Long Island Children's Museum
|The Long Island Children's Museum is one of the top family attractions on Long Island. Located on Museum Row in Garden City, it's a great spot for indoor exploration and play.|
The entrance to the Long Island Children's Museum is a bright and cheerful atrium with a horse from the Nunley's Carousel in the center (the museum is raising money to put up the restored carousel on the grounds at Museum Row). There are two large and paved parking lots on either side of the LICM building, and the museum has smartly located restrooms right at the entrance for those kids who really couldn't wait to get out of the car. Once inside, it seems that just about every kid makes a dash right for the bubbles. This room provides lots of sloppy fun as kids can experiment with making bubbles of every size, including a platform where they can raise a hula hoop and put themselves inside a giant bubble. It does get a little slick in this room, but the floors drain well and have a good gripping surface.
Next door to the bubbles is a beach area with sand for kids to play in and nice wooden chairs for the parents to take a rest in. There are sand toys all around, and a display of wildlife found on the beach, including a board that lets you hear the calls of many of Long Island's native sea birds. Another large and fascinating display shows off samples of the sand at many of Long Island's beaches. It's amazing the variety of sand color and makeup found here on our shores.
The tool box area features projects for older kids. Surrounded by displays that demonstrate the workings of pulleys and levers, there are a number of projects that kids can work on with all of the materials supplied. The cafeteria and classrooms are also located in the back end of the first floor.
The TotSpot is the LICM's indoor playground, where kids can climb and explore on props like a Long Island Rail Road car, a lighthouse and a motorcycle. There is also an extensive reading area. The TotSpot has a limited capacity and is generally in high demand, so you'll be given an entrance time when you get your tickets. On very busy days, this time may be a few hours after you get there, so you might have to plan around this time (so make sure you don't lose your tickets!).
The stairs to the second floor have a landing that acts as the entrance to their communication station. There are terminals all around where kids can communicate via telephones, videophones and even a telegraph. If you're visiting with a stroller or need an alternative to the stairs, there is also an elevator to the second floor. There is a lot of open space at the LICM so moving around with a stroller is fairly easy, even on crowded days. The ClimbIt ramp that winds over some of the first floor galleries is a popular spot for stroller parking. Back at the communication station, kids can also enjoy their 15 minutes of fame on a television studio set complete with green screen and teleprompter.
In the mUSic gallery, children are encouraged to bang away on the hands-on percussion instruments. Luckily, the whole area is behind doors to contain the noise. The doors, by the way, are very smartly designed with portholes at eye level and at knee level so that you can see if there are any small children on the other side before opening the door. A second room gives a glimpse of some of the science of sound, with screens that highlight the vibrations of guitar strings and some common household objects that have been made into instruments.
The most popular room in the mUSic gallery is the lighting effects area, where a large control board gives kids the chance to choreograph a light show to music that is being played over speakers. This is actually a pretty small area and the demand is high, so it's best to keep an eye on the room and enter when you have an opening. Two or three kids at most can work together on the control board.
The Bricks & Sticks area combines old school building blocks with computer CAD simulators to demonstrate a variety of building techniques. The extensive block building in the center provides the inspiration for young architects, and the magnetic building sets demand creativity. The Pattern Studio lies just outside of Bricks & Sticks, and continues the theme with an exploration of patterns in design and gives kids the chance to create tile and brick patterns. There is also a very popular design computer (shaped like a doll house) where kids can use software to design the interior of an entire home.
At the It's Alive! gallery, there are displays that kids can crawl under and through to explore the different places where wildlife make their homes. Real plants and animals are combined with artificial ones to create a place where kids are free to touch and explore as well as observe the real thing.
A nautical display shows many of the sea creatures of Long Island's waters closeup. There is also an area about the human body, with interactive displays that let kids place organs in their correct places and view x-rays of the human body.
The Long Island Children's Museum is open every day during summer vacation from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the school year, they are closed on Mondays. Admission is $9.00 for adults and children, kids under 1 are free. There is a traveling exhibit space that features something new to explore on nearly every visit. There is also a theater that presents shows throughout the year. The LICM is good for at least three hours, and older kids that are engaged in the activities can spend a whole day without getting bored. Its location on museum row means that it can be combined with a visit to the Cradle of Aviation and the Firefighter's Musuem.
The Long Island Children's MuseumOfficial Site: http://www.licm.org/
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