New York Hall of Science
|The New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a fun and educational road trip that will appeal to kids of many ages.|
The New York Hall of Science is located in the corner of Corona Park that sits between the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway. This is generally a very congested area as far as auto traffic goes, but there are plenty of signs to direct you to the museum entrance once you get off the expressway. There is a large, paved parking lot that is a short walk from the museum entrance. The Hall of Science is a very popular destination for school groups, so expect buses and lots of kids on school days.
Once inside, there are literally hundreds of hands-on science experiments and demonstrations. Many are geared towards school-aged kids, so the Central Pavilion can be skipped if you're visiting with small children. But if you have a mixed crowd, the Pavilion floor can be accessed easily with a stroller. The very popular bubble table is fun for all ages.
The ramp that leads down to the Pavilion floor gives you a great view of the Mercury capsule that is suspended from the ceiling. All along the way down, there are displays that encourage kids to explore the science behind light and sound.
In the North Wing there are a number of space-related exhibits, including a remote-controlled Mars explorer and workable models of some of the tools used by astronauts. This is also where you will find the preschool area, a gated play space that features a play supermarket, doll houses and toy car tracks. There are many books and even a few more elaborate exhibits that demonstrate simple physics like pulleys and cranks. This is a very secure area with a single entrance and a staff member that records each adult and number of children as you enter and exit.
Upstairs in the North Wing are two great exhibits that feature something for everyone. The sports exhibit lets kids clock their speed when throwing a variety of balls, measure the bounce of different balls, and test their reflexes with life-sized top fuel race cars that need to be shifted through their paces. In addition, an exhibit about networking combines hands-on demonstrations of how computer networks work alongside natural networks, like the huge ant colony.
Outside on the Hall of Science's grounds, you will find the Science Playground. This is a huge space, with lots of areas to explore. Most of the surface here is a soft composite padding, so running (and the inevitable falling) is no problem. There is a separate fee of $4.00 per child to explore the playground.
The outdoor area is open from April through December, and boasts a number of water centers that are ideal for warm weather. An extensive set of metal tools gives kids the chance to churn and redirect a long waterway, and there is a combination fountain and mister that kids can play in. There are also sand boxes, slides and plenty of places to play hide and seek.
The climbing space net is a unique take on the traditional playground jungle gym. It uses a flexible steel rope structure that responds to the climber's weight and demonstrates how the interlocking triangle shapes gives the structure strength.
The Rocket Garden is probably the most famous part of the museum, and it's visible from the Parkway. It's scheduled to open as a miniature golf course in June 2009, but non-golfers will still be able to walk outside and get a closer look at the Atlas and Titan rockets that powered America's Mercury and Gemini programs.
The New York Hall of Science is open seven days a week from April through August. From September through March they are closed on Mondays. The hours vary, but they are generally open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during the week and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends. On Fridays, the museum stays open until 5:00 p.m. and offers free admission after 2:00 p.m. Check their website for schedule specifics. Admission for adults is $11.00 and children between the ages of two and seventeen pay $8.00.
The New York Hall of ScienceOfficial Site: http://www.nyscience.org
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