The Long Island Science Center’s new Riverhead location will be open to the public beginning Saturday, Jan. 19.
The science center is now located at Summerwind Square, 40 Peconic Avenue, where it offers visitors 2,000 square feet of exhibition and classroom space.
The space was previously occupied by BNB Bank, which had leased the site through December 2019 and last year announced a major sponsorship of the organization. The bank opened a downtown Riverhead branch on West Main Street last March, vacating the Summerwind Square offices.
A generous grant from BNB Bank provided the funding needed to take over the space, the science center said.
The organization, founded in 1990, returns to Riverhead after temporarily relocating to Rocky Point in 2016, following the sale of its West Main Street site to developer Conifer Realty, which built a 45-unit apartment building there.
LISC board president Larry Oxman of Remsenburg, a commercial real estate broker, was a driving force in the move back to Riverhead, where the organization is still looking for a permanent, larger home, he said in an interview last year.
The new Riverhead location is designed as a demo/exhibition space with technology and engagement in mind, the science center said in a press release announcing the grand opening.
“The Long Island Science Center, with all new interactive exhibits, is challenging and engaging children and adults in science, technology, art, and innovation,” Oxman said.
“It is so rewarding to see the smiles and expressions of visitors as they experience the new hands-on exhibits, including virtual reality and augmented reality.”
The new space features an interactive, augmented reality exhibit of elaborately detailed Leonardo da Vinci models. The models, originally commissioned by IBM, were created by Roberto Guatelli and Joe Mirabella, who donated the collection to the science center.
It also features an augmented reality sandbox, where children and adults alike can dig and create real time topographical terrain while exploring subjects such as watershed and relief. There is also an interactive virtual reality experience where users choose options such as a trip under the sea to swim with dolphins, or an expedition to learn about dinosaurs.
Other exhibits and attractions: the “illumination station,” an eight-foot-wide lit peg board, like a giant “Lite Brite,” where visitors can create different designs; the 3D pen drawing station, where mini models can be created; and an augmented reality coloring station that brings the user’s creations to life when viewed through a tablet. On display for more tactile patrons is a magnetic wall with an interactive space to explore force, friction, and gravity using ramps, cups, and balls, and a building room dedicated to exploring engineering concepts and design.
Admission to the Long Island Science Center is $10. A $125 annual membership provides fee admission and programs year-round.
The organization celebrating its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 17 at 4 p.m.