Age of the Dinosaurs Opens at the Long Island Children's Museum
Return to the Mesozoic Era at the Long Island Children's Museum, where animatronic dinosaurs like the stegosaurus, apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex move and roar above visitors' heads. Interactive features make this exhibit one not-to-miss, especially for paleontologists in training.
Check out our full review below and don't miss our Guide to Museums for Long Island Kids.
Prepare to be greeted by the T-rex.
Age of the Dinosaurs at the Long Island Children's Museum
Walk in to the Long Island Children's Museum and be welcomed by giant foam models of a triceratops and T-rex head. Kids are allowed to climb and mount the triceratops and examine the inside of the giant jaws of the T-rex. The lobby also features an actual cast of a juvenile apatosaurus fossil, dating back millions of years and unearthed more than 80 years ago. This is one of only 20 casts created by the staff at the Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma.
The exhibit is housed next to the bubble room. A metal, animatronic T-rex stands tall just outside the exhibit with remote control buttons for kids to press and move the dinosaur. Children can also build their own wooden dinosaurs by attaching different heads and tails to a prefixed body. Signage encourages children to name their dinosaur, giving them options of different prefixes and suffixes with their meanings. Little ones who can't read will still enjoy piecing together different creations.
Be on the lookout for dino fossils.
While the space of the exhibit itself is small, there is a lot packed in. While the animatronic dinosaurs might grab your attention, it's the interactive features that really make the exhibit shine. Various stations are located next to the animatronic dinosaurs. There is a rubbing plate, where kids can grab paper and a crayon, choose a dinosaur, and reveal their own fossil. There is also a large digging station with brushes for children to wipe away "dirt" and find dinosaur bones. Another station lets children press buttons to hear the unique noises dinosaurs made in different situations. Everything is perfectly accessible for little hands, even toddlers.
Scratch your crayons and watch a fossil come to life.
The animatronic dinosaurs are well made and impressive. There is a roaring Tyrannosaurus rex, a head-waving, tail-wagging stegosaurus, and a pair of protoceratops watching their eggs hatch. An apatosaurus and chasmosaurus are seen with their young. Look above and you'll find a large pteranodon soaring through the sky.
Most weekends, the museum also has public programming, where children can create their own crafts, from hatching baby dinos to light-up jars featuring a prehistoric scene. Check the exhibit page for programming dates.
Age of the Dinosaurs runs through May 29. The Long Island Children's Museum is located at Charles Lindbergh Boulevard on Museum Row, right off the Meadowbrook Parkway and not far from the Long Island Rail Road's Garden City or Hempstead stations.
Photos by the author