(Long Island, N.Y.) Recently, we decided we wanted to take a short road trip with the kids, but didn’t have a clue where to go. We wanted to do something fun and exciting, something we all could enjoy. So I asked around. I’m always looking for fresh ideas and great things to do with the kids, so I consulted the experts…other moms.
I asked some Long Island parents what we could all do as a family that would engage the kids, and keep my husband entertained and not looking to “jump ship” the moment we got there. So a few local moms gave rave reviews–and said I should try the Long Island Children’s Museum.
Sure, sounds fun. So early one afternoon, we buckled the kids in their car seats and headed to the museum. It was an hour drive for us—so I was really hoping the trip would be worth it. Luckily, the kids snoozed in the car on the way there. My husband and I sipped our coffee in the car and hoped it would be fun day, and at least worth the hour drive—there and back. The moment we arrived, the kids had the bright smile on their faces, and during the entire visit, the smiles never wore off.
Two Thumbs up, way up! Actually, make that four, because we all had an amazing time. And as it turns out, were not alone. The Long Island Children’s Museum attracts 250,000 visitors annually and has so much to offer kids of all ages. With 14 exhibit galleries, 3 learning studios for workshops and programs and a 145-seat theater with topnotch sound and lighting, we spent the entire day there and still wanted more. As soon as I buckled the kids into their seats to come home, they were asking when we could come back. There is so much to see, do, and touch. Yes, touch. While many museums have a hands off policy, this one get kids to use all of the senses, and have fun while doing it.
So many exhibits, so little time. This place is big! LICM is actually housed in a former airplane hangar in Mitchel Field and as a result of a 17 million capital campaign, it was completely renovated. At one point, we felt like we were rushing through all the amazing exhibits, because there were so many cool things to do, climb on, explore, mess up, build–I didn’t want the kids to miss out. But when we got to the Bubbles gallery, we just couldn’t peel them away. Bubbles, in all shapes and sizes. There’s even a spot to play with sand. What kid doesn’t love sand? (I couldn’t help but cringe when my son dumped a handful of sand on the floor. I kept thinking: Someone has to clean that up!) Along with the fun stuff are real opportunities to learn and be challenged.
Kid-friendly. Just about every aspect of the museum was kid-friendly, but what shocked me the most was how parent friendly the staff was. Not once, but twice, I dropped something on the floor, and some smiling staff member was there to help me pick it up. Really, I was quite surprised how helpful everyone was. I asked where the cafeteria was, and a staff member actually walked me there. The enthusiasm and kindness of everyone who worked there made a lasting impression.
Got to love the “TotSpot”. There’s a special room in the museum called the TotSpot, where kids and run free and play and the parents could kick back and get off their feet. I loved this room, There were books to read and plenty for the kids to do: run, climb, role-play, dress up. The room is filled with toddler-friendly toys and other kids to interact with. There are tickets specifically for this room to ensure there aren’t too many kids and things don’t get too hectic.
You say it’s you’re birthday! Long Island Children’s Museum is also a great place to throw your child’s next birthday bash. The museum offers party packages that will make a lasting impression on young partygoers. The big-time bonus: It’s cool, it’s different, and there’s no cleanup! Included in the party packages are invitation, paper goods, a LICM T-shirt for the birthday boy or girl, 90 minutes of party time lead by museum staff and best of all—they take care of the messy cleanup! LICM offers a variety of birthday packages. I have a strange feeling I know where my son’s fifth birthday party will be.
Sure—the hour drive is a bit of a hike for us, but the big smiles make it worth the trip.We’re heading back in a few weeks. To learn more about the Long Island Children’s Museum visit: http://www.licm.org/