A small announcement in the newspaper piqued my interest. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was celebrating its 125th Anniversary with an Open House. My only visits to this venue in the past were to pick up my high school age son when he was attending something there. On this lovely June day we decided to visit the 125 acre campus that sits above Cold Spring Harbor, and that we know as the home of DNA scientists Watson and Crick.
The main entrance off of Northern Boulevard leads to the main parking area and the entrance to Grace Auditorium. We sawmany handicapped parking spaces in the paved lot, but not all are right next to the main entrance. If necesssary, passengers can be dropped off in front of the building.
Because of the popularity of this event we would upveling a narrow road to park quite high above the auditorium building. Getting back down required some steep paths and about0 steps. As we made our way down we took note of the beautiful views of Cold Spring Harbor this venue enjoys.
The Open House had "stations" from all divisions of the Lab set up ""expo-style to interact and engage with visitors in the Grace Auditorium Building, as well as Science Talks given in the auditorium. A brand new building, Biondi Hall, offered a Science Research Expo with scientists "showing and telling" about the work being done in all of the Lab's research areas. Amazing stuff! We made our way to the Carnegie Library Library, with exhibits featuring historic photos and short tours of the building.
We had signed up for a Walking Tour of the Campus, so we had to make our way back to the Grace Auditorium Building. At this point we had already walked many steps and traveled a small portion of the steep paths of this campus. The tour offered more of the same. A PHD student took us on an interesting 45 minute walk. We went up, down and through some of the buildings, getting information on the history, buildings, grounds, and laboratories, some of which we were able to enter. He even told us that Dr. Watson still works and lives on campus, and on any given day can be seen "tooling around" in his convertible.
The amount of walking, number of steps both inside buildings and out, and steepness of the paths, leads us to say that this tour is not designed for people with mobility impairments. If you want to see this beautiful campus (but without a tour) you can take your car up most of the streets, see the buildings and the beautiful view that the people who work and live here see every day.
Public concerts and lectures are given in Grace Auditorium, which is easily accessible. The street level, double-door entrance leads to a second set of doors, and the lobby. If steps are a problem one does not need to climb any to enter the auditorium. There is another entrance. Wheelchair seating is available at the front of the auditorium
Multi-stall restrooms with handicapped-accessible stalls are located on the mail level. We did not notice baby-changing stations. We do noow if any drinks or snacks are available on concert or lecture days. We intend to find out in October, when they are having a lecture that interests us.
The lower level houses a bookstore/gift shop with an interesting variety of items. There is an elevator to get to this level.
We learned that longer tours that go into more depth and visit more area the campus are available on some weekends. Perhaps we will lreturn for one of them.
Amazing work is going on here! It was interesting to find out, even a little, about it.
As always, we at Destination:Accessible advise you to visit a venue's website, www.cshl.edu, when planning a visit to "know before you go."