Connected Worlds

Connected Worlds from NYSCI on Vimeo.

Connected Worlds, NYSCI’s groundbreaking new exhibition is now open and is free with NYSCI admission. Connected Worlds is open Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4:30 pm (last session at 4 pm) and Saturday & Sunday, 11 am – 5:30 pm (last session at 5 pm). Free timed tickets are required for entry into Connected Worlds. Tickets can be acquired on the day of your visit in the exhibit area. Sessions for school groups run 30 minutes long and cost $4 per student, plus group admission.

Presented in the iconic Great Hall, Connected Worlds immerses visitors in a fantastical animated world where your actions – gestures, movements, and decisions – impact how well the world is kept in balance.

There are six habitats in Connected Worlds: jungle, desert, wetlands, river valley, reservoir, and grasslands. Each has its own trees, plants, and animals, but they share a common supply of water.  The habitats are fed by a central waterfall that is projected 38-ft high in the exhibitions and flows out across an interactive floor that spans 2,300 square feet.  While interacting with Connected Worlds, visitors explore the interconnectedness of different habitats, strategize to keep systems in balance, and experience how individual and collective actions can have widespread impact.

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


The exhibition’s simulated habitats were created by Design I/O. The continuously changing experiences are driven by gesture-sensing and location-tracking technologies as well as global, environmental and social databases.

Connected Worlds jungle


Unlock the mysteries of Connected World with the Living Library. The Living Library delves into the system work, the relationships among the environments, the plants and creatures and the valuable resource, water. Learn about how each plant and creature relies on and responds to each other and their habitats; what balance means and strategies to achieve and maintain a balanced worlds.
Download Connected Worlds Guide



To create the animated habitats 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.


See also:

via Wired: The Key to Digital Learning? Bring it into the Real World

via Engadget: Trippy exhibit uses Kinect to send kids to the wilderness

via Hyperallergic: New York’s Cathedral of Science Reopens with Interactive Ecology Beneath the Stars

via Pixelkin: Kids Learn About Ecosystems with Connected Worlds

via Arch Daily: New York Hall of Science Reopens Great Hall

via Boing Boing: Watch How This Beautiful Game Exhibit Helps Kids Understand Ecosystems

via Co.Design: A 48-ft Virtual Waterfall, No One Gets Wet

via Creators Project: The Environment is Your Playground in an Interactive 3D Ecosystem

via NYDN: New York Hall of Science’s ‘Cathedral’ Renovation Shifts Focus to Earth, Sustainability with Interactive Exhibit

via NY1: New Exhibit in World’s Fair Building Moves to Connect

via DNAinfo: Great Hall Reopens at NYSCI After $25M Renovation

via Queens Chronicle: Great Hall Reopens at Flushing Meadows