The Liberty Science Center is a popular destination in the NY/NJ metro area due to its proximity to the Statue of Liberty as well as its reputation for being a very kid-friendly place with quality exhibits.
We had wanted to take MJ to the LSC quite a while, but held off because we thought the exhibits may have been too advanced for him. And although he now has only very occasional meltdowns, we have a lingering apprehension about bringing him into any environment where there will be lots of people in a confined area for long periods of time.
We decided to go last Sunday and had a great time. The place is huge, and because we went on a sunny weekend day, it was empty. No class trips and very few people who looked like they were tourists. The only group of any kind that I saw was a bunch of kids who wore “Stevens Institute of Technology” knapsacks and played hackey-sack as they meandered between exhibits. Not very intimidating.
MJ moved freely through “Eat and be Eaten,” receptively identifying various fish and reptiles by pointing to them. We hit the outdoor “Wildlife Challenge” (sort of an obstacle course) without waiting on a line. Here, we crawled and climbed through a maze and rope web at our own pace– a great ad-hoc physical therapy session.
Back inside, we found some great activity-oriented exhibits including “Energy Quest” showed cause and effect for various kinds of energy. Although he didn’t completely understand the message of the activities here, MJ was able to shift and rotate levers and observe some unexpected results of his actions. He really enjoyed the slinky activity and I know that his occupational therapist would have been impressed with some of the fine motor skills that he used.
Like many autism parents, we’ve been to smaller kids’ museums with varying levels of success. This visit was a big hit not only due to the quality exhibits, but because we had ample time and space to roam at our own pace.