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.
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.
The Katonah Museum of Art believes that art is a living thing. To keep it going, the museum mounts 10?12 dynamic exhibitions every year, featuring works ranging from Jasper Johns' prints to picture-book illustrations to larger-than-life sculptural installations. Through innovative exhibitions and education programs, the museum promotes an understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences. The pieces showcase all cultures and time periods. Despite this diversity, the art adheres to common themes: the exploration of new ideas, art, culture, and society.
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.
[[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]]
Family owned since 1968, WestArt Gallery charges toward the half-century mark behind its motto, "You name it, we'll frame it." The business services both retail and wholesale clients at two locations, including one in Yonkers, where all orders are completed on the premises. WestArt clients can also browse the Thornwood show room, stocked with a variety of artwork and custom framing choices. There, steady hands seal special mementos behind glass, such as photographs, diplomas, and apprehended art thieves. When they're not situating frames around keepsakes, the WestArt staff is re-varnishing oil paintings to ensure that pigments remain glossy and vibrant well beyond their expiration date.