A Visit to the New York Hall of Science with Kids

We were very pleased to receive an invite from the New York Hall of Science to visit the museum with the family. It had everything you want in a science museum: interactive and educational exhibits for kids of all ages, areas to build and create, 3-D movies, and the best part – a science playground! There was so much to explore and discover that we cannot wait to go back to the New York Hall of Science and bring our out of town guests to experience this museum. Here is a review of what we did on our visit to the NY Hall of Science with kids.

NYSCI

How to Get to the New York Hall of Science

The NY Hall of Science is located in Queens, New York (right across from Citi Field where the NY Mets play). The address is 47-01 111th Street, near Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It is very accessible by train or bus if you are in the NY area. If you are traveling by train: take the 7 train to 111th Street station. Walk along 111th Street towards 47th Avenue. If you are traveling by bus: take the Q23 or the Q58 to Corona Avenue and 108th Street. Take the Q48 to 111th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

We live in Southern Connecticut, so it was a 50 minute drive from our house. The museum is right off the highway, and easy to find. You can park in their lot for $10. Although, they were gracious enough to give us a parking pass for the day.

NYSCI Entrance
Entrance to New York Hall of Science

What to Do at NYSCI – Science Museum NYC

Once you arrive at the New York Hall of Science, you are given a map to help guide you around (trust me you will need it – this place is huge). My kids (ages 8 and 10) walked ahead and went straight to the first exhibit: Search for Life Beyond Earth.

The kids really enjoyed touching a rock from Mars, exploring how much water weight they had and learning about where microbes are found. One of the interesting parts of this exhibit was a section about microbes living in the boiling mud in Yellowstone National Park. I love when museum visits connect to our daily lives… we just finished a trip to the National Parks out West and traveled to the boiling mud pots in Yellowstone. The kids were thrilled to have experienced this first hand and then read more about them in the exhibit.

Viator

From there we went to the Science Playground (which was probably the biggest hit). It is considered the largest science playground in the U.S. Through exploration and play, children get to test out the principles of motion, balance, sound, sight and simple machines. Among the many objects to play with include a giant lever, slides, a climbing net, a swing, and much more. Visiting this section does cost extra ($5 per person). We had to pry the kids out of the playground to continue exploring the rest of the museum.

Here are some pictures of all the fun things there are to do in the playground.

From the Science Playground, we went into another active section of the NY Hall of Science – the Sports Challenge. This was another favorite of the kids due to all of the activities they could compete in. You can see how fast you throw a ball in the pitching simulator, ride a surfboard, race a wheelchair or car, rock climb, play with pulleys and bounce a ball on various surfaces.

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We then moved on to the Animation Academy. This was a fun exhibit that is only on display this summer (June until September 2018). Here you can create your own animation drawings, learn how to make your own stop-motion animated short with Gumby characters, and much more! They also had a tribute section to Chuck Jones, the creator of Looney Tunes, which the kids really enjoyed since they have seen many of the classic old cartoons.

Our next stop was Connected Worlds, a beautiful interactive exhibit in the Great Hall. The premise of this exhibit is that our actions have consequences to the environment and our surroundings. The goal is to make decisions on the mat that will keep the world in balance (which you see come alive on the giant screen). Participating in this huge structure does require a free timed ticket, and due to the amount of people already there, the next time wasn’t for another 45 minutes. We watched other guests for a few minutes and saw the screens change depending on what they did, but did not actively participate.

At this point, it was time for lunch. The Dining Hall included a simple offering of pizza, sandwiches, burgers and chicken nuggets. It was nothing spectacular, but it was just enough to keep us fueled for the rest of our adventures around the museum.

After lunch we visited the Evolution of Health Connection which was all about exploring how health science has changed throughout our evolution. There were also interesting exhibits about illnesses and their prevention. Afterwards, we entered the Mathematica section and the kids were able to explore the many uses of numbers and their role in science. We then wandered into the Seeing the Light exhibit and explored how the eye works with the brain to “see” different things. The kids really enjoyed the Hall of Mirrors and optical illusions along with the kaleidoscope of colors screen and playing with soap bubbles.

Our last stop was towards the bottom area of the Central Pavilion. This is where all of the design labs, building areas, maker’s space and workshops were located. They kids enjoyed building a fort with foam and designing a structure with dowels and rubber bands. They played in a climbing structure called the Treehouse and watched a workshop on a cow eye dissection. In the future, I would like for the kids to participate in the maker’s space. I saw a few children working in a small group with an employee. There are various workshops scheduled daily.

We did our best to try and visit each section of the Hall of Science. However, as I mentioned before, the museum is huge and it was difficult to see it all. My sister, who has a toddler, went to the Preschool Place area and enjoyed her time there. There were many activity sections with different types of theming, toys, music, books and a play mat. If you have children of various ages, this section could be very useful to keep little ones entertained.

Our family did not attend a show in the theatre, as the kids did not have an interest in the Flight of the Butterflies and Saturn’s Rings (although my husband and I would have happily seen the movies). We also did not visit the Rocket Park area. They were pretty disappointed that the Rocket Park mini golf was temporarily closed.

All in all, our day at the NY Hall of Science was a success! The whole family was able to explore, play, discover and interact with various exhibits. We even met up with family from Long Island and Manhattan and spent a wonderful day catching up and enjoying the children. If you are looking for some unique ideas on what to do when visiting New York City, consider a food tour. We have done three and highly recommend them all:

Save 42% or more on New York’s 6 best attractions with CityPASS – Shop Now!

Admission to the New York Hall of Science

The NY Hall of Science is open on weekdays from 9:30 am – 5 pm, and weekends from 10 am – 6 pm (excluding some holidays). Admission is $16 per adult, $13 for children (2-17) and $13 for seniors. One of the perks of visiting the museum is that there are Free Days where general admission is free to the public. It happens twice a week: every Friday (2 – 5 pm) and every Sunday (10 – 11 am). The cost of admission does not include the Science Playground, Rocket Park Mini Golf, 3D movies, and certain programs and workshops. If you are looking for other no-cost options in New York, check out these free museums in NYC.

New York Hall of Science Membership

The NY Hall of Science also has two paid membership options which I found to be quite worthwhile for a family.
Option 1 – Family Pass Membership – For $85 you receive:

Discounts for:

  • 3D Theater, Rocket Park Mini Golf and special shows
  • NYSCI educational programs: Innovation Camps, After-School Science Clubs
  • Special reduced rate for birthday parties
  • 50% discount on parking
  • 10% discount at the Science Shop and the Café

Option 2 – Family Premium Membership – For $125 you receive

Discounts for:

  • 3D Theater, Rocket Park Mini Golf and special shows
  • NYSCI educational programs: Innovation Camps, After-School Science Clubs
  • Special reduced rate for birthday parties
  • 10% discount at the Science Shop and the Café

If you are a family of 4 you will likely pay almost $60 just to get in (add $10 more if you are parking). By purchasing either option, you will get your money’s worth if you you go at least twice.

Our kids had such a great time at this museum, that I honestly see the value in purchasing one of these options. There was so much to do and explore, that our kids could easily go back tomorrow and try about 20 new things they did not get to do on our first visit.

Viator

Thank you to the NY Hall of Science for a great day and for hosting our time at the museum. Looking for other ideas around New York?

Five Things to Do Around New York State

The Best of New York City with Kids

Making the Most of Your First Trip to the Big Apple

How I Saved Almost $200 on NYC Tourist Attractions

Getting Broadway Tickets in New York City

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13 thoughts on “A Visit to the New York Hall of Science with Kids”

  1. How fun is this? My kids would love it. Especially the sports simulation, not sure I could pry them away from that. I am so sad that I missed this during our recent visit. We’ll put it on the list for next time.

  2. I want to take my son and husband here badly since they love science a lot! In fact, it’s one of a few reasons my husband wants to visit NYC when I showed him a video from the Mathematica section a few months back.

    1. It really is a great museum to visit. The New York Hall of Science was such a treat for all of us. There is so much to do, and yes the Mathematica section is very cool.

  3. Alright, now I want to know how much water weight I have. LOL. I was never really interested in science museums until I went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco and now I love them. Especially when they distill big theories and laws into situations taht I can understand. I’ll have to put the New York Hall of Science on my bucket list.

    1. It was fascinating. So many exhibits. We stayed for 4 hours and had to move quickly through some areas. The New York Hall of Science is a lot of fun!

  4. How have I never heard of this place!! Looks like a great place to bring the kids – adding to our list of places to see 🙂

  5. This looks so fun! And, I haven’t thought about Gumby in so long! We love NYC but have never been here yet, so I’m putting it on the list for next time.

  6. This looks like such a fun place, my kids would love it! We have been to NY a few times but have never heard of this place, we’ll have to check it out!

  7. I would love to take my son here. I think we will need a day or two to learn all of this information, it looks amazing and very interacting! And definitely there’s lot more information than you can learn in school.

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