The jewel in Crown Heights
The world's oldest gallery for children is now its newest.
Sun Aug 24 2008
Photographs: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Nearby, the “Totally Tots” area is geared toward youngsters five and under. The sun-drenched play space includes a water station with levees, pumps and streams; a dune-like sand zone with mounds at varying heights for kids of different ages; a climbing structure; and a baby hub, where those 18 months and under can play with soft sculptures, squishy barriers and low-mounted mirrors. A breast-feeding nook for the littlest museumgoers and their moms, set behind a curtain in the back corner, is just one of many welcome new amenities.
Upstairs, families will find a bright café in lieu of the old row of vending machines, and a birthday party room that can be rented by anyone, not just members, as past policy dictated. The museum has also tripled its number of restrooms.
But if even the promise of a wait-free potty break can’t offset your nostalgia for the old subterranean digs, you’re in luck: The curators took care to retain some favorite attractions. On your visit, you’ll still see the greenhouse, gardens, terrarium, the “people tube” leading to the lower level, and the museum’s 20-foot-long Burmese python, Fantasia. As usual, she’ll be simultaneously delighting kids and creeping them out. Don’t forget to say hi—or deliberately avoid her cage.