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Hall of Science mini golf pairs links, lunar landers

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The New York Hall of Science opened a new outdoor space for borough families that could pave the way for the next Neil Armstrong — or even Tiger Woods.

Last week the science museum, at 47-01 111th St. in Flushing, introduced a new miniature golf course that incorporates scientific lessons, where children can see the similarities between the game and rocket science or just practice their putts.

“[It] provides opportunities for families to encounter fundamental laws of physics in a nine-hole course,” said Eric Siegel, the museum’s director.

For example, a child attempting to hit a ball through the hole of a rotating windmill can read that, much like the putt, a rocket leaving Earth must also wait for the right moment to lift off, said Robert Logan, executive vice president of visitor services at the hall.

Golfers can explore key science concepts such as propulsion, gravity, escape velocity, Earth’s orbit, docking, space debris and launching while playing the game. Each hole is accompanied by a description of how it compares to a specific concept.

Families visiting the course, which was designed to emulate the 1960s Space Age and includes several tall model rockets, last weekend said they were drawn to its combination of learning and play.

“It’s fun and educational,” said Sunnyside resident Elyse Orecchio, who played the nine holes with her husband and children on Sunday. “We like how you can learn about science while playing golf.”

The course, primarily aimed at children ages 6 to 11, was designed by Manhattan’s Lee H. Skolnick Architecture and Design Partnership. The Hall of Science held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the site last Thursday and opened the course to the public Saturday.

Adults must pay $6 to play the course, while children and seniors pay $5. Rocket Park Mini Golf is open seven days a week.

Logan said it takes about 45 minutes to play the entire course, which holds an estimated 40 people per hour.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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