A “Serpent Path” winds through more than 30,000 square feet of exhibitions relating to the natural world and designed for children ages 6 and younger. The preschool section opened in 2007 and, like the rest of the Science Playground, fun and learning are inseparable with activities that integrate playing and learning. A spectacular landscape, developed by the award-winning landscape architect Lee Weintraub, invites exploration of natural forms, with slopes to roll down, bridges to cross, and water to splash in. Elements of the natural world – soil, trees, water, light and sound – become the basis for a rich learning environment for preschool-aged children and parents. Exhibit elements are organized around five themes:
Bridge Path – invites children to move along a meandering path. Hills and footbridges change the vantage points, allowing for discovery as visitors move through the landscape.
Music Path – encourages children to explore sound through African, Asian and Caribbean drums. A sophisticated mechanism embedded in the ground creates a deep, water mist to shroud the path in mystery.
Sand Path – building with sand using pulleys and transporters encourages young visitors to explore the materials of the natural world and engage in cooperative play.
Mirror Path – entices children to explore light and color with a colored glass playhouse, a glass tunnel, and mirror walls.
Shelter Path – invites visitors to explore different types of shelter including a child-sized bird’s nest, a rabbit hole, and three different playhouses.
The 2011 season of the Science Playground is presented by Con Edison.