KidCulture: New York Hall of Science

It’s February break in New York and bitterly cold.  I always try to fill our vacation weeks with interesting activities so we use our time wisely.  Of course, I combine the time with lots of down time, as well, at home watching movies and playing with toys that have long been forgotten.

So, on Monday, feeling ambitious and not yet burnt out from having them home all week (which I am now!), I decided to take the kids on a field trip to the Hall of Science in Flushing, Queens.  It’s a short drive from Westchester, only about a half an hour.

It wasn’t our first trip there.  We have a membership to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum which gives us reciprocal membership so we’ve taken advantage of this perk before.  Plus, I’m a big fan of Queens and Brooklyn and like to get out and explore all that New York has to offer.  In addition, my son is really into space, the stars and rocket ships right now, so this was really the perfect venue for him.  If you think your child is a budding scientist, this is the place for you…and him/her.  There’s a lot to learn here about biology, physics and chemistry, presented in a way that speaks to pre-schoolers.

The Hall of Science is an outstanding museum for children, with over 400 exhibits and daily special events for kids, and one that we have definitely not tired of and won’t anytime soon.  My 5 year-old could not even remember being there before (go figure), so it was even more of a new cultural experience for him.  They happened to have special events for President’s Weekend: Engineering Day and Math Week.  These specials offered unique experiences including crafts and puppet shows in the Pre-School Place that were good for us.   Actually, my kids seemed to be out-growing this area, much to my disbelief after prior visits where I couldn’t get them out!  The museum also had temporary exhibits about molecules and evolution in the main hall which were top-notch and oh, so stimulating.

The kids went from one cool scientific station to another. It’s all very interactive and a great way to spend a cold afternoon.  There’s a sports area upstairs that’s a good place for them to burn up un-used energy. We took a break in the library and read and colored (actually, I needed a rest!).

Some budgetary tips for you when you go:
1. Park your car outside the premises.  Parking is $10 per car and very unneccessary as you can easily park on the surrounding streets.  I have never paid to park.
2. Look for discounts on tickets before you go – they do have free summer entrances, but check their site regardless of time of year.  The museum charges $11 per adult and $8 per child. 
3. To check in coats, it’s $1 per coat – minimize the number of coats before you go.  I actually held onto mine.
4. The food in the cafeteria is not very healthy and is very pricy, so pack your own and bring it with you.  Just buy ice-cream for the kids after a homemade lunch.
5. After your visit, hit Nick’s Pizza in Forst Hills (10826 Ascan Ave, Forest Hills, Tel: 718-263-1126 ).  It’s a very, very kid-friendly estabilshment, using fresh and healthy ingredients.  I had read about it in Time Out Kids and it made the day equivalent to perfection.

Lastly, check out the schedule of events as soon as you arrive.  They have a really good line-up, but you need to know when things are happenings as it’s a really big museum.

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  1. There are also great restaurants within walking distance of the hall. Two that come to mind or Tortelleria Nixtamal and Mama's of Corona.

  2. Wow thanks for the great write up! So glad you and your family had a good time! A note about parking, we only charge when school is out and on weekends. That means that Friday free hours is also free parking or families with pre-schoolers during the week. We are holding a Mommy Blooger open house on March 21st, DM us via our twitter page if you might be interested:

    NYSCI Team

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