The New York Hall of Science 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. It 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 3D movie theater and hosts a litany of public programs and events.
NYSCI is always buzzing with activity. Here are a few of the museum’s main exhibits and attractions that are a must-see during any visit.
The Design Lab is a drop-in space where visitors can explore, build and create. It has various activity spaces, where guests 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.
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.
Also located outdoors is Rocket Park Mini Golf. This nine-hole miniature golf course is designed to teach players the science of spaceflight. Key concepts such as propulsion, gravity, escape velocity, launch window and gravitational assist are explored along the way. There is an additional fee of $6 for adults and $5 for children and seniors to play.
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.” Guests learn about the concepts of sustainability science including feedback loops, equilibrium in a dynamic environment, and casual links and influences.
The museum has a state-of-the-art 3D movie theater, complete with a 22-foot wide screen. It plays a variety of educational videos as well as award-winning scientific movies throughout the year.
Have you visited the New York Hall of Science? Tell us about your experience in the comments.