[[m:####Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum's staff of maritime experts collate the histories, folklore, and artifacts that illustrate Long Island's relationship with the sea. The museum's collection ensures an in-depth look at Long Island's history of whaling with more than 6,000 artifacts and archival objects, including the only fully equipped 19th-century whaling boat with the original furniture and scrimshaw flat-screen television. Interactive education courses for all ages teach kids about the oceanic sciences and engage them in themed arts-and-crafts events. Adult workshops range from drawing and sketching seminars to book readings and discussions. Before leaving, guests can peruse the gift shop, which brims with knickknacks and doodads for all ages, including boatswain's whistles and ships in bottles.:m]]
The Long Island Museum contains a permanent collection of more than 40,000 pieces from the late 1700s to the present. Visitors can explore the museum's American art, historic documents, and full-size carriages to get an idea of what life was like in the past. The museum also hosts special events designed to engage the community and invite people to the museum, and will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children encourages kids to learn through play with permanent and traveling exhibits tailored to different age levels and activities designed to develop growing brains. The newly renovated 22,000-square-foot space—which boasts five main galleries with more than 100 hands-on activities—was founded in 2000 to expand children's minds through an interdisciplinary mix of subjects, including art, culture, literacy, and string theory. Because kids learn best by doing, the museum's interactive exhibits are perfect for improving cognitive function. Tykes 0–36 months explore the multidimensional Tot Town, and the futuristic Energy Lab powered by wind, water, and sun keeps older kids conducting experiments amid an array of vibrant colors and textures. Outside, the museum's gigantic open-air tent known as Celebration Courtyard hosts an oversized checkerboard and big foam building blocks. A community garden teaches little ones about butterflies and edible plants, and Healthyville employs computer games to educate kids about nutrition, the body, and why you shouldn't eat fake fruit.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center has come a long way since its founding in 1936. Over the decades, its sprawling grounds have grown to include areas focused on nature, agriculture, astronomy, art, and history. On a hill lies the Henri Bendel Mansion. This once-private residence echoes classic British manor houses with its lead-framed glass windows, half-timbered walls, and stone gargoyles that speak in cockney accents. Visitors can view the ground's sculptures before going inside to gaze at the museum galleries and rotating exhibitions, which explore topics in art and pop culture.
Back outside, more than 80 acres of nature trails wind through the trees. One such trail leads to Nature's Playground, where kids soar down slides and play in a treehouse. Elsewhere, the accessible Wheels in the Woods trail lets people of all abilities explore the forest.
Crossing over Bendel's Pond brings visitors to Heckscher Farm, where kids learn basic animal care. The New England?style farm, which stands next to an otter pond, home to otters Bert and Edie, encompasses structures such as the Cheshire Barn, which was built in 1750 and houses heritage-breed animals, including chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, cows, and llamas. The Stamford Observatory sits west of the farm and offers visitors an opportunity to peer into a 22-inch research telescope (on Friday evenings, weather permitting), to view the night sky.
The Long Island Maritime Museum records, restores, and displays the history and story of life on the water of Long Island. The main building of the campus occupies the former Meadow Edge estate, and other historical nautical buildings from around the island have been transplanted to its grounds. These structures include exhibits such as the Wrecks & Rescuers exhibit, based on the annals of the United States Life-Saving Service. They also contain the Edward Smith Library of local nautical history and a collection of 19th- and 20th-century boat-racing trophies.
The museum's prized possession does not reside on dry land, though. In the nearby harbor, a fully restored 1888 oyster sloop named Priscilla can still venture out into the bay for both public and private sails.
The Nassau County Museum of Art blurs the line between nature and art. Surrounding a two-story museum full of 19th- and 20th-century American and European masterpieces are 145 acres of lush gardens. Visitors who view works by acclaimed artists will also bear witness to the brushstrokes of Mother Nature as they walk eight trails and visit a formal garden designed by renowned landscape architect Marian Cruger Coffin. On these paths, they'll find a meticulously restored water tower, a historic garden trellis and more than 40 sculptures by lauded figures such as Richard Serra and Tom Otterness.
But such a collection of beauty both natural and handmade didn't just fall out of the sky. The estate originally belonged to long-time editor of the New York Evening Post and patron of the arts William Cullen Bryant. It then changed hands several times before becoming a gift from US Steel co-founder Henry Clay Frick to his son, Childs. It was Childs' naturalism that made the grounds what they are today.
Today, Nassau County carries this tradition forward with its permanent collection of more than 500 pieces, as well as rotating exhibitions. In addition, the museum hosts plenty of programs and events for youngsters and adults alike, including artist lectures and drop-in art workshops.