The most visited museum in New Jersey, this interactive science museum offers hands-on science exhibits, the nation's largest ... More
Liberty Science Center
The most visited museum in New Jersey, this interactive science museum offers hands-on science exhibits, the nation's largest IMAX theatre and educational programs for groups, schools, and individuals that are both highly informative and great fun.
However!!!! Call ahead and see if they are expecting camp groups or school outings. The day we were there it was dreadful with a very large group of campers (judging by the uniform shirts) whose age seemed to be eight or nine years old (too young to appreciate much that was there) and for whom it was all a gigantic indoor playground and an amusement park. The continual high pitched screaming (yes, screaming) was painful. It seemed a dumping ground for want of something to do with a mob. If you get stuck on such a day, be sure to navigate the floors to avoid such groups.
For my curious prone 12 year old, many of the activities and displays were fine--if we could have gotten access to more, I feel it would have been terrific.
-- I would say to read revews on any current IMAX show before you pick it.
--The place is worth going to, if you "hit things right."
I will prefrix this by saying we are a HUGE science family and love many of the local museums (i.e. Hall of Science in Queens).
If you have been to lIberty before the renovations don't bother going to see the new place. It isn't the same: it has much less to do, things are very spread out with alot of wasted space, everything is computerized and many things will not be working because the technology will be down, don't expect a lot of hands on stuff since they took most of that away, a lot of reading and not much entertainment. It now is probably my least favorite place to visit.
1st floor has one exhibit hall with some interactive stuff ... the kids ages 10,10, 13, 15 thought the Curtain Wall was going to be so cool --- Not that entertaining. The construction site worker thing had some excitement value for the younger ones. The exhibits on this floor were lame.
2nd floor is all the movie stuff and a cafetreria with pretty bad and expensive food. Definitely pack and bring your own if you decide to go. We saw a presentation about liquids, gases and such that was good and I recommend it.
3rd floor has three exhibits ... the kids all participated in the infection connection lab which they enjoyed however the older ones felt the experiment ended a little to soon and they should have been able to see their DNA under a microscope even if staged. The younger ones didn't care. We saw the surgeon presentation on this floor which was mildly entertaining ... the older ones tooned it out.
The 3rd floor has 3 exhibits. The hudson one has a lab and the kids did all three experments.. the younger ones enjoyed all of them. The older ones were a little more critical. The plastic one was beat and the mussel disection would have been good if the microscrope could zoom better. The one on salt walter marshers the younger ones fully enjoyed. The exhibits on this floor were beat except for the few older machines that kept in the one area.
Overall ... I will never return. There is no need to return. Parking was $7, exhibit hall cost $80ish for 5 (3 adult, 2 jrs). We were there from 10:30 till 3:30 (5 hours) and we saw and did everyhting. Make sure you hit the sign ups first to get them into the labs on each floor.
Very disappointed ... the old place was awesome and the new place well it really sucks! I guess if you are looking for something to do ... it cost about the same as going to a movie. If you have kids older then 13-14 ... go elesewhere! The younger crowd will definitely like it better and all of the shows (animal show, surgeon show, etc.) are really geared for them.
NOT IMPRESSED! A lot of yawning!!!!
Overall, my family and I thought it was ok but not great. We liked it much better before they made all of the changes. It used to be more hands-on. Some things were interesting, but we really expected it to be more fun. We have no desire to go back.
I used to be in love with this museum. Even as a teenager, when my father would take us to family member nights, we would look forward to it.
This is not the case anymore.
To those who loved the old museum, you will be shocked. In total, there are about five old exhibits (the giant expanding sphere, the 'height measurer', the reflex tests, the wave machine). However, I was really looking forward to seeing what the new exhibits had to offer. No Touch Tunnel? No blue screens? What gives?
Not only were most of the exhibits not working, the ones that were seemed to be crowded and dirty. The members of the staff that were educated were actually just wandering around, sitting on the couches and at the tables that were randomly added for the 'wireless access' station. In all this space, surely, a few more exhibits would not have hurt.
There was also an exhibit dealing with what the Islam population brought to science. If they have an Islam section, surely there must be a few other religions represented somewhere? Absolutely not. I suppose this is just LSC's way of saying 'We accept everyone.' It almost seems haughty.
As far as the value, the food was too expensive (and not great at all), and the price for admission was too expensive (and certain students get in for free. Not all schools get the same free admission.) So, the museum also seems to be trying to attract a new demographic, which leaves other schools out. As someone who lived in a teacher household, this is upsetting to me.
Even the IMAX theater, one of the things that everyone can enjoy, was destroyed. A big hole was left in the screen, and the seats were ripped apart.
Being from Union County, NJ, I thought I would've never said this, but I would spend the money and travel down to Philadelphia, and go to the Franklin Institute. They made some changes, but the classics are still there. The same cannot be said for Liberty Science Center, all that time being closed for something absolutely worthless.
I just got home from LSC. We spent a total of 20 minutes there. I was so annoyed I asked for my money back and left.
Some things to note:
1. No mention of parking fees on the website.. however you will be required to pay $5 upon entering the parking lot (cash only) and more upon exiting and I would assume cash only then as well. They got 2$ in change from me..
2. If you call they will tell you that it's ok to use a stroller or all exhibits. NOT TRUE. We were in the I Explore exhibit (2 toddlers, infant, stroller and me). About 20 kids arrived on a school trip. At first the employee told them that not all could enter because it was for kids 2-5 only. The woman complained and he let them in. I was then notified that I would need to park the stroller outside of the exhibit room because of the influx of children. Not typically an issue but because they said I could use a stroller I didn't pack my smaller diaper bag, I brought in my pocket book and a lunch bag for my baby. They wouldn't keep an eye on the stroller so I would have had to carry everything (including my infant) to go into the room.
I was so put off by this (I travelled 1 hour just for the I Explore) that I decided to leave. My luck changed when I ran into a worker who asked why my children were so upset and I asked if he knew how to find a manager. He asked why, I told him and within 15 minutes I had my money back and a voucher to get my parking fees back. Turned out he was a VP or something..
Not sure I'll head back here, despite the quick resolution to get my money back.
I took an 11 year old youngster to the LSC today, and I was struck by the contrast between the physical attractiveness of the building, the very mixed quality of the exhibits, and the generally untrained and apparently unmotivated staff.
Many of the exhibits are designed as hands-on teaching experiences for children, and as such require staff assistance. There were plenty of staff people, but for the most part they were standing around, chatting with each other, and ignoring the children. Many (but not all!) of the staff seemed uninformed, untrained, and uninterested. It seemed that not much learning was going on. However, some staff people were working hard to teach and to involve the children.
Many of the exhibits had "not working" signs posted. Some were poorly designed and apparently pointless. Some of the exhibits were fun for children, but seemed to have little point and little connection with "science". Some were just big play experiences --like the earth moving exhibit and the skyscraper exhibit. A few of the "creature features", like the fish tanks and the "poisonous creature" exhibits, however, were really good.
It looked like a lot of money is being spent by people who don't quite know what they are about. All in all, a mixed experience at best, and a poor showing for a renovated "science center".
The overall feeling is that it is an ok attempt at the science museum. My 4 year old enjoyed it but I could imagine any child over the age of 8 or 9 with half a brain would be quickly bored.
The level of science is like 3rd or 4th grade. The overall design of the museum is confusing, non-intuitive and a lot of wasted space. The same is true for many of the exhibits. There was not nearly enough explanation as to what each exhibit was demonstrating. Also, too many computer displays of info. you could get on the internet. What I love about the Museum of Natural History is how they use scaled down models of things to show how things work and the descriptions are excellent.
Also, there was a lot of political undertones: MAN HAS LED TO THE EXTINCTION OF THIS OR THAT SPECIES or DEVELOPMENT IS RUINING THE HUDSON RIVER. Just explain the science and leave the rest for the environmental groups.
The cafe is pretty good. The best exhibits were the skyscraper and the animals. However, there are much better places to go- Franklin Institute, Philladelphia, Museum of Natural History in NY, Camden Aquarium.
Finally many, many exhibits were not working or not completed. Please guys do not open a museum, charge a lot of money without making 90% of the exhibits functional.
Anyway if you have little kids and don't mind the admission it's probably worth 1 trip. You could do it in 3 hours.
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