Just Three More Evenings: Come See Vanderbilt ‘Bright Lights’

‘Bright Lights: Celebrate the Season’ Continues Through December 22

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s third annual holiday event, Bright Lights: Celebrate the Season, continues on Saturday and Sunday, December 17-18, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, and on Thursday, December 22.

See the holiday magic created by thousands of warm-white lights that illuminate the trees and walkways, and the exterior and interior of the Vanderbilt Mansion, along with wreaths, garlands, guest rooms, dining room, library, the family’s living quarters, the garden that overlooks the bay, behind the Mansion.

Take a Candlelight Tour of the decorated Vanderbilt Mansion, visit Santa and friends in his workshop, take part in a children’s scavenger hunt, and see a 15-minute Holiday Laser show in the Reichert Planetarium. In addition, the Stoll Wing and Habitat wild-animal dioramas and the Hall of Fishes marine museum will be open for visitors. Also open: the Vanderbilt Café and Gift Shop, located in the Planetarium lobby.

Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, Executive Director of the Vanderbilt Museum, said, “We are thrilled to invite everyone to kick off the holiday season and celebrate with us. The decorated and lighted Mansion and Estate become a winter wonderland. Bright Lights offers evenings of family fun for all.”

This year’s huge lighted Courtyard tree, a 30-foot Norway spruce, was donated by Susan and Abel Oonnoonny of Centerport.

All-inclusive tickets: adults $25 | Members $20; children 12 and under $15 | Members $10; children 2 and under FREE.


Long Island Cares Holiday Food Collection

Through the end of December, the Vanderbilt is collecting non-perishable foods for Long Island Cares / Harry Chapin Food Bank. Visitors can leave donated foods in the collection bin located in the Reichert Planetarium lobby.

Long Island Chamber Music: Bach, Ravel Under the Stars

Long Island Chamber Music will present a performance by a string quartet on Friday, December 16, at 7:30 pm in the Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium. The program will include pieces by Bach, Ravel, Sibelius, and others.

The music will be accompanied by beautiful panoramic imagery of the stars projected onto the 60- foot planetarium dome.

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LICM was founded in 2020 by husband-and-wife team Eric Huckins and Gergana Haralampieva alongside composer Nick DiBerardino. Their mission is to make world-class classical music readily accessible to Long Island communities. The group provides classical music concerts, educational programs, and private lessons for communities across Long Island year-round.

LICM musicians are drawn from Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Astral Artists, and several other of the country’s most prominent musical institutions. In addition to being leaders in their artform, LICM musicians are teaching artists, entrepreneurs, and socially minded advocates for classical music.

Give Vanderbilt Museum Memberships as Gifts

Looking for gift ideas? This holiday season, give the gift of discovery, exploration, and Gold Coast wonder  – an individual or family membership to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Benefits include unlimited admissions, Mansion tours, and Planetarium shows.

Looking for gift ideas? This holiday season, give the gift of discovery, exploration, and Gold Coast wonder  – an individual or family membership to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Benefits include unlimited admissions, Mansion tours, and Planetarium shows.

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Winter Solstice: Fun Workshops for Children

Children in grades K-4 can have a lot of holiday fun in two Winter Solstice Celebration workshops offered by educators at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Beth Laxer-Limmer, Associate Director of Education, said, “Children will learn about the winter solstice and how animals (and people) adapt to fewer hours of sunlight.

“We’ll explore the gardens, and collections and get creative to light up dark nights and cold days. Winter is a magical time. The Vanderbilt’s workshops celebrate the beauty and activity in nature as winter begins.”

Workshops are offered from 10 am to 12 pm. Fee: $20 / $18 for members.

Tuesday, December 27: Solstice Lantern & Planetarium Show

Wednesday, December 28: Bulb Botany and Winter Blooms




Celebrate Lunar New Year, Learn Chinese Calligraphy

新年快樂!Xīn nián kuài lè! Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

Vanderbilt Museum educators will offer Lunar New Year Celebration on Sunday, January 15, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Recommended for Grades 2-4. Visit the wildlife dioramas, learn Chinese calligraphy, and make a decoration that will bring good luck all year.

Fee: $20 | $18 Members.




Storytime Under Stars: Books with Winter Themes  

The Vanderbilt Museum’s next Storytime Under the Stars is set for Sunday, January 16, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the Reichert Planetarium.

A live narrator at the front of the theater will read from selected picture books, with pages projected onto the Planetarium dome for families to enjoy the illustrations and follow along.

Between stories, an astronomy educator will explore seasonal constellations visible from here on Long Island. All children are invited to wear their comfiest pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animals. The admission fee is $8 per person and $6 for members.


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Erin Bennett, Planetarium Education Coordinator, said, “Storytime Under the Stars brings classic storybooks to life, and will introduce families to new favorites, too. We’re excited to revitalize this popular planetarium program using our state-of-the-art digital projectors. Join us for a magical and memorable night out with the whole family.”


NYU Scholar Explores ‘What the Fishes Taught Us’

On Thursday, January 19, at 7:00 pm the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will host Dr. Becca Franks, a leading scholar in animal welfare studies, for an evening lecture about the concept of dignity and its role in thinking through our relationships with the non-human world.

Franks, an expert in aquatic animal welfare, will draw heavily from her years of research at the intersection of environmental and animal protection. In her scholarship, she specializes in understanding the complex dynamics of animal cognition and its bearing on the structure of human-animal relationships. Specifically, her work explores two core questions: How are animals affected by our current era, in which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment? And how can our scientific studies of animal life contribute strategies to our conservation efforts?

What the Fishes Taught Us is the latest event in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Climate Change and Ecology Lecture Series. As one of the first museums in the world devoted to ichthyology, the Vanderbilt Museum is committed to presenting educational opportunities that inspire us all to become more conscientious stewards of our planet.

The lecture will take place in the Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium. Tickets are available online on the Museum’s website.

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Becca Franks is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at New York University (NYU). She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University and a B.A. in Anthropology from New York University. Prior to joining NYU, Franks was a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia where she was awarded the Killam Research Prize. She is an Associate Editor for the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.


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