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.
When the drilling of Leduc #1 turned out to be a game-changing discovery of crude oil, it surprised a whole lot of people and essentially put Alberta on the world's map. That was in 1947. Five decades later, Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre was created to showcase the site and its ingenuity, as well as Canada's oil industry.
Here, science and discovery blend into one exciting experience stretched across 80 acres of exhibits, artifacts, and displays. Visitors can feast their eyes on award-winning films, get their hands dirty in an interactive lab, and even take a virtual ride in the world's largest drill bit, which is expected to replace family minivans in the near future. Additionally, tours with industry veterans provide insider facts, and stops to the gift shop ensure memories last long after visits end.
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.
Helmed by the tag-team duo of a New York Times best-selling author and former creative director of New York's Lincoln Center, Pulitzer & Panetta Writing & Art Studio molds artistic minds of any age with workshops that keep the right side of the brain firing on all synapses.
Connected to William K. Vanderbilt II’s 24-room mansion, the 60-foot domed planetarium seats 238 in the Sky Theater, using a Goto star projector and dozens of perimeter slide projectors to display 11,369 stars. Settle in at 8 p.m. to see Journey Through the Solar System, a visually and audibly engaging look at the history, contents, and personality flaws of our beloved solar system, as well as its most ardent explorer, NASA. A video library and laser disks supplement stationary images with moving pictures, an effect that makes the universe and time seem to fly by. Afterward, examine the meteorites and 6-foot-wide moon globe on display in the lobby.