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Something Up Their Sleeves

The science of stage magic.


No need to tell the kids they’re in for a big ol’ lesson as you trek to “Get Into the Act With Magic: The Science of Illusion” at the New York Hall of Science. There are so many fun magical tidbits to see and experience that they won’t even notice. The interactive exhibit arrives in town June 28 (and stays through September 14), and it will explore four illusions (mind reading, transformation, levitation, and the disembodied head) via original video contributions from working magicians Penn & Teller, Goldfinger & Dove, Max Maven, and Jade. Families will be able to witness said tricks from various angles. “They can see it as a member of the audience and watch the magic happen—the person floats up in their chair or experiences telepathy—then they can become the magician’s assistant and go backstage and find out how the trick works,” says Marilyn Hoyt, president and CEO of the Hall. Not to reveal too much, but did anyone else know the floating chair has to do with superstrong magnets? Or that card-guessing games are all about mathematical set theory? “Magic can be understood through math and science,” Hoyt says, “but simply looking at something doesn’t make it self-evident.” The fun is best for ages 6 and up, though there are magic-themed things for younger tots to do in the Hall’s preschool area. If you’re there on the 28th and 29th, block out some extra time to test out parts of architect David Rockwell’s imagination playgrounds outside on the grounds—magical in their own way.

6/28 to 9/14; hours vary. The New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona (718-699-0005 or; adults, $11; kids, $8.


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