The dinosaur exhibit at a certain New York City museum may be impressive, but kids have the opportunity — in fact, they are encouraged — to get hands-on with dinosaurs, along with their fossils and habitats, at a new, interactive exhibit that opens Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City.
“Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice” was created by the Minnesota Children’s Museum and has stomped over to the LICM for a nearly four-month stay.
The bilingual exhibit — displays are in both English and Spanish — is designed for children ages 3 to 10. It is based in the Cretaceous Period, ended 66 million years ago, and includes two environments with hands-on activities, including dramatic play and sensory experiences.
At a field research station in the “Land of Fire” section of the exhibit, children can don a vest and goggles to become paleontologists, uncovering fossils with brushes. They can also put on insect costumes and pretend to be creatures that shared Earth with dinosaurs, and walk over a “bog” with a squishy surface similar to the forest floor during this period.
Wandering over to the “Land of Ice” side, visitors can explore ice caves, sail down an ice slide and touch a Troodon and Edmontosaurus, dinosaurs that were residents of frigid Alaska.
The museum will host programs connected to the exhibit, including one on fossils and another on dinosaur eggs. The LICM theater will also host “More Than Just Dinosaurs,” a film with Dustin Growick, who is known as the “Dinosaur Whisperer.”
The exhibit makes connections to school science curriculum, says Aimee Terzulli, director of education and visitor service for the museum. Kids may be able to show off their own knowledge.
“Some children know more about dinosaurs than adults,” Terzulli says. “I’ve had kids correcting me.”
A group of second-graders from Barnum Woods School in East Meadow got a preview of the exhibit on a recent afternoon. They raced around the 1,500-square-foot display, enthusiastically jumping on a baby Triceratops and hopping into the field research station, a shallow pit filled with crushed rubber designed to resemble rocks.
Adam Mauner, 7, walked under the long legs of the large Edmontosaurus on display.
“It felt like they were real, but I knew they weren’t,” Adam said of the dinosaur sculptures.
Ava Welby, also 7, went straight to a drawing station, where kids can trace dinosaurs on paper slid over a backlit screen.
“I’ve never drawn dinosaurs before and it helps to figure out how to draw them,” Ava said. “This is my first time seeing dinosaurs on display and it’s really cool.”
WHAT “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice”
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday during the school year and select Mondays during school holidays Jan. 27 to May 13 at the Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City
INFO 516-224-5800, licm.org
ADMISSION $13 (free younger than 1)