The Maritime Explorium in Port Jefferson, right on the harbor, is driven by the notion that learning is fun. They have created educational hands-on exhibits and offer programs that give kids a chance to learn in creative and interesting ways. Every child loves touching, poking, prodding, and building — the Maritime Explorium offers all of those and more. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm.
Suffolk County doesn’t have many children’s museums, so the Maritime Explorium helps fill a gap. Since it’s in a busy bustling town, it can also be part of a great day trip to Port Jefferson Village.
Families of children ages 2-12 can spend about two hours exploring the various stations and exhibits around the Maritime Explorium. There’s more to the place than meets the eye when first walking in. Look for baskets and buckets on the floor, computers with interactive activities, puzzles and posters plus books and charts to read.
I visited recently with my 3 children, ages 6, 10 and 12, and we all had a great time. Younger kids will love the row boat filled with rice, and there are plenty of buckets and shovels to dig with. My 6 year old was in that boat for a good hour. His other favorite activity was sending me “love notes” in a bucket across what looked like a mini laundry line. What mom wouldn’t want a love letter from a cute 6 year old? Of course, I sent some back!
Kids also absolutely love building whether with blocks, tubes or marshmallows which are some of the items found at the Maritime Explorium. Older children can try their hands at driving a virtual ferry (my 12 year old loved this one), building with magnets, creating marble mazes or drawing on the smart board (without a teacher correcting them). My daughter spent quite a bit of time drawing and playing “teacher” to me and giving me a nice 5th grade math lesson on the board. There’s also plenty of maritime-based decor to explore, like baskets of shells and various items found on the coast of Long Island.
Every day the Maritime Explorium offers a “super science focus” such as “Build a Bear in a Box” or “Paint Party.” On the day we were there (right before Halloween) the focus was slime, and boy, did my kids have fun making their own colored slime that they even got to take home.
The women who run the shows are available to help, answer questions or demonstrate how to complete each activity. Whether visiting Port Jefferson to walk around, take in the sights, go to restaurants or just look for a rainy or winter day activity, the Maritime Explorium at only $5 a person offers a nice time out of the house in a cute atmosphere. Kids will have a great time, and parents can join in with children or just sit on a stool and watch.
The Maritime Explorium is also available for birthday parties. It also offers summer programs, mini courses, school, home school or scout field trips, and has a drop off program. These are all offered by reservation. Regular hours are Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson, NY
Fee: $5 per person (under 1 is free)
Contact Info: 631-331-3277
By Debra Ferrie