The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is the center of the universe when it comes to interactive science. Founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair, NYSCI has grown into one of the area’s leading educational institutions that welcomes droves of students, teachers and families each year.
Located in Queens, the museum uses the “Design-Make-Play” method to educate visitors in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. It has 12 permanent exhibit areas as well as several temporary exhibits hosted throughout the year. NYSCI also has a 3-D movie theater and hosts a litany of public programs and events.
NYSCI is always buzzing with activity. Here are a few of the exhibits currently on display, including the museum’s main summer attraction, “Above and Beyond,” which runs through Sept. 8.
“Above and Beyond – The Ultimate Flight Exhibition,” presented by Boeing and produced by Evergreen Exhibitions, is dedicated to all things aviation. The exhibit consists of 15 different components including flight simulation, augmented reality, design and skill challenges, augmented reality and more. Collectively, these experiences immerse visitors in the world of flight, space travel and aerospace innovation, design and technology.
A few of the highlights include the opportunity to design and test a supersonic fighter jet and then face off in a virtual high-speed flying competition, and experience what it’s like to fly like a bird through a flying simulation with motion-sensing technology. Other components of the exhibit include “Beyond the Limits,” a short video celebrating the epic quest to challenge the limits of flight and the power of innovation to propel humans above and beyond every new horizon.
Digital Timeline, a multilayered digital touch-screen, allows visitors to retrace innovators and innovations that have transformed the world through flight, while Future Spacecraft gives visitors a sneak peek at exciting innovations designed to open the space frontier to everyone and propel human astronauts farther than ever before.
The Design Lab is a drop-in space where visitors can explore, build and create. It has various activity spaces,where visitors are challenged to find solutions to real-world problems. Explainers are stationed throughout the Design Lab should guests need any help solving a challenge. Explainers are young men and women, ages 14 to 24, from the community who work on the museum floor, interacting with the public and helping visitors to understand the science behind the exhibits and demonstrations. Since 1986, NYSCI’s Science Career Ladder has enabled more than 4,000 students to serve as Explainers to gain work experience while being exposed to a wide array of STEM career and college pathways.
The activities at Design Lab are frequently changed based on experimentation, reflection, and feedback from guests. This makes each trip to the Design Lab – and to NYSCI – a unique one.
Connected Worlds, held in the Great Hall, is an interactive animated world where visitors’ decisions and actions dictate how the natural world is kept in balance. The six different environments – jungle, desert, wetlands, mountain valley, reservoir and plains – are fed by a 38-foot-high projected “waterfall” that flows out across an 2,300-square-foot interactive floor.
Guests are challenged with keeping their environment flourishing by planting seeds, feeding animals and learning to share the water source among all the “worlds.” The exhibit allows guests to learn about the concepts of sustainability science including feedback loops, equilibrium in a dynamic environment, and casual links and influences.
The fun is not just contained within the walls of the museum. Outside, guests will find several interactive exhibits including the Science Playground. Designed for children of all ages, it features elements such as Archimedes screw and water play area, windpipes, a climbing net, a giant lever, slides, sandboxes and metal drums.