Aug. 9, 2023 By Bill Parry
Many of the young girls who were inspired by NASA astronaut and scientist Dr. Jeanette Epps during the reopening of the New York Hall of Science in Corona last fall will have a new reason to look up to their hero next year.
Epps was assigned to launch on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission for a long-duration stay aboard the International Space Station in early 2024. The Syracuse native will be making her first trip to the space station after she was selected to be an astronaut in 2009.
Dr. Epps delivered remarks at the New York Hall of Science in October as the institution celebrated its reopening following several difficult years.
The museum was shut down for 16 months during the pandemic and reopened briefly in 2021 before it was forced to close again after the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed into Queens, sending over a million gallons of water from sewage drains into the museum. NYSCI reopened to the public with a redefined mission and last month it launched its new “Summertime at NYSCI” series with indoor and outdoor, family-focused opportunities to celebrate the fun of scientific exploration and imagination. The new offerings that run through the end of August are designed to encourage open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement and fun.
The new program includes the reopened Great Hall Terrace with its outdoor café style seating and benches, snacks, entertainment, and engaging physical and educational activities that encourage collaborative play, including three “islands of fun” that features oversized Jenga, Connect 4, Checkers, and Dominoes. It also includes an oversized building block area with design challenge prompts, science demos conducted by Explainers, a variety of physical activities programmed throughout the day plus food vendors and periodic entertainment.
“During long, hot summer days, NYSCI saw the opportunity to engage families in fun, science and technology activities,” NYSCI Executive Director Margaret Holey said. “Summertime at NYSCI opens the doors to its newly-refurbished Great Hall Terrace – now filled with exciting games, STEM-focused demos and a delicious science-themed menu developed by local restaurants and food trucks.”
The museum’s Viscusi Gallery now features “The Chill Zone,” which offers a cool, air conditioned, space for families to gather, relax and regroup. The space includes backlight games, crafts, and science challenges as well as physical activities such as hopscotch and a tape obstacle course. There are also interactive projection activities and Silent Disco.
“When kids have too much fun outside, we welcome families inside to cool down in a room activated by black light obstacles and a silent disco,” Honey said. “It’s a perfect combination of our design, make, play approach to learning.”
Summertime NYSCI is open to families on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The New York Hall of Science is located at the northwest corner of Flushing Meadows Corona Park at 47-01 111th St. in Corona.