Albany Area Educational Attractions Both You and Your Kids Will Love
Searching for the perfect place to spend a fun afternoon that the whole family will enjoy and learn from? Albany and its surrounding area offer plenty of options, including history and science museums, nature preserves, and art programs. The next time you're looking for something new to do, start with these eight educational attractions.
Explore Science Museums
Photo provided by miSci
Children's Museum of Science & Technology
The Children's Museum of Science & Technology in Troy is geared towards young children and preteens, and features many interactive exhibits and activities. Through experiment and play, kids can learn about energy, physics, engineering, nanotechnology, natural science, and Hudson River ecosystems. In addition to their hands-on exhibits, the museum also has a play space and a special room for its youngest visitors.
Empire State Aerosciences Museum
Interested in the history and technology of airplanes? Visit the Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Glenville. The museum features exhibits on many aspects of the history of flight, including the invention of the airplane, the World Wars, and space travel. Sign up for a turn in their flight simulator, then head out to their hangar and airpark, where they have over twenty historical aircraft you can explore. Some are even open so visitors can climb on board and check out the view from the pilot's seat.
Learn about the history of technology, explore hands-on exhibits, and visit the planetarium at the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) in Schenectady. Check out temporary and permanent exhibits on technology, energy, engineering, and the natural sciences. If you have younger children, pay a visit to the museum's play space and let them explore the interactive exhibits. Finish off the day by attending one of the planetarium's many shows, several of which are made accessible for younger children.
Discover Local and Natural History
The Discovery Center at Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Find out more about local geological history at The Discovery Center at Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Learn about the rare pine barren, which was left behind by Glacial Lake Albany at the end of the last glacial period, and the many species that live within it. Afterwards, head out to explore the nature preserve for yourselves. The trails are relatively easy, sandy, and well-marked, and there are many from which to choose. The Preserve also hosts many free educational programs and special hikes.
Interested in military and World War II history? Take a tour of the USS Slater, a restored Destroyer Escort docked on the Hudson River and the only American museum of its kind. Guided, interactive tours take visitors all over the historic ship. Explore the living quarters to learn about what life was like onboard, and tour the decks, engine rooms, and weaponry.
The New York State Museum
Looking for a large museum with a wide variety of exhibits? Located in Downtown Albany, The New York State Museum features exhibits, artifacts, replicas, and dioramas on nature, history, and culture. Learn about the Adirondacks, Native American life, local bird species, prehistory, the Cohoes Mastodon, minerals, archaeology, historic fire engines, local history, and the New York Metropolis area. While you're there, ride the antique carousel, check out their temporary exhibitions, and stop for a bite at their café.
Arts and Literature
Arts Center of the Capital Region
Want to try your hands at a new craft? The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy specializes in teaching a wide variety of visual, digital, culinary, narrative, and performance arts. Learn jewelry making, pottery, painting, woodworking, photography, filmmaking, writing, cooking, and dance, to name only a few of the arts in which they offer classes. They also host many special events, as well as several programs and camps geared towards children.
The New York State Library
Spend an afternoon researching together. The New York State Library is housed in the same building as the New York State Museum and boasts a large collection of over 20 million books, documents, newspapers, and maps. The library is research-oriented and is more appropriate for older children. Research a topic for a school project, learn about the history of your city or town, or investigate your family history with NYSL's genealogical records. The library also hosts special exhibits that change monthly, educational programs, and movie screenings.
Whether you and your child are interested in science, history, or art, the Albany area has a wide array of options for a fun and educational day out.