The Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum Reimagined | Family | Hudson Valley
Travel is about exploring and learning new things. If you’re traveling with the kids to the Hudson Valley, one of the must-visit destinations to enhance their experience is the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum.
Located on North Water Street in the town of Poughkeepsie, the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum was formerly called the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Now open after a two-year hiatus, the name change reflects the addition of science exhibits for children up to 12 years old.
“It makes life easier for moms, dads, and caregivers when they have children of different age groups. It’s a fluid environment,” says Jeff Sasson, executive director of the museum. “With the new exhibitions, the whole family unit is engaged.”
If you’ve been here before, it’s important to note that the first floor exhibits haven’t changed much and still include early learning favorites for ages six and under, like the train station, fire station, and Arts. Region. These areas encourage children to climb, crawl, communicate and use their imaginations. For more leisurely fun, stop by the Newsstand to enjoy a comfortable reading area, where you can share a book (or several) with your child.
Upstairs, the 17 new permanent and personalized interactive science exhibits invite visitors to a comprehensive physical exploration of motion, air, forces, fluids and magnetism. Wind in Your Sails, for example, is a table where kids can manipulate the wind and see how sailboats move. For more wind fun, kids can also create their own flying machine and test it out on the wind table.
At the Ball Launcher, kids can bounce a ball through any (or all!) of the different hoops by changing the angle of the bounce. Kids can also make waves with magnetic pendulums or challenge friends and family through the tube tunnels.
The fun continues as you build magnetic sculptures of steel pellets, nuts and washers; spinner models with sand; make a rope support; and walk a Slinky on a treadmill.
There’s so much more for older kids, but Sasson says younger kids should feel free to go upstairs with their older siblings, too. “We want healthy play and children who engage with their parents. These are important developmental years and play is such an important part of their youth.the irony really perpetuates that.”
Other exhibits include the Super Bounce, where kids can drop balls and see what happens when they hit rocks at certain heights. “Kids can also put colored balls in tubes and manipulate and build where those balls come out,” Sasson said. “It’s a reflection of exhibitions where there is no set outcome. The game has to be open ended and you get different outcomes every time you play.”
Planning a trip to the Hudson Valley? Consider when you want to visit. The museum opens its doors to 80,000 visitors every year, so it can get a bit crowded at times. “Summer is the peak time and holidays are also very busy times, but September and October are slower when the kids go back to school,” says Sasson. “However, we are also affected by the weather. If it’s raining, we’re busy. If it’s sunny, we can be slower.”
Here’s a money-saving tip: once a month, the museum also offers free night admission on the third Saturday of each month from 5-8 p.m. The museum is handicapped accessible and offers a deck overlooking the Hudson River with umbrella tables, where parents and children can take a snack break from all the fun.