Have fun – and learn – at the Hall of Science this summer

If you’ve ever wanted to take a trip down the Amazon, but couldn’t, now’s your chance.

The New York Hall of Science, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, is hosting an exhibit called “Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches” through August 22. Besides piranhas, children and adults alike are encouraged to view live sting rays, cardinal tetras, marbled hatchetfish and blue discus fish — all amazing creatures of the Amazon. Lucky visitors may even be able to catch a glimpse of the fish at feeding time.

The purpose of the exhibit is to educate the public about a fascinating region of the world, now threatened by environmental activities such as commercial fishing and logging.

“[‘Amazon Voyage’] explores important subjects related to the diversity of the region, and how changes in the area are related to that diversity,” said Carol Nordin, with the Hall of Science. “A lot of amazing research is taking place in the Amazon right now.”

After observing live fish through an underwater viewing dome, curious visitors can don a pair of rubber gloves and put themselves in the position of the researcher by sifting through the muck tank, an interactive feature of the exhibit. The muddy water makes it difficult to see the treasures hidden within, which include a plastic frog, turtle and leaves.

The learning doesn’t have to stop there. This summer, Hall of Science visitors may choose to take advantage of a host of other attractions, such as the Science Playground and the Young Makers Weekends, which feature do-it-yourself projects with cool tools, and design challenges for everyone in the family.

The Science Playground is a 60,000-square-foot area that contains slides, seesaws, mist and other simple machines where children can discover the science behind motion, balance, sound and sight.

“The great thing is that it has fun playground elements that demonstrate the scientific principles of physics,” said Nordin. “As you’re doing your favorite activity, you’re learning.”

Admission to the Science Playground, running through December 30, is $4. Young Makers Weekends, free with general admission, are July 17 and 18 and August 7 and 8.

And, weekends at 1 and 4 p.m, aspiring astronauts are invited to explore the night sky and learn to identify the constellations. The “Evening Sky Constellation Show: Astronomy Discovery Lab” is free with general admission.

To learn more about other Hall of Science events, go to www.nysci.org or call 718-699-0005.


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