Playing, learning, experimenting and other action verbs aptly describe experiences to be had at the Long island Children's Museum. Located in a beautifully designed and restructured WWII Airplane Hangar, the museum building itself is an experience. Brightly lit, colorful and intriguing, there are so many places to explore that it will take lots of visits before you can actually grasp what there is to do here. Play begins in the Lobby, where there are floor games (under testing and construction) to entertain the kids while parents purchase tickets and memberships. While 'on line' and waiting, people are standing on the 'Line Lizard', which wraps around and takes you to the ticket station. At each space, families are prompted to 'curl your tongue', 'do a dance' or 'hop on one foot.' Somehow makes the process of standing in line more fun. Off the Lobby is a Gift Shop, stocked and stacked with educational toys and games that continue the experiences of the Galleries and encourage the continuing learning experience. A very professional Theater adjoins the Lobby; with 140 seats and fabulous acoustics, the theater is used for professional performances as well as kids' participation. Birthday parties can be scheduled around a Theater Theme. Once inside the Museum, you will be temped to stop at the big yellow bus which leads into TotSpot. This area was designed for youngsters four years old and under. It is so appealing that it's hard to get your kids further into the Museum. But push on to Bubbles, Sandy Island and Tool Box. Rounding out the first floor is a lunch room with vended services for the pause you need before starting up to the second floor. You can begin at the bottom of the wide staircase with Communication Station, which 'happens' on the landing and all the around the stairs on the second floor. (Look for the newsroom and become an 'anchor' or a 'weather forecaster.') Another way to get to the second floor, and more adventurous, is to enter CLIMBIT@LICM, which is a climbing structure that will get you to the top through a wavy floored, hanging structure. Or take the Ramp with your stroller or wheelchair. There IS an elevator for those who like a more sedate ascent. On the second floor you'll find two 'Learning Studios' with either activities to do or a Birthday Party in session. Try out a wheelchair to navigate through Changes and Challenges or opt for sitting in the nest with a parent in It's Alive. Pattern Studio and Bricks and Sticks have so many things to do, to try and to play with, that you'll need to think about a visit back to the nest! The philosophy that drives the exhibit experience is for families to play together, to investigate and to enjoy the process. So don't sit back and watch what the kids do - do it with them!
The Long Island Children's Museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. School groups, scouts and camps can schedule visits through the Box Office, and the Museum offers Birthday Party packages and Corporate Event suggestions. Visit the website at www.licm.org or call (516)224-5800 for more information (but be patient - call volume is extremely high and return calls may take a while). The cost is $8 for adults and children and $7 for adults over 65. Memberships are available at many levels. At any price, it's a bargain!