7 Great Museums on Long Island for Kids

7 Great Museums on Long Island for Kids

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From art to nature and everything in between!

Since having kids of my own, there aren't many places I would rather visit than a children's museum. Museums geared toward kids offer the best of both worlds - learning and fun! It just so happens that there are tons of children's museums in the New York area including 7 great ones on Long Island alone.

Long Island's children's museums offer great hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences. From learning about dinosaurs to STEM-specific activities there is something for every family to enjoy. Check out our picks for the best family-friendly museums on Long Island.

Long Island Children's Museum 

This Nassau County children’s museum puts the fun in learning. Year-round kids can get hands-on with bubbles, tools, blocks, and more. Some of the interactive exhibits include Feasts for Beasts, where kids can explore different animal’s diets, Broken? Fix it!, where kids are encouraged to put broken things back together again, and Sandy Island, an imaginary beach where children can fish and play with sand. Currently on display is Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice.

Heckscher Museum of Art 

At The Heckscher Museum of Art kids can draw on a digital screen to create their own sharable artwork, take a photo at the selfie station, or create their own artwork inspired by the museum’s current exhibits. Family Tours are offered for children ages 5-10 on select Sunday’s throughout the month. The tours include an activity for children and cost $5. The museum houses a number of major works including art from local Long Island artists.

Long Island Science Center

This STEM-focused museum has a number of programs in which kids can get involved. Current exhibits include Rainforest Animals, where kids can see a python, an iguana, a hissing cockroach, and a gecko. Kids can also get up close with the models of Leonardo da Vinci, through replicas of his bridges and helicopters. The museum often hosts special Saturday Science events where kids can learn about things such as trains or exotic animals.

Vanderbilt Museum 

Visitors to this museum will quickly learn that it’s not just one museum, but several different offshoots that include a planetarium, a historical mansion, and ocean-themed exhibits. At the planetarium, kids can learn all about the stars and planets and get a closer look at the Earth’s climate system. You can also take a mansion tour and learn about the history of William K. Vanderbilt II’s 24-room, Spanish-Revival mansion. The museum exhibits house findings from Mr. Vanderbilt’s oceanic expeditions, including a 32-foot whale shark, the world’s largest taxidermied fish.

Children's Museum of the East End 

This museum was started by several Long Island mothers who wanted to create more educational experiences for kids on the East End. The museum offers mommy and me classes as well as a ton of activities for kids each month. Permanent exhibits include an art studio, a tree house, a windmill, and a Main Street where kids can take part in some imaginative play. There is also a mini-golf course that is entirely wheelchair accessible.

Railroad Museum of Long Island

Train lovers, rejoice! This trains-only museum has two locations on Long Island, in Greenport and Riverhead. Visit the Riverhead site for interactive exhibits of historic rail cars and locomotives, guided tours, and a ride on the museum's 1964-1965 New York World Fair's miniature train. Visit the Greenport site to see the passenger station, railroad dock, turntable, and exhibits of railroad artifacts.

Cradle of Aviation Museum

This museum houses several permanent exhibits, a planetarium, and a motion simulator. Its mission is to educate visitors of all ages on aerospace science and technology. Exhibits feature replicas and models of 75 air and spacecrafts, 30 hands-on experiences including several flight simulators, and six cockpits that visitors can sit in. Fly with the Blue Angels or board a deep-sea submarine in the X-Ride Theater, a 30-seat, giant motion simulator.

Main image: X-Ride at Cradle of Aviation Museum, courtesy Cradle of Aviation Museum

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