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.
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.
Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
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.
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.
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.
Garvies Point Museum & Preserve
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.
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 citizens, scout and other groups. Field trips are also available. To find out more, contact the museum.
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.
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.
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.
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.