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


Saving Washington


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 Jul 30


Learn about First Lady Dolley Madison, the most influential woman in America during the nation’s formative years in immersive installations featuring more than 150 objects such as artworks, books, documents, clothing, jewelry, and housewares. Join one of her famed ‘Wednesday Squeezes’ with table-top digital games and life-sized cut-outs in period costumes.


¡Cuba!


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 Aug 13


Experience the largest island nation in the Caribbean – meet its people, explore its landscapes and encounter its rare and unusual species. Play dominoes at a (sadly faux) cafe among lovely arcades, see vibrant art, and check out a cool vintage car.


Angry Birds Universe


New York Hall of Science
Flushing Meadow-Corona Park

Free with museum admission ($15, $12/ages 2 – 17, students & seniors)
Through Aug 27


Use giant slingshots to launch Angry Birds, testing structures built by propelling balls adorned with the images of characters from the famous Angry Birds video game. Also build and race handheld vehicles in a live version of the new game Angry Birds Go!, learn about the creation of the Angry Birds games, and discover real bird characteristics such as egg sizes and wingspan lengths. Other activities include a stop animation and music studio, and vehicle racetrack stations, and gaming stations.


Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between


Metropolitan Museum Of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

Free with museum admission (Pay-what-you-wish, suggested $25, free/ages 12 & under)
Through Sep 4


Kids love the crazy clothes by Tokyo-based designer Rei Kawakubo, founder of ground-breaking fashion line Comme des Garçons (“like some boys”). The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition features approximately 140 examples of her clothing, organized thematically, that resists definition and confound interpretation.


Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim


Guggenheim
1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street

Free with museum admission ($22, $18/students & seniors, free/kids under 12)
Through Sep 10


Explores the collections of six early patrons of the museum who brought to light some of the most significant artists of their day, from Camille Pissarro to Jackson Pollock. Includes stunning works by modern giants Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vasily Kandinsky.


Anish Kapoor: Descension


Brooklyn Bridge Park
John Street & Jay Street


Through Sep 10


Peer into the watery vortex of world renowned artist Anish Kapoor’s creation, a negative space alive with energy blurring the boundaries between nature, landscape, and art.


Eloise at the Museum


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 Oct 9


Celebrates the feisty charm and audacious spirit of Eloise, who continues to be a picture book superstar more than 60 years after her debut. Learn about the creative collaboration between cabaret star Kay Thompson and the young illustrator Hilary Knight that brought the precocious character to life. The exhibition showcases more than 75 objects, ranging from original manuscript pages to sketchbooks, portraits, photographs, and vintage dolls. Be immersed into Eloise’s world with evocations of the grand lobby of the Plaza Hotel, her bedroom, complete with a storytelling corner, and her bubbly “bawthroom,” where she often made mischief. A host of family activities bring the Plaza’s most famous resident to life throughout the exhibition’s run including storytimes featuring Eloise at the Plaza.


Calder: Hypermobility


Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street

Free with museum admission ($22, $18/students & seniors, free/kids under 18)
Through Oct 23


See a rich constellation of key kinetic sculptures by Alexander Calder and experience the works as the artist intended—in motion. Regular activations will occur in the galleries, revealing the inherent kinetic nature of Calder’s work, as well as its relationship to performance and the theatrical stage. In collaboration with the Calder Foundation, the exhibition will feature an expansive series of performances and events, including a number of episodic, one-time demonstrations of rarely seen works, as well as new commissions, which will bring contemporary artists into dialogue with Calder’s innovations.


CHIHULY


New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard

Free with admission
Through Oct 29


The New York Botnical Garden’s landmark landscape and buildings showcase world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s signature organic shapes in brilliant colors. In a reimagination of his storied 1975 Artpark installation, three new works will enliven the water features of the Native Plant Garden and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard’s Tropical Pool, reflecting the interplay and movement of color and light.


The Met Roof Garden: The Theater of Disappearance


Metropolitan Museum Of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

Free with museum admission (Pay-what-you-wish, suggested $25, free/ages 12 & under)
Through Oct 29


Life-size models of human figures and their parts along with replicas of valued objects from the Museum’s varied collection take over the Met’s Roof Garden in Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas’s site-specific installation. Wacky sculptures and objects lounge, revel and kiss across crowded banquet tables with a stunning view of Central Park. Snacks allowed (and available for purchase – we like the popcorn).


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.


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.


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.



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