Sunday, April 26, 2015

Museum of Mathematics - New York City

The highly anticipated square-wheeled bik.
We looked at a lot of website, videos and books before going to New York City and for some reason the Museum of Mathematics, and particularly the square wheeled bike, was high on my kids' list of things to do. The square-wheeled bike was the highlight of the Museum for my kids, they ended up riding it several times but they did also like some other exhibits at the museum, including the little cart that rolls over a pit of acorns and the chair covered in strings that become more tense as you turn the chair.
Inside the string chair.  I am sure it has an actual name but that is what my kids call it.
There are lots of fun things to do at the Museum but there are also a lot of things that my kids couldn't make heads or tails of.  If there happened to be a staff person nearby they were always happy to explain but if there wasn't my kids couldn't be bothered to go and find the right computer screen and find the right item on that screen and then read the explanations.  I wouldn't say my kids are unusually reluctant to read and they were curious about the things in the Museum so I suspect this is true of a lot of kids.  Part of the reason my kids liked the square-wheeled bikes is because there was someone there to explain how and why they worked.
Making 3-D shapes
They do have a good range of activities so older and younger kids will be able to find things to do.  Younger kids can make 3-D shapes, ride the bikes, acorn trolly and try out the musical doo-dads while the older kids try their hands at some of the mathematical games and Robot Swarm which has little robots that react to your presence.  That would be one of the things my kids couldn't figure out but the high school kids there on a field trip seemed to be enjoying it.

One of the musical doodads I mentioned. Its actual name is Harmony of the Spheres.
Things to keep in mind:

  • You order your tickets online, so you either do that from home or at a kiosk at the Museum.  Tickets are a $1 cheaper if you order online.   It costs about $50 USD for a family of four to visit the Museum.
  • You only need a half day at the Museum, it isn't that big, so you can combine it with another attraction.  It is quite close to the Empire State Building.  The Flatiron Building  and a Lego Store are just around the corner.  We didn't learn about the Lego Store until after our visit but I hear that it is quieter than the one by Rockefeller Center.  
  • There is a cafeteria in the Museum.  There aren't a ton of kid friendly restaurants on the same block as the Museum but there are food carts and a park across the street so if the weather is nice you can grab a bite and eat in the park.

  • There is a gift shop where you can pick up some math games and other fun stuff.  We bought Kanoodle and Math Dice, partly because they are small and would fit in our suitcase!

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