Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Liberty Science Center

The kids and I had a great time at the Liberty Science Center today.  I haven’t been there in years since I thought the little guys were still too young.  While that was true for some things, they were able to enjoy the vast majority of the exhibits.  Both kids had their own cameras and really enjoyed taking pictures themselves.  (I don’t think Vicki’s camera actually worked but having it along kept them from fighting over Georgie’s.)

We started at the top in the Our Hudson Home gallery, which had exhibits pertaining to the Hudson River ecosystem and the way people interact with it.

There was a virtual crane operator game where they could try unloading containers off a ship….


a scoop to try dredging the sand on the bottom of the “river”…


and tanks with a variety of species that are found in the river.  Vicki really liked the turtles….


while Georgie liked the Striped Bass (maybe because I told him that’s what Daddy catches).


I was a little surprised that Vicki recognized the sea urchins.


Our next stop was the Math Midway which was a temporary special exhibit.  Vicki played around with a light and mirrors to show reflective properties….


and they both enjoyed changing the height of supports on a roller coaster to see how fast the car would travel and which set-ups gave the best ride.


Vicki did some geometry puzzles….


and Georgie did a drawing using a harmonograph, a pendulum based drawing tool.


In the Wonder Why gallery they explored the properties of fluids….


and some optical illusions….


did some stop motion animation using blocks…


and had fun being able to see sound waves.


We learned about different forms of energy at the Energy Quest exhibit.    There was a game to learn where the best place was to find oil.  Little model oil rigs were moved to different locations to see if oil would be found.


They were able to make models of different carbon based molecules….


and see how waves can produce energy.


The Eat and Be Eaten exhibit had a variety of animals and showed how they caught their prey or avoided becoming prey.  Vicki really liked the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.


In another gallery, George had a great time playing a video game where you could choose to be a microbe or a T-cell – trying to cause an infection or stop one.  He loves all things computer and video game so he played this for quite a while.


Vicki made a virtual microbe by choosing various options for cell shape and type.IMG_7184

Also in the Infection Connection was a giant model of a nose that would sneeze periodically but the kids both avoided that one.

At the Communication exhibit, they learned about how the brain processes information and Georgie made some digital graffiti. 


Both kids had a great time being silly making digital recordings that they could play back and vary the sound quality.

There was a special exhibit on water where the kids could change around the pipes leading to different fixtures found in a home to see what would be most efficient.  Of course, Georgie needed to take a rest sitting on the toilet.


The exhibit had an interactive station where you could choose to see how many gallons of water are used doing various common household things.  It’s time to fix our dishwasher since hand washing takes WAY more water than using a dishwasher.

The Science Center has a special gallery just for kids from 2 to 5 years old.  Georgie is 6 but Vicki is 4 so we were able to hang out there for a while.  This room had a lot of really fun things to do.

The main feature of the room was a huge contraption where the kids could turn a wheel to use a pulley system to send balls on a ride up to the top where they would twist through a maze of tracks before returning back to the bottom.

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Another wheel activated an air cannon that would shoot the balls up to a target at the top of the structure.


There was a rock wall that Vicki enjoyed “painting” with water….


and tracks where you could build cars and race them down but where Georgie decided he wanted to see how fast the balls from the maze would go.


Vicki played xylophone on some large stones….


and built model bridges with some blocks….


while Georgie spent a lot of his time hanging out in a climbing structure….


or playing on a responsive floor.  This floor reacted to pressure and had a bunch of games for the kids to play like Frogger and Asteroids or just moving piles of balls or swirl colors around.  Georgie liked pushing pool balls into the pockets.


There was also a giant rice bin with scoops and measuring cups where Vicki played for a while.IMG_7227 

The last exhibit we saw was all about Skyscrapers.   There was a shake table where they could build a building then see if the design was strong enough to survive an earthquake. 

Georgie operated a crane to try and move metal plates around and insisted I take his picture standing in a steel girder that was bent in half.



This section also had an exhibit where kids could walk on a steel girder 18 feet above the floor.  In this case, I was glad the kids were too young to fully participate.  They had to be 48 inches tall and Georgie is only 45.5 inches tall (thankfully).

Here are just a few of the many, many pictures Georgie took with his camera at the Science Center. 

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The Science Center was a lot of fun and we had a great time.   They do homeschool weeks a few times a year but from what I hear they get pretty crowded.  I was surprised that there were actually a few school groups there today but it still wasn’t bad at all.   The kids were able to take their time and really enjoy the various exhibits.

On our way out we drove into Liberty State Park to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty.  Georgie saw it from the car on the ride in and really wanted to get a closer look.  It was a cold rainy day so we didn’t get any closer than we could in the car but next Spring I’ll have to take the kids on the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue.  I’ve lived my whole life in New Jersey and I’ve never been to either.



  1. Love the video! Most science centers are great fun--looks like this one was as well! And how neat to see Lady Liberty. I've been to NYC several times, but have never taken the time to see the Statue of Liberty. I think I need to add it to my list of places to visit!

  2. That looks like an awesome museum! The one time we went to NYC when I was in high school we were daunted by the 3 hour wait to go up it, and decided if we're just spending a day there that wasn't a good use of our time.

    The pipe rearranging exhibit sounds really cool.

  3. That is an awesome science museum.

    Have you been to the Sony Wonder Tech Lab in NYC? Another homeschooler told me about it and we really enjoyed it on our trip. The best part is it is free.

  4. Thank you for commenting everyone. Swimtaxi - I'll have to check out the Sony Lab. I never heard of it.