Later this year, the Jersey City landmark will open the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, which will be 32 percent larger than Manhattan's famous Hayden Planetarium.
It will sit inside the Science Center's iconic Dome Theater, which is being refitted with a new screen and other upgrades as part of the conversion to a sophisticated digital system.
Families will be able to discover the beauty and mystery of outer space as they travel through the cosmos, soaring over remote planet surfaces, and learning about stars and constellations.
The planetarium is already under construction and the opening date will be announced soon. Check LSC.org for all the latest updates.
Also new at LSC this fall are two exhibitions: Thomas and Friends™: Explore the Rails (Sept. 23 through May 13, 2018) suitable for ages 3 through 8; and Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience, suitable for ages 5 and up (Oct. 28 through May 28, 2018).
Thomas and Friends™: Explore the Rails (free with admission) includes climb-on Thomas and Percy trains and large-scale buildings familiar to children from the PBS TV series and books.
Entering the exhibit, kids will be able to solve a variety of challenges, becoming Really Useful to the railroad. They can climb up into Thomas' cab to explore the engine's inner workings and flip levers to set off train braking and whistle noises.
Children can visit the Sodor Steamworks to fix Percy's wobbly wheel by removing and replacing parts, then load up his coal box with plenty of fuel.
At Knapford Station, kids will love dressing as a conductor, selling tickets and making change using play money, checking the schedule and adjusting the large clock, and more.
Engineers need to be able to run track over hills and valleys, and children can do the same, selecting the correct track for a varied terrain, and then testing out their creations.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the day will be exploring the Island of Sodor on an enormous Thomas wooden railway train table that includes destinations such as Tidmouth Sheds, Brendam Docks and the Sodor Search & Rescue Station.
Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience. Even if some children are not familiar with the "Star Trek" show or films, they will love testing their skills and learning how science fiction often leads to advances in technology, engineering and science.
In the exhibit, guests can try out their aptitude for a variety of Starship career options, including the Language, Medical, Navigation, Engineering, Starship Command and Science Corps. As they complete challenges, RFID wristband readers follow their progress, with results determining what career paths would be best for them.
One of the coolest experiences is the transponder. For those who've been feeling lately like they'd like to be beamed to some other planet, here is their chance to see how the journey might start as their hologram appears in one of the transparent transponder tubes.
Visitors can learn to navigate space vessels and decide which planet would be best for an emergency landing if the engine fails. They will stand inside a giant holographic pyramid and control up to six starships using gesture control, pointing and swiping to change their courses through the galaxy.
In the medical bay, they will use tricorders to identify symptoms and help correctly diagnose what's ailing two adult-sized Klingon mannequins. If guests are concerned that as the medical officer they won't be able to understand them, they can learn to speak their language using voice recognition technology.
Then it's on to phaser target practice. Visitors can shoot targets on a huge screen using three techniques, but must avoid friendly fire to not destroy the wrong objects.
Every diehard "Star Trek" fan will be wowed at the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, where they can sit at one of eight consoles and try fending off an attack while evacuating hundreds of crew members from a medical vessel. It's a challenge families will love completing together.
Climb into the Captain's Chair for a photo, and be sure to get your kids' photo in a smaller-scale Enterprise class shuttle in the Science Center's PSEG Court lobby area. Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience is available with a premium ticket.
For details on all of the Science Center's outstanding fall offerings and to purchase tickets, see www.LSC.org.