Long Island Science Museums

- Where the whole family can learn about science in Nassau and Suffolk Counties

Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
••• Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, NY. Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

Whether you and yours are interested in astronomy, geology, the secrets of DNA or other topics, there's a science-related museum on Long Island to educate and entertain. From the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum with its focus on Long Island's whaling industry past and today's preservation of these giant mammals, to the DNA Learning Center with its wealth of information on the workings of genes, Long Island, New York offers visitors and residents alike a variety of excellent science museums.

Here's a list to get you and the whole family started on your LI science adventure.

  • 01 of 10

    Teachers, take note: the Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Museum offers FREE programs and tours of the lab for children in grades 1 through 8. (Note that teachers will have to make their own arrangements for a bus or van to transport students around the site.)

    There are onsite programs as well as outreach workshops.

    Brookhaven Laboratory Science Museum
    William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46)
    Brookhaven, NY
    (631) 344-4495

  • 02 of 10

    Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

    Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
    ••• Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, NY. Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

    With exhibits that chronicle Cold Spring Harbor's maritime past, the museum features regularly scheduled family programs throughout the entire year. You can also have your children's birthday parties at the museum, and they also host museum sleepovers on specifically scheduled days.

    Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
    301 Main Street
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    (631) 367-3418

  • 03 of 10
    Lunar Module Cradle of Aviation Museum
    ••• Lunar Module. Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

    This excellent museum chronicles the history of flight from dreams of soaring to hot air balloons to Long Island's first flight in 1909. Visitors will see actual planes including a sister airplane of Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis," a Republic P-84B Thunderjet built in Farmingdale, a Grumman Lunar Module LM-13, built in Bethpage in 1972, and much more that relates to planes and other machines that go up in the sky.

    Cradle of Aviation Museum
    Charles Lindbergh Boulevard
    East Garden City, NY on Museum Row
    (516) 572-4111

  • 04 of 10
    Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Dolan DNA Learning Center offers some free programs to the public. In addition, one Saturday a month from October to June, there's a Saturday DNA! program, some for ages 10-13 with accompanying adult, and others for students ages 14 to adult with accompanying chaperone for participants under 15. The cost is $15 per person and all sessions last two hours. Teacher training workshops are also available.

    Dolan DNA Learning Center
    334 Main Street
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    (516) 367-5170

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Garvies Point Museum & Preserve

    Garvies Point-Dugout Canoe
    ••• Garvies Point-Dugout Canoe built by Boy Scouts of Mineola. Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
    Garvies Point Museum and Preserve chronicles the cultural and natural history of Long Island, with interactive exhibits and more on the geology of the Island, and a focus on Native American archaeology.

    Garvies Point Museum
    50 Barry Drive
    Glen Cove, NY
    (516) 571-8010/11

  • 06 of 10
    Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
    ••• Hicksville Gregory Museum - Geode. Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

    From a fascinating rock collection including fossils and an exhibit on fluorescent stones to a 5 1/2-foot long replica of a Mosasaur skull, the Hicksville Gregory Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Earth Science.

    The museum offers a variety of educational programs in the Earth Science, and these are for all age levels. There are also tours for senior citizen, scout and other groups. Field trips are also available. To find out more, contact the museum.

    The Hicksville Gregory Museum - Long Island Earth Science Center
    1 Heitz Place
    Hicksville, NY
    (516) 822-7505

  • 07 of 10
    Long Island Aquarium Seal Exhibit
    ••• Long Island Aquarium Seal Exhibit. Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

    At the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center (formerly called Atlantis Marine World), the entire family can experience interactive marine exhibits, view a huge shark tank (and you can even arrange for a shark dive, if you dare!), see outdoor sea lion shows, and much more.

    Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
    431 East Main Street
    Riverhead, NY
    (631) 208-9200

  • 08 of 10

    At the Long Island Science Center, learning exhibits and fun, interactive, educational programs make science come alive for children and families. There are also scout programs, teacher training, science birthday parties and much more available.

    In addition, school programs and outreach feature hands-on activities that are age-appropriate for children from pre-K through high school.

    Long Island Science Center
    11 West Main Street
    Riverhead, NY
    (631) 208-8000

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Although this is not your typical museum where you can just drop in and stroll around, there's plenty to do at the Science Museum of Long Island. This not-for-profit science activity center features hands-on science workshops, all of which require pre-registration. These workshops are typically scheduled for children during school vacations and on weekdays.

    The museum also offers field trips that teachers and community leaders can arrange to enrich their students' regular lessons.

    Visit the Science Museum of Long Island website to find out about their scheduled activities, and if you want to enjoy the museum, you have to register for one of their programs. Phone their registrar at (516) 627-9400, extension 10 to sign up.

    Science Museum of Long Island
    1526 N. Plandome Road
    Plandome, NY
    (516) 627-9400

  • 10 of 10

    The former Gold Coast mansion was once the estate of William K. Vanderbilt II. Within the sprawling 43-acre expanse, you'll find a marine museum, natural history specimens, a collection of ethnographic objects and more.

    There is also a planetarium with regularly scheduled sky shows.

    Check the Vanderbilt Museum website for children's and adult's workshops and children's summer programs.

    Vanderbilt Museum
    180 Little Neck Road
    Centerport, NY
    (631) 854-5555