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Cold Comfort

Learning about the science of snowflakes.


Much has been made of global warming this year, especially as it’s barely been chilly enough to go digging through the storage unit for hats and gloves. Frost has (sort of) finally descended. So it’s fitting that a giant snow globe takes up residence in the New York Hall of Science the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the centerpiece of Crystal Winter Village, a geometry-is-fun, multi-activity extravaganza now in its second year (and greatly expanded). Families can hop on a motion simulator that mimics a toboggan ride on a giant glacier, view a train that demonstrates the principles of steam power, create crafts (penguin and polar-bear puppets), and let their fingers do the walking through a touch-screen exhibit about how ice crystals are created. “They form like you’re a superhero—Mr. Freeze,” explains the very enthusiastic Marcos Stafne, director of public programs. The “village” also boasts two performances. The first is a musical, Snowflake Bentley: The Search for Snow, the true story of the Vermont-based photographer who made the first images of flakes under a microscope. The second, Hey Snow Where Do You Go?, is a puppet show in which Susie Snowflake conquers her fear of falling. All in all, it’s a great holiday-season destination. “It’s not a holiday event; it’s a celebration of winter and the idea that crystals are snowflakes but also all around us.” When snowflaked out but before heading home, families should shuffle into the aforementioned globe (it’s eighteen feet high and twelve feet across) to be photographed amid its wintry geometry. “There’s a crystal sculpture in there—it’s almost like being in Superman’s bedroom,” says Stafne, speaking of superheroes. “A fortress of solitude.”

11/23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The New York Hall of Science, 4701 111th St., nr. 47th Ave., Flushing (718-699-0005 or; $11 adults; $8 children and seniors.


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