Long Island Children's Museum (Giveaway Inside!)
May is museums month here at Mommy Poppins Long Island. Long Island is rich with museums--children's museums, art museums, cultural museums, science museums, you name it. And while just a couple are devoted exclusively to children, nearly all of them offer some great programs for kids and families. And we're going to spotlight as many of them as we can. We're starting off with Long Island's museum just for kids—the Long Island Children's Museum.
My family has been visiting the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City for many years. As a preschooler, my son loved imagining being a train conductor while playing in the “Tot Spot’s” LIRR car. I loved imagining what kind of student he would one day be while observing him in a classroom setting in the “stART (story + art)” classes. We would spend hours creating musical masterpieces in the music rooms, architectural masterpieces in “Bricks and Sticks” and soapy masterpieces in the “Bubbles” gallery. He was thrilled when he finally grew tall enough to explore the legendary two-story, climbing structure “ClimbIt” and grew old enough to wield a hammer in “The Tool Box.” Secretly, I was thrilled when he was old enough to role-play in the “Communication Station” so he could banter with me, his coanchor, on a News 12 broadcast and on his “own” radio show in the “Radio Room” (I would have loved that gallery as a kid!).
LICM’s event calendar, chock full of theater performances, fun and educational workshops and three traveling exhibits a year also enable children to have a new experience with each visit to the museum. There’s not a bad seat in the house at the 145-seat theater. Performances by musicians, storytellers, and theater groups grace the stage of the LICM theater entertaining and educating kids of all ages. Performances are interactive, allowing children to really engage with performers and with educators at workshops that typically follow performance. Exposing your children to the educational and entertaining performances at LICM is a great way to cultivate a lifelong love of the performing arts.
Three new exhibits come to LICM each year. Our recent visit enabled us to don explorer’s khakis and follow clues left behind by a fictional team of archeologists in pursuit of a priceless jade medallion. Through imaginative play; entertaining video; and fun, interactive displays, my son and I both learned a lot about the advanced writing and mathematical systems of the Mayans. There are only a few days left to catch “Mystery of the Mayan Medallion,” as it closes on May 6th! Mid-June brings the next exhibit, “Framed: Step Into Art”, which will allow children to experience art in a whole new way! The exhibit will enable visitors to step into scenes of famous paintings, curate their own art gallery, create their own version of the Mona Lisa and take part in an art hunt! Kids can continue their creative streak by signing up for a “stART (story + art)” class, a “Messy Afternoons” class, or simply join in the lobby for the monthly craft project. See LICM’s website for information on classes.
During our last visit, we were lucky enough to meet (and yes, pet!) the museum’s newest residents Franklin the Box Turtle, Frankie the Rat, and Yoshi the Bearded Dragon. These creatures are all part of the newest permanent exhibit “Feasts for Beasts.” The exhibit allows children to investigate in a very hands-on approach exactly what animals like to eat. Anchoring the exhibit is a very cool Animal Diner where kids can pretend to be waiters and waitresses and try to serve up the proper menu to the boa constrictor, black bear, raccoon and beaver patronizing the diner. Don’t miss the fascinating LICM Observation Beehive located in the room behind the live animal exhibit. The hive was saved from a downed tree after Hurricane Irene and the colony is now thriving at LICM. Check out the snacks available for purchase in this room as well. Will you be so brave as to taste a sour cream & onion–flavored cricket or indulge in a lollipop with an edible scorpion inside?
There are some very special events on the calendar in May at LICM. May 19th is LICM’s annual “NanoDay.” NanoDay is celebrated nationwide and focuses on nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future. May 20th marks the reopening of the museum’s beloved outdoor exhibit “Our Backyard” as well as “Bug Bonanza” where kids will discover many amazing things about insects. Crafts, activity challenges, and yes, even a tasty treat with edible insects is all part of the lineup for the day. Arrive early to sign up for special presentation by a real entomologist.
Long Island Children’s Museum is located at 11 Davis Avenue in Garden City. There is an on-site cafeteria which serves as a great place to take a rest and eat a packed lunch. Daily admission is $11 per person. Membership packages pay for themselves after just three visits and allow unlimited free visits, invites to sneak previews of exhibits and special events and discounts on theater performances and the gift shop for two years and more.
One lucky reader will get a chance to check out all the museum has to offer for themselves. The museum is offering a family four-pack of tickets good for one-day admission to LICM. To win, just e-mail your full name, along with your favorite exhibit or aspect of the museum (or the one you want to check out for the first time) to email@example.com by midnight Monday, May 7. A winner will be selected at random and announced on our Facebook page on May 8. Good luck!