Monday, February 29, 2016

The Science Center @ MHCM

Posted By on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:00 AM

  • courtesy of the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum
  • The Wonderdrome in The Science Center @ MHCM

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (MHCM) was brimming with activity last weekend. Silk scarves were floating out of tubes, fire engines were talking, and a little wrecking ball was taking down Jenga-like wooden block towers to peels of laughter. The Hyde Park mastodon, a lifesize replica of the perfectly preserved skeleton that was found just three miles from the museum was watching over a climbing structure and slide. But that is pretty much business as usual. What was different about that weekend was the new Science Center @ MHCM.

Updating some of the math exhibits with new ones that focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts, The Science Center @ MHCM is host to hands-on activities in distinct, interactive exhibit areas. “It is never too early to have young children investigate STEM concepts and content,” says Executive Director Lara Litchfield-Kimber. “This type of exploration helps young children develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to succeed in school and in life.”

Designed to engage kids ages 6 and under with lots of sensory exploration and interactive opportunities, the museum embodies age-appropriate learning. (Known to kids as "fun".) WonderDome is an immersive environment featuring exhibits where they can manipulate light, color and shadows. At the Pop-Up Science Cart, a staff member offered paper helicopters for kids to test in a nearby air chute. A volunteer student from Arlington High School helped children turn glue into slime in a chemistry experiment. The rocket launcher worked by building potential energy. Older siblings will likely be captivated by it all, too.

Maybe the best part is that the MHCM is now screen-free. “Kids get screen time everywhere else,” Membership Coordinator Nicole Snook explains. So giving children a space to explore with those vintage novelties of sound, light, motion, and trial and error makes the unplugged museum somewhat cutting edge. Between the open-ended construction materials and the build-your-own ramp maze, it’s like a loose parts museum.

Located in the heart of the historic waterfront in Poughkeepsie, bordering a new city park, families can picnic outside at tables on the banks of the Hudson River, watching trains and boats pass. Just steps away from the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station, the Walkway Over the Hudson’s Elevator, and restaurants, you can easily make a day of it. Bring scooters, skateboards, and bikes for a romp in the skatepark just next to the parking lot. And get that parking validated at the front desk for free.

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30am to 5:00pm and Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is $8.00 per person. Free for members and children under the age of 1. Visit their website or call (845) 471-0589 for more information.
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