The Animated Environments of Connected Worlds

Presented in the iconic Great Hall, Connected Worlds immerses museum visitors in a fantastically animated world. In this exhibit about sustainability, your actions – gestures, movements and decisions – impact how well the world is kept in balance.

Connected Worlds includes six environments: jungle, desert, wetlands, mountain valley, reservoir and plains. Each contains its own trees, plants and animals, but they share a common supply of water. As a result, what happens in one environment may cause changes in the others.

The environments are fed by a central waterfall. This waterfall stands 38 feet high and flows out across an interactive floor that spans 2,300 square feet.

Sustainability – The Science Behind the Fun

While interacting in the exhibit, you can explore the interconnectedness of different environments, strategize to keep systems in balance, and experience how individual and collective actions can have widespread impact.

As you explore, play and have fun, your actions – gestures, movements, decisions – have both short and long-term effects on the digital environments. These effects are based on core concepts of sustainability science including feedback loops, equilibrium in a dynamic environment, and casual links and influences.

Admission, Directions and Hours

Connected Worlds is free with NYSCI admission. Entry into Connected Worlds requires free timed tickets. Acquire tickets on the day of your visit in the exhibition area.

Fees for school and camp groups are $4 per student, plus group admission fees.

Connected Worlds is open:

  • Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4:30 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday, 11 am – 5:30 pm

Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, NY, NYSCI is easily reached from the Grand Central Parkway, Long Island Expressway and the Bronx-Queens Expressway. Parking is available onsite. Or take the NYC subway: #7 train to 111th Street. For more information about travel options, see the directions section on our Admission page.

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To create the animated environments of Connected Worlds, NYSCI collaborated with Design I/O, a creative studio specializing in the design and development of cutting edge, immersive installations.

Additional partners include Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Yale University’s Cognitive Science Department, New York University’s Games for Learning Institute, game designer, programmer and conceptual artist Zach Gage, and Big Show Construction Management.

The Connected Worlds advisory board includes Dr. Ben Shneiderman, professor of computer science at the University of Maryland; Dr. Mitchel Resnick, professor of learning research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT’s Media Laboratory and director of the Okawa Center; Medard Gabel, CEO of Big Picture Small World; Dr. Barbara Tversky, professor of psychology and education at Columbia University; Dr. Andee Rubin, senior researcher for TERC; and Dr. Peter Gloor, research scientist at the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Connected Worlds is made possible with generous support from The JPB Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Google Inc., The Nasdaq Educational Foundation, Inc., Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Xylem.

Resources and Additional Info

Living Library Field Guide

Info for School Groups 

Connected Worlds Wins Muse Award 

Connected Worlds Wins Jackson Hole Science Media Award 

Press Release 

The Value of Systems Thinking to Climate Change Education