Kid On The Town
Culture For City Kids
Family-Friendly Exhibits
When the weather’s disagreeable or you need to entertain out-of-town visitors of all age, explore these awesome NYC museum exhibits. All are climate controlled with room to roam. See our guides to kid-friendly museums for more exhibits and detailed info on kid-friendly cultural palaces (plus tips for taking kids to museums for the wary and museum family programming calendar).

Free culture can be found on our public art & library exhibits listing. And lots of exhibit photos on our Instagram.

More indoor options:

weekly events | current deals | weekly storytimes | drop-in classes | indoor playspaces | museum guide


Yayoi Kusama Festival of Life


David Zwirner
34 East 69th Street


Through Dec 16


David Zwirner presents two major concurrent exhibitions of recent work by unique Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. See sixty-six paintings from her iconic My Eternal Soul series, new large-scale flower sculptures, a polka-dotted environment, and two very cool Infinity Mirror Rooms in the Chelsea (525 & 533 West 19th Street) locations, and a selection of new Infinity Nets paintings uptown. Expect lines; go early and/or on weekdays if possible (and get this book to read while you wait).


Let's Dance!


Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)
212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam

Free with museum admission ($11, $7/seniors, free/ages 11 months old & younger)
Through Dec 31


Bounce, glide or leap in an exciting exhibition/dance space designed to introduce children and families to the delights of dance. Celebrate the beauty, spirit, and diversity of the form while learning about the important role dance can play in a child’s world. Discover dance from a variety of entry points: as an art form, as an expression of diverse cultures and traditions, and as a healthy physical activity. Interact with the immersive video projection dome dance portal to watch, learn and dance along with professional, community, and student dance companies from New York and abroad. Create multi-color shadow dances on the “stage” while exploring lighting design with a child-friendly lighting box. Choreograph a series of dance patterns while learning the language of dance and using movable signs, engaging props and fun costumes. Experiment with authentic percussion instruments, drumming unique beats and rhythms. Lots of related workshops and performances, including daily dance and movement programs at 10:30 am, 11:30 am & 2 pm.


America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far


Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)
212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam

Free with museum admission ($11, $7/seniors, free/ages 11 months old & younger)
Through Dec 31


Enjoy innovative hands-on experiences and discover fascinating objects, images and information from over 50 countries. Explore ancient trade routes on a two story Indian Ocean dhow (boat) or on a camel. Pretend to buy, sell and trade fruit, fish, spice, ceramic, textiles, and rugs in a global market place. Experience art, architecture and design elements from across the globe including a digital 3D exploration of mosque architecture from the Maldives to China, original works by emerging American Muslim artists, traditional art forms such as intricately designed tiles, ornate ceramics, and complex patterned rugs and an interactive replica/interpretation of a Pakistani truck, recognized as a “moving work of art” for children to decorate.


MoMA Art Lab: Nature


Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
4 West 53rd Street

Free with museum admission ($25, $18/seniors, $14/students, free/ages 16 & under)
$85/year ($38 tax deductible)
Through Dec 31


Visitors of all ages can discover how artists and designers are inspired by the natural world in a new multisensory installation. Beautiful discovery boxes contain creative activities related to seashells, grass, butterflies, etc. inspired by works in the galleries. Also lots of gorgeous books, building toys and multimedia projects that appeal to all ages (including this mom – I made a cool flower-inspired chair prototype). Great play spot for bad weather days (or good weather – it’s right next to the sculpture garden). All ages welcome.


Mummies


American Museum of Natural History
West 81st Street & Central Park West

Free with museum admission (suggested $22/ages 12-65, $12.50/ages 2-12, $17/students & seniors free/ages 2 & under)
Through Jan 7


Come face to face with ancient mummified individuals and learn how scientists are using modern technology to glean stunning details about them and their cultures. Discover when, how, and why ancient Egyptians and Peruvians were mummified and find out who they were in life. This show features an up-close look at rarely-exhibited mummies as well as interactive touch tables, rare artifacts, and cutting-edge imaging.


Modigliani Unmasked


The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street

Free with museum admission ($15, free/ages 18 & under)
Through Feb 4


See early drawings by acclaimed sculptor Amedeo Modigliani as well as a selection of his paintings and sculptures alongside work representative of the various multicultural influences—African, Greek, Egyptian, and Khmer—that inspired the Italian-Sephardic artist during his youth in turn-of-the-century Paris. Heads composed of bold lines are accessible to all ages, and an accompanying kids’ guide encourages all ages to notice the connections between Modigliani’s drawings and his sculptures and to create line drawings of their own.


Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound


Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)
2 Columbus Circle


Through Feb 25


This multi-component exhibition features interactive installations, immersive environments, and performing objects that explore how the ephemeral and abstract nature of sound is made material. Comprised of linked solo and curated projects, the exhibition features contemporary artists, designers, and performers who respond to sound’s potential as a material that influences how people experience space, their environment, and time, drawing out the ability of the auditory to provide a fresh perspective on how surroundings, and the body, are perceived and engaged.


Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection


New-York Historical Society
70 Central Park West at 77th Street

Free with museum admission ($20, $6/ages 5-13, free/ages 4 & under
50% off with this link)
Through Feb 25


Train enthusiasts of all ages can explore an immersive multimedia winter wonderland featuring theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape” and lots of historical model trains, scenic elements and toys. Pick up an “I Spy” Holiday Express trains and toys hunt to match pictures and rhyming facts with whimsical and intricate objects.


Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal


New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex
Grand Central Terminal


Through Feb 26


Watch models of the MTA’s vintage and current trains and subway cars travel deaprt from a miniature replica of Grand Central Terminal to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole in this small yet charming display full of delightful details. This year’s exhibition showcases Lionel Metro-North, Polar Express, and vintage subway train sets against a cityscape backdrop designed by Brooklyn-based artist Josh Cochran.


Mutations


High Line 14th Street Passage
Tenth Avenue & West 14th Street


Through Mar 1


This open-air group exhibition on the scenic High Line explores the relationship between man and nature, looking at how the boundaries between the natural world and culture are defined, crossed, and obliterated. We liked the circle of colorful creatures swallowing each other, the giant griffin sculpture, and he mysterious silver witch shoes (and the paletas from the La Newyorkina stand at 17th street).
See-saw and play music with your feet in the interactive La Deliciosa Show by Radamés “Juni” Figueroa on 30th Street.


Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983


Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
4 West 53rd Street

Free with museum admission ($25, $18/seniors, $14/students, free/ages 16 & under)
Through Apr 1


Examine the scene-changing, interdisciplinary life of this seminal downtown New York alternative space Club 57. We recommend guiding kids past images and videos that may raise questions you aren’t ready to answer to the very col neon Cosmic Cavern for the ultimate glow-in-the-dark I Spy.


100 Gates Project


Lower East Side, East Harlem & Staten Island
See map for locations


Through Dec 31


The 100 Gates Project connects artists and merchants to create original murals on roll-down security gates on the Lower East Side, East Harlem & Staten Island, creating an open-air galleries that are open when your kids wake up too early and everything else is closed.



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