We visited one of our favorite children’s museums yesterday, New York Hall of Science. And as an added bonus their annual GingerBread Lane exhibit is already up. While my 4 year old’s holiday spirit is already in full bloom, seeing these charming edible houses helped get me there a little quicker.
GingerBread Lane is a collection of over 1050 adorable gingerbread houses displayed in a section of the museum that overlooks the atrium lobby. It’s a short walk or elevator ride from the entrance and takes just a couple minutes to see, given there is no line. If you have patient children the whole exhibit takes maybe 15 minutes tops. Each of these edible cottages is conceptualized, baked and decorated by chef Jon Lovitch, he’s been working on this display all year. GingerBread Lane has won the Guinness World Record for largest gingerbread village in both 2013 and 2014, hopefully again in 2015.
It was definitely charming to see, and the sweet smells of candy and gingerbread linger in the air while you marvel over the miniature village. GingerBread Lane is an ‘added bonus’ to your planned visit to the museum though, not enough of an exhibit to make the trip here just to see it.
Planning an afternoon at the New York Hall of Science is always a good idea. We typically go in the mornings and are normally among a lot of school field trips. Yesterday we arrived after 1:00 and practically had the museum to ourselves. I commented to the staff and they said it’s always really quiet in afternoons, so if you can handle the rush hour traffic heading home, I recommend planning your next visit after 1:00.
We had free run of the space and Brooklyn along with one of her besties took full advantage. One of our first stops was The Sports Challenge Hall. In this area kids are encouraged to test their skills in a variety of sports including baseball, rock climbing, drag racing and surfing. There are underlying principles in physics, physiology and materials being explored but to them it’s just play.
They darted from station to station and tried out everything they wanted without waiting in any lines. They also had a chance to play mini golf. Rocket Park Mini Golf feels like a game of putt putt, but really teaches the laws of motion and gravity. I think 3 & 4 is a bit young for this, their coordination and focus was put to the test, but they had a ball and we had the park to ourselves so no one had to wait for us to make a hole in 30.
Another impressive installation was the exhibit Connected Worlds. This is a room where you interact with a projected, animated world. Your individual movements control the animations via motion detection. The kids played around planting trees, chopping them down and steering streams of water to connect the different virtual worlds.
Another area they loved was the Preschool Place, where the adults had a chance to sit and the kids had a chance to play with the interactive stations designed just for preschoolers.
We also really enjoyed the Design Lab in the Maker Space. In this area there are several mini workshops, in each there is a different problem to solve. In the workshop we tried we had to make a device to send rescue supplies to an imaginary group of stranded people and test it out. We used cardboard, pipe cleaners, tape and foil to design a hot air balloon and spaceship. Then were encouraged to try them out on a zip line and parachute. The kids were allowed to climb up to a deck and throw things off, as you can image they were in heaven. I’m sure this helped instill a deeper understanding of engineering and the design process :).
I think my favorite part of the museum is the remarkable playground. According to my daughter it’s the best playground in NYC. Once again, it was empty. The kids spun themselves into dizzy giggle fits and didn’t want to leave.
We’ll be back here soon. We’re members and it’s the perfect space especially with colder weather moving in. We got stuck in horrendous traffic getting home, but it was still worth it. If you haven’t visited New York Hall of Science, it should go towards the top of your list.
New York Hall of Science, Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park
47-01 111th Street
Queens, NY 11368
Monday – Friday • 9:30 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday • 10 am – 6 pm
Take 7 train to 111th Street Station. Walk three blocks south.
Please Note: For the most up-to-date subway service advisories, please visit www.mta.info.
Q23 or Q58 to Corona Avenue and 108 Street.
Q48 to 111 Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
Adults (ages 18 & older): $15
Children (ages 2 – 17): $12
Students & Seniors (with college ID): $12
Free general admission on Fridays, 2 – 5 pm and Sundays, 10 – 11 am.