 years ago. The exhibit does a good job of showing how unlikely fossils are to form, and of displaying the different types of stone they are most often found in.
The second half of the museum focuses on Native American life on Long Island, and also on some of the archeological science that goes behind the research. A large miniature display of a dig site details the many jobs that researchers carry out on site and some of the obstacles they face. Another display highlights the layers in which remains are often found and what scientists can glean from each layer. A window lets visitors take a peek into an archeological laboratory.
The exhibit is full of elaborately detailed dioramas that focus of different aspects of Native American life. Many are complemented by actual artifacts that have been found at dig sites. They do a great job of illustrating how life changed with the seasons and the impact of European arrival. The windows are a little high for smaller children, but they're at a good height for older kids who would get the most out of the displays. If you're visiting with someone in a stroller, the whole museum is on one level and mostly open, making getting around a snap.
The rear of the museum features a wide open space with nice views of the harbor. There are examples of dugout and bark canoes as well as a wigwam. Again, there are plenty of hands-on opportunities here. Kids will find a table full of pelts, some stone tools, and a corn grinder that they can try for themselves. Back towards the museum entrance, there is a theater where short films about Native American life are shown.
The museum is located on a nature preserve and there are walking trails outside. The trails feature habitats as varied as deep woods and rocky waterfront. The trails are not paved and the steps can be a little steep, so this is strictly for older kids unless you're willing to do some carrying. More importantly, you need to be on the lookout for ticks in the warmer weather. There is a large picnic area that sits between the parking lot and the museum entrance that also serves as the gateway to the trails.
The Garvies Point Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for children between the ages of five and twelve. They are closed on Mondays, including major holidays. There are restrooms at the museum, but there is no food available. There is a vending machine for beverages. A visit there should last between one and three hours, depending on how interested your kids are in the subject matter and whether you're exploring the nature trails.
The Garvies Point MuseumOfficial Site: www.garviespointmuseum.com
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