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A Day Trip To Queens with Adventure, Sprinklers and Science

April 10, 2012

If you are looking for a phenomenal day of play with intellectual exploration, sprinklers and adventure….we have a great day trip for you in Queens.

You can begin your Queens “play day” at The New York Hall of Science. Their recently opened Maker Space, a new space designed by the Brooklyn-based firm Situ Studio, will feature workshops on topics like sewing, soldering, and programming using open-source hardware. But the real skills being honed will be collaboration, risk-taking, creativity and innovation. Beginning in May, visitors to NYSCI can participate in workshops and drop-in sessions at the space.

If you have younger children,  The Preschool Place there rocks.  The ball run is fascinating and all the kids love playing “grocery store”.  The space itself is well-kept with imaginative interactive exhibits that are too numerous to count, but suffice it to say, that there are enough imaginative games, exhibits and objects to keep any kid fully engaged.

Kids love all the interactive exhibits at  The New York Hall of Science that they can affect with their movement, body and mind. One of the great by-products of the open-space design is that it encourages kids to discuss the exhibits and even collaborate.

Don’t forget to visit the Shadow exhibit on the top floor. Initially, the exhibit seems dull and empty until you realize you are needed to fill it. It’s great fun to see your shadows shift in the room.

If it’s a lovely day then venture out to the 60,000 square feet Science Playground or get in a game of Rocket Park Mini Golf.  We were blown away by the two-level Science Playground.  What’s so great about the Science Playground? There is age-appropriate equipment for the very young up to teens (and plenty of adults love the rocket slides). Each area of the playground is meant to engage:  from funhouse mirrors to colored walkways to whistling doors. There are seesaws, sand pits, and fog machines, water machines and a climbable spider web.  But….do know that this playground is giant.  At 60,000 square feet, there is a lot of space to try and watch two children simultaneously.  With my 3.5 year old racing up and down the slide and climbing the Preschool Spider web while my younger onewas  trying to jump off stairs and run from me at the same time, I wouldn’t have felt at ease watching them by myself. Having my husband there was crucial to my enjoyment of the playground.  There are plenty of benches to sit and enjoy a lunch or a rest.

Accessing the Science Playground does cost an additional $4 per person on top of the general admission fees, but it is worth it.  There are free admission hours to the museum on certain days this spring through June. (check those below).

Rocket Park Mini Golf (2009) is a nice feature that is off The Preschool Place and right in front of the museum. The suggested age for the mini golf is 6 years plus and we found out why. Our 2.5 year old Birch could barely hold the golf club and our 18 month old climbed right into the greens to examine the colorful spaceships and planets. The mini golf park is designed to teach gravity, velocity, propulsion, etc in a fun way. One girl in particular learned what velocity was NOT when she couldn’t get her ball up into the circling Earth station. But, oh, she did try and try!

If you haven’t exhausted yourself or your kids, the nearby “Playground for All Children” ( a 8 minute walk away) in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is definitely worth a visit. This playground is especially great on hot summer days as the water features are exciting and there are plenty of shady areas.  Opened in 1997, this playground, one of a few of its kind in the entire nation, serves children with and without disabilities. It is completely wheelchair accessible.

Kids will love climbing in and out of the colorful houses, trucks and cars, clambering up the stairs and clanging on the musical pipes. There are features for making music with your feet and hands which make lovely sounds for all ears. The sprinkler area is large enough to accommodate many kids and the water element is varied and totally fun for kids to run though by running down one ramp and then into the sprinkle area. For older kids, the basketball courts are a great place to play ball sports or race around on their scooter. This playground is worth a trip just in itself. It’s a lovely place to picnic and watch your kids enjoy one of the most unique playgrounds in the U.S.

Playground for All Children

11101 Corona Ave
Flushing, NY 11368

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th Street
Queens, NY 11368-2950
Groups: 718-699-0301

Getting there:
We drove to Queens (18 minutes from Clinton Hill in Brooklyn or you can take the subway) to the New York Hall of Science.

Adults (ages 18 & older): $11
Children (ages 2 – 17): $8
Students (with college ID): $8
Senior Citizens (age 62 & older): $8

Science Playground: $4 per person, $3 for groups, plus general  NYSCI admission fee. Free for NYSCI Premium, Family Plus, Extended Family and Donor members.

Rocket Park Mini Golf: $6 per person, $5 for children and seniors, plus general NYSCI admission fee. Members: $5 adults, $4 children, students & seniors.

Free Admission: Enjoy free general admission, September through June, on Fridays, 2 – 5 pm; Sundays, 10 – 11 am; and during school vacation weeks on Fridays, 2 – 5 pm; and Sundays, 10 – 11 am. Free general admission is offered on April 6 & 13 between 2 – 5 pm, and on April 8 between 10 – 11 am. Because NYSCI is closing at 1 pm on Sunday, May 6, free hours will be extended on that day until 1 pm.  Free hours are suspended in July and August.