Brooklyn Children’s Museum: A Green Patch in the Big City

by , 10/02/08

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Our recent visit to the newly re-opened Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, had us giddy and delighted as we explored the sprawling, environmentally friendly space. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is New York’s first ‘green’ museum. It is slated for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, boasting several environmentally conscious features, and it is a fun, educational excursion for the entire family!

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State of the art energy, lighting and temperature regulation techniques employed at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum allow for the thoughtful conservation of resources. The museum is partially powered by embedded solar energy cells which convert solar energy into electrical power. The solar energy cells provide up to 2.5% of the museum’s total energy needs. Energy sensors detect the number of people in the museum and control the heating and cooling accordingly. The museum’s ventilation system is equipped with carbon dioxide sensors, which gauge the levels of carbon dioxide and circulate oxygen enriched air as needed. Occupancy sensors control office lighting by detecting body heat and motion. Daylight sensors regulate the amount of artificial light required; and solar cells increase artificial light during the nighttime or on cloudy days, and decrease artificial light when natural light is abundant.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is also ‘green’ structurally. Materials with highly recycled and reusable content have been preferentially selected for many of the museum’s designs. The floors are made of easily renewable resource, bamboo, and cork, rubber, and linoleum are prominently used throughout.

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The exhibitions are as magnificent as the eco-minded concepts behind the museum’s construction. The Totally Tots exhibition for children under the age of 5, is filled with textures, colors, shapes, and structures to encourage development of the senses and motor skills. Highlights include a splashing pool (protective, waterproof smocks provided), a sound and music station, a cork-filled sandbox, and a reading nook. Some exhibitions feature cut out crawling areas, so that little ones can get an exclusive pint-sized view from their own perspective.

Many exhibitions are interactive. At the World Brooklyn exhibit, the cultural diversity of Brooklyn is explored. Neighborhood Nature unearths the ecological landscape of Brooklyn. Other engaging features include an instrument making class, a Japanese garden, a greenhouse, and even a gigantic Burmese python! Our trip to the museum was definitely noteworthy, memorable and a refreshing shade of ‘green.’

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Admission: $5 per person, from September 20 through November 30, 2008!

Free on select Fridays in September and October from 5-8pm.

Early Bird Special: Free admission to families before 11am on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hours: 11am-6pm

Location: 145 Brooklyn Avenue (at St. Marks Avenue) Brooklyn, NY 11213 (718) 735-4400

For more information, please visit the Brooklyn Children’s Museum website:

http://brooklynkids.org/

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