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.
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.
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.
Flanked by seven other aircraft, a Grumman F-11 hangs suspended in a shallow dive over the main entrance to Cradle of Aviation Museum?s four-story glass atrium. Three viewing levels on wraparound balconies afford views of the aircraft that only fellow pilots in close formation ever saw when it was in service. The 150,000-square foot facility?s eight exhibits grant similarly intimate glimpses of more than 75 aircraft and spacecrafts that trace the historic path of Long Island?s aviation contributions since 1870. Those artifacts include a replica of the Wright Brothers? 1899 kite, five aircraft made in Long Island for World War II, and the Grumman Lunar Module LM-5 ?Eagle,? which transported Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to that soundstage that looked like the moon.
Patrons also get a chance to soar skyward in the X-Ride Theater, a 30-seat motion simulator whose ?Fly with the Blue Angels? film mimics the piloting of a U.S. Navy squadron jet. Over in the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium and the Leroy R. & Rose W. Grumman Dome Theater, the immersive screens bring to life subjects such as Lewis and Clark's journey and National Geographic's Wildest Weather in the Solar System. After riding the Historic Nunley's Carousel, which was built in 1912, guests can reenergize over a meal in the Red Planet Cafe, whose space station d?cor evokes a Martian cafeteria in the year 2040.
An entire city can be built within Long Island Children's Museum. All it takes is a little imagination, and a basic understanding of architectural principles like balance and proportion. Luckily, the "Best of Long Island"-winning museum's Bricks & Sticks and Building Boom with KEVA exhibits teach those very concepts. Museum educators and interactive software provide inspiration as kids (and adults) design and shape skyscrapers, castles, bridges, and more out of blocks.
Those building activities are just two of the 14 hands-on exhibits that take families across the museum's grounds. The TotSpot area lets the youngest visitors slide and play on age-appropriate equipment, while other galleries let kids explore outdoor gardens, step inside giant bubbles, and film mock-newscasts, complete with hard-hitting expos?s on just who is the real John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. Even the onsite theater has an interactive element. Here, actors and musicians often invite kids on stage to join in on the performance.
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.