Friday, May 2, 2014

Animal Mania

On top of being a teacher here at the Science Museum of Long Island, I have the added privilege of being the animal caretaker. If you have pets of your own then you’ll know what I mean when I say that as you spend more and more time with remarkable animals you see how each and every one of them has their own unique personality. 

Now, the animals we have here aren’t just loved by the staff, they have the added bonus of being loved by children all across Long Island. Our animals are used in wide variety of classes, and it amazes me how kids will come back year after year and remember not only the types of animals that we have, but also their names. It’s not uncommon to hear a child say,” Oh! Oh! Do you still have Rudy? How’s Grover doing?” Rudy is our African Tortoise and Grover is our Blue Tongued Skink. Some schools come back year after year for our animal field trip programs, and it blows me away when kids will come knowing some of the things they will see because their older brother or sister came home from the program raving about the things they saw.

We try to keep a diverse set of animals so that they can be used in all sorts of programs. We have insects, spiders, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. But the mammals (our furry friends) may not be the mammals that you’re used to. Currently our roster of mammals includes a ferret, a rabbit, a hedgehog, and two chinchillas. They are all sweet and wonderful in their own unique way, and there really is no better way to start the morning then with little ferret kisses all over your nose.

So check out the rest of the website for a program so that you can come by and see the animals. We do Scout badges and school field trips year round, but one of the best ways is to sign up for Summer Camp. Summer Camp goes for eight weeks over the summer, with eight different topics. The best part is that you can pick and choose the weeks you want to go to. Some people try one, some go to all eight! There’s even one week completely devoted to animals, so sign up to today to see Rudy, Grover, and even more!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Family Kite Day Event

On Saturday, April 12th we held our first family membership event of the year.  The event was centered on Kite Flying.  When we picked the date we figured spring would be a lovely time of year to do this sort of event.  Unbeknown to us the date we picked actually coincided with National Kite Flying Month which runs from the end of March to the beginning of May.  The day also ended up being the beautiful spring day we were hoping for.

The Giordano family holding the Kite they won.
Families that attended were treated to a brief lesson on the history of kites and how they fly.  I was very impressed by how much some of the children really knew about how kites were used for science.  They were able to tell me about Benjamin Franklin using a kite to discover lightning as a type of electricity and the Wright Brothers using kites as a model for the first airplane.   

Each child received a kite that they could decorate and build to attempt to fly outside on our preserve plus an extra already designed one to fly at a later date.  Most families took advance of the spring-like temperatures and spent at least an hour outside taking their kite out for a whirl in the wind.  Everyone that I spoke to seemed to have a wonderful time at the event learning something new about kites and being able to take their own kites own to try at the park or preserve. 

If you are a member of the Science Museum of Long Island or looking to become one, keep checking our website and emails for another event coming later in the year.  The staff had such a great time at the Kite Flying Event with all of the families that we are hopefully looking to put another event together for some time around September. 


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring is Here!!

Hello Fellow Scientists!

The weather is finally starting to warm up, and butterfly season is here! Any former student of mine knows that I really love bugs, so of course I’m very excited that spring is finally here. Throughout the next few months, schools will be coming in to participate in our butterfly program. Students will learn how these amazing critters transform themselves from tiny caterpillars, to beautiful butterflies via metamorphosis.

Of course the best part of this program is the fact that all participants leave the class as new parents of an adorable caterpillar! What better way to learn about the life cycle of an animal than by caring for one of your own. Students will watch as their caterpillar grows each day, enters its chrysalis and emerges ten days later as a Painted Lady Butterfly.

Butterfly classes aren’t the only thing SMLI is preparing for though. Our next weeklong session of holiday programs is right around the corner! The week of April 14th-April 18th will be filled with outdoor adventures, shelter building, our annual egg-drop challenge, encounters with the museums animals and more. Parents can register their kids to attend any one (or even all!) of these programs, my personal favorite being our Buried Treasure program. Kids will learn navigation skills and work together using compasses to discover some hidden treasure! I hope to see you there!

If you are interested in attending any of our exciting holiday workshops next week simply give a call at (516) 627-9400 ext. 10 or visit our website at and submit a
program request form.

-       -Caitlin

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Wednesday Night Lite

Hi everyone!

Our new Wednesday Night Lite lecture series began this week!  There are four talks scheduled on topics regarding biology, earth science, and conservation, starting at 7pm – and all are completely free to attend!  All of these talks will be given by experts in their field.  Our guests are all eager to share knowledge of their fields with members of the community, so everyone interested in learning about these fascinating topics are welcome to come attend.  Light refreshments will be provided before and during each talk.
This week, the talk was given by our executive director, Dr. John Tanacredi.  We watched the preview of “Alien Crabs,” a Nat Geo Wild show on horseshoe crabs.  The show covered their 485 million year history, their biology, the important use of horseshoe crabs in the medical field, and the current research and conservation efforts that has been taken on to help recover the dwindling horseshoe crab populations.

The dates for our next three talks are below.  All will take place on Wednesday nights at 7pm. Reserving a seat is highly recommended, but if you find yourself free one of these dates and have not reserved a spot please don’t hesitate to come! All are welcome.

If you would like to attend one of our public lectures simply give us a call at (516)-627-9400 ext.10 or fill out a request form byvisiting our website at

Have a wonderful weekend!

- Stephanie

April 30  -  Long Island Glacial Geology: a Coastline on Ice
Herb Mills, Professor of Geology/Nassau County Geologist (Retired)

June 4  -  Aquaculture and Hydroponics: the Greening of Urban Rooftops
Dr. Martin P. Schreibman, Brooklyn College – CUNY AREAC

June 25  -  Dolphins, Seals, & Whales; Oh My!

Dr. Artie Kopelman, CRESLI/CERCOM

Monday, March 3, 2014

Holiday Recess Week

We here at the Science Museum of Long Island just enjoyed an amazing week of holiday programs that occurred from February 17th to the 21st. One of the highlights of my week was during out “Fly Me to the Moon” program. Throughout the day we taught about outer space. The kids even made their very own film canister rockets. But one of the best reactions I’ve ever received in a class was during our Planet Walk.
In our planet walk we used flags to represent each planet and we used steps to represent their distance from the sun. In this demonstration the kids see that the first few planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) are very close to the sun. For example, the distance between the Sun and Mercury is only one step. Then they see that the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are much farther away by comparison. At least, that’s the message we are trying to convey, but sometimes kids don’t get that sense of awe that we’re hoping for. Until now.

 After we had finished the fifty or so steps from Saturn to Uranus we turned around to see just how far away we were from the sun. Now, if you’ve never seen the lights flip on in a child’s eyes, wait for, because it will astound you. There was complete silence as we turned to see that the sun was over a hundred feet away. But in the midst of that silence I heard one girl give a low, barely audible, “Woah.”
This week of holiday programs was wonderful, and I am very much looking forward to the next one which will be occurring from April 14th to the 18th. We are going to be covering some awesome topics, including things like, Survivor, Buried Treasure, and Egg Stravaganza! It should be a great week, so sign up today!


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