December 12, 2019
Originally developed by local corporations along with the NJ State and US Federal governments, the Liberty Science Center was built to get people excited about science learning. Launched in 1993, the center has since undergone major building expansions and exhibition upgrades, and thanks to its new planetarium, exhibits, education programs and adult programming, is now on its fastest growth trajectory since its doors first opened.
“Our mission is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and excite learners of all ages about the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology,” says Paul Hoffman, the LSC’s President and CEO. It’s a mission the LSC more than lives up to.
“We often see parents herding crying children out the door at the end of the day. They don’t want to leave! The key takeaway is that science and technology are fascinating and fun.”
From being able to see two-million volts of indoor lightning to finding out about the huge fish that live in the Hudson River, a day at LSC is full of amazing adventures.
Whatever the time of year, there’s always something fascinating for visitors ages 2 and up to see and do at the LSC.
“In the fall, guests love our Halloween activities, including a really scary Doom Zoo haunted house – and a spectacular Spider Maze for the younger set – traveling exhibits, NJEA school holiday fun, and the chance to bring out-of-town guests here for Thanksgiving week,” says Paul.
In winter, kids can see a film or planetarium program, watch a live science show, meet animals such as degus and naked mole rats, and participate in the LSC’s end-of-year science celebrations. This time of year is also a great time to observe the night sky, with the LSC hosting events such as its after-hours eclipse-viewing party in January 2019.
“By spring, school field-trip visits begin to ramp up, peaking in late May and early June,” says Paul. “Our traveling exhibits, planetarium shows and films change, offering new experiences developed with our own unique brand of science fun in mind.”
In summer, kids can head outdoors to take on a challenging obstacle course and make discoveries in a huge dinosaur fossil-digging pit. They can even catch international outdoor drone race competitions and other special events. LSC’s on-site summer camp offers top-quality STEM learning from July through August and on some school holidays, and the institution has summer volunteer opportunities for college and high school students.
Complementing the LSC’s exhibits is a jam-packed calendar of events.
“We host a multitude of events including monthly adults-only evening events, science fairs, engineering and chemistry festivals, Pi Day celebrations, Rubik’s Cube competitions, robotics championships, Special Needs and Homeschooler Days, character meet and greets with Curious George, the Teenage Ninja Turtles and others, and much more,” says Paul.
Liberty Science Center is also closely involved with Jersey City education and economic development. With the opening of the largest planetarium outside of Asia, it’s also working to draw more tourists into Jersey City, making it a “must-visit” site for the millions of visitors coming to the region each year.
And there’s plenty to draw the crowds in. Paul recommends the Touch Tunnel, which has been guests’ favorite exhibit since 1993, and The Infinity Climber, the LSC’s most recent popular addition.
In 2017 the LSC recognized as the fastest growing museum of its kind in the country, and there are plenty of reasons why that’s the case. One is the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the biggest planetarium outside of Asia, with an 89-foot diameter domed screen. Another is that the LSC trains hundreds of educators annually, helping improve classroom science teaching skills in Jersey City and beyond. Plus, the LSC offers students the chance to become inspired about careers in medicine by watching live surgery in real time – and being able to talk to operating room staff throughout the procedure.
Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07305