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).

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

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


Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now)

The Met Breuer ~ Upper East Side
Through Jul 22
Pay-what-you-wish, suggested $25, free/ages 12 & under

See seven hundred years of sculptural practice—from fourteenth-century Europe to the global present—in this astonishing exhibition. Well-known masterpieces from Donatello, El Greco, Rodin and Degas are juxtsposed with modern works by Louise Bourgeois and Jeff Koons. Be warned there is…


Anselm Kiefer: Uraeus

Rockefeller Center ~ Midtown West
Through Jul 22
FREE

A gigantic lead open book with 30-foot eagle’s wings  perches on top of a 20-foot-tall lead-clad stainless steel column coiled by  a large snake in German artist Anselm Kiefer's monumental sculpture in Rockefeller Center.


Dragon Curve

LMAKbooks+design ~ Soho/Tribeca/LES
Through Jul 27
FREE

Explore an immersive installation of objects, wall pieces and home goods by Ellen Van Dusen. The walls and floors are covered with the designer’s pattern, “Arc,” which is inspired by an infinite fractal pattern first described by NASA physicist John…


Manhattan Color Walk

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum ~ Upper East Side
Through Jul 28
FREE

At Cooper Hewitt's new (free) outdoor installation celebrating their exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color, every color in the rainbow road corresponds to a specific moment encountered by the Color Factory creative team while walking and exploring 265…


.Zip: DEVELOPING THE FUTURE Season 2.0.0

3LD Art & Technology Center ~ Lower Manhattan
Through Jul 29
$15, $10/students

Experience immersive digital video and audio by a group of Chinese media artists around the concept: ;the APP world.' As trippy as it sounds.


Hear, See, Play: Designing With Sound

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum ~ Upper East Side
Through Jul 29
$16, $14 online, $10/seniors, free/ages 17 & under
Free admission for 1 grown-up after storytimes

In this hands-on exhibition, become a sound designer for Trash Bot, a street-cleaning machine. Also see cool record covers and concert posters and play with different sounds.


Grown Up Flowers

Avenue of the Americas ~ Midtown West
Through Jul 31
FREE

Enormous inflatable flowers created by PLAYLAB, INC sit, lounge, float, stand tall and bend down along the Avenue of the Americas from West 44th to 55th Streets.


LEGO® Bricks: A Celebration

Scandinavia House ~ Midtown East
Through Aug 4
FREE

To mark the 60th anniversary of the LEGO® brick, the American-Scandinavian Foundation presents an exhibition featuring sculptures, mosaics, and interactive play zones by renowned LEGO® Certified Professional artist Sean Kenney plus an overview of the LEGO Group’s history and educational…


Tauba Auerbach: Flow Separation

Brooklyn Bridge Park ~ Brooklyn
Through Aug 12
FREE

Admire the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey, transformed by New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach transformed into a contemporary "dazzle ship," like those painted with patterns during World War I to confuse enemy submarines. On board visits and 45-60 minute boat…


DISASSEMBLY : BROOKLYN

A/D/O ~ Brooklyn
Through Aug 17
FREE

This participatory art installation explores our obsession with technology, the untold story of the consumer electronics lifecycle and the devastating environmental and labor conditions of offshore recycling. The installation translates the global consumer electronic waste cycle into an immersive experience…


Pascale Marthine Tayou's Colorful Line

Richard Taittinger Gallery ~ Soho/Tribeca/LES
Through Aug 22
FREE

See colorful sculpture, paintings, installations, drawings and video by Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou exploring diversity and plurality in a large, immersive exhibit.


The Party

Anton Kern Gallery ~ Midtown East
Through Aug 31
FREE

Explore the comedic impulse in contemporary art in an exhibition, curated by Ali Subotnick and inspired by Blake Edwards’ 1968 comic film The Party. Features amusing works by Maurizio Cattelan, Catharine Czudej, Jamie Isenstein and several other artists plus Martins…


Pariaso

Galleria Melissa NY ~ Soho/Tribeca/LES
Through Aug 31
FREE

Enter a world of glittery stars in this magical video installation by Natalia Stuyk and SOFTlab NYC.


Spirit of the City

A/D/O ~ Brooklyn
Through Sep 2
FREE

16 revolving mirrored columns explore the emotional and physical response that people experience while navigating urban environments in a site-specific installation by United Visual Artists. A magical place for hide and seek.


Scale: Possibilities of Perspective

Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) ~ West Village/East Village
Through Sep 9
$5.50 at this link, free/ages under 1 & 65+

Explore the notion of scale and its ability to alter our impressions of the universe and our existence inside it. Interactive sculptures, photographs, dioramas, drawings, and installation by ten artists include highly exaggerated, whimsical environments, sentimental reflections, miniature figurines humorously…


Dynamic H2O

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) ~ Upper West Side
Through Sep 30
$11, $7/seniors, free/ages 11 months old & younger

Cool off at a splashy water exhibit with 800 sq. ft. of of hands-on interactives and colorful graphics. Children can trace the path of New York City’s water as they play and explore. Learn about the water cycle, pretend to…


Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Metropolitan Museum Of Art ~ Upper East Side
Through Oct 8
FREE

Explore fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism through papal robes and accessories on loan from the Vatican and Catholic-inspired fashions from the early twentieth century to the present juxtaposed with and medieval art. Also at…


The Senses: Design Beyond Vision

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum ~ Upper East Side
Through Oct 28
$16, $14 online, $10/seniors, free/ages 17 & under
Free admission for 1 grown-up after storytimes

Explore experimental works and practical solutions designed to inspire wonder and new ways of accessing our world. Wander through a scented snowstorm, play a furry instrument in a Tactile Orchestra, investigate the sonic properties of glass, and experience many more…


Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii

New York Botanical Garden ~ Bronx
Through Oct 28
$20, $18/students & seniors, $8/ages 2-12, free/ages 1 & under

Pretend you're in Hawai‘i at this exhibit of 17 paintings by American artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s created on commission for a Hawaiian Pineapple Company promotional campaign plus lush Hawaiian flora in the Conservatory. Visit the Children's Garden to create art inspired…


The Met Roof Garden: Huma Bhabha's We Come In Peace

Metropolitan Museum Of Art ~ Upper East Side
Through Oct 28
Pay-what-you-wish, suggested $25, free/ages 12 & under

Two haunting monumental sculptures of intriguing figures by Pakistani-born artist Huma Bhabha are now on the roof of the Met. The commentary on colonialism, war and displacement is thought-provoking and the view of Central Park stunning. Snacks allowed (and available…


Jacob Hashimoto on Governors Island

Governors Island ~ Lower Manhattan
Through Oct 31
FREE

Walk under Jacob Hashimoto's monumental work of thousands of delicate rice paper kites creating an ever shifting fog in the newly reopened St. Cornelius Chapel. Also see a colorful, whimsical overhead outdoor installation adapted for Governors Island’s landmark Liggett Hall…


The Song of Dragon and Flowers

Doyers Street Seasonal Street ~ Lower Manhattan
Through Nov 30
FREE

A gorgeous 4800 square foot asphalt mural by Chen Dongfan highlighs the historical significance of Doyers Street and the history of Asian American immigration to the United States of America. Presented by NYCDOT, in partnership with the Chinatown Partnership as…


MoMA Art Lab: Nature

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) ~ Midtown West
Through Dec 31
Free with museum admission ($25, $18/seniors, $14/students, free/ages 16 & under)
$85/year ($38 tax deductible)

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…


100 Gates Project

Lower East Side, East Harlem & Staten Island ~ Harlem/Upper Manhattan
Through Dec 31
FREE

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…


Let's Dance!

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) ~ Upper West Side
Through Dec 31
$11, $7/seniors, free/ages 11 months old & younger

Bounce, glide or leap in an exciting exhibition/dance space designed to introduce children and families to the delights of dance as an art form, as an expression of diverse cultures and traditions, and as a healthy physical activity. Interact with…


Ocean Wonders: Sharks!

New York Aquarium ~ Brooklyn
Through Dec 31
$14.95, $11.95/ages 3-12 & 65+

See over 115 marine species including 18 different kinds of sharks and rays in an new immersive exhibition with hands-on educational features (though the sharks are safely behind glass).


Connected Worlds

New York Hall of Science ~ Queens
Through Dec 31
$15, $12/ages 2 – 17, students & seniors

Explore a fantastical animated world where your actions – gestures, movements, and decisions – impact how well the world is kept in balance. Six magical, computer generated habitats: jungle, desert, wetlands, river valley, reservoir, and grasslands -have their own trees,…


Jim Henson's World

Museum of the Moving Image ~ Queens
Through Dec 31
$15, $9/students & seniors, $7/ages 3-12, free/2 and under

Explore Jim Henson’s groundbreaking work for film and television and his transformative impact on popular culture and learn how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers brought to life the enduringly popular worlds of The Muppet Show, Sesame…


Art, Artists & You

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) ~ Upper West Side
Through Dec 31
$11, $7/seniors, free/ages 11 months old & younger

In a dynamic, hands-on environment, watch, follow, collaborate with, and take inspiration from working contemporary artists in studio workspaces. Explore the work of a diverse set of artists who work with materials and techniques such as assemblage/collage, fiber arts, technology/new…


Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) ~ Midtown West
Through Jan 1
FREE

Explore visionary artist Bodys Isek Kingelez's vibrant, ambitious sculptures created from an incredible range of everyday materials and found objects—colored paper, commercial packaging, plastic, soda cans, and bottle caps—all meticulously repurposed and arranged into imagined buildings and cities that reflected…


Unseen Oceans

American Museum of Natural History ~ Upper West Side
Through Jan 6
suggested $22/ages 12-65, $12.50/ages 2-12, $17/students & seniors free/ages 2 & under

Explore the alien world lies hidden beneath the sunlit surface of the ocean in a fascinating, interactive exhibition. Encounter giant sea creatures on a life-size screen, go on on a vertical journey through marine environments at different depths, sit inside…


Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

American Museum of Natural History ~ Upper West Side
Through Jan 6
suggested $22/ages 12-65, $12.50/ages 2-12, $17/students & seniors free/ages 2 & under

In a highly experiential exhibition, explore 11 funhouse-like spaces that dare you to trust your senses, then show you how what we perceive is not simply a window into the world around us but a product of our brains. Plus,…


Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum ~ Upper East Side
Through Jan 13
$16, $14 online, $10/seniors, free/ages 17 & under
Free admission for 1 grown-up after storytimes

Rainbow lovers can explore the elusive, complex phenomenon of color perception and how it has captivated artists, designers, scientists, and sages. Featuring over 190 objects spanning antiquity to the present from, the exhibition reveals how designers apply the theories of…


Escher: The Exhibition and Experience

Industry City ~ Brooklyn
Through Feb 3
$20, $15/students & seniors, $13/ages 12-17, $6/ages 5-11, free/ages 4 & under

See over 200 original mind-bending works by graphic artist M.C. Escher. Explore highlights of Escher’s journey as an artist – from his earlier works of nature and landscape in the 1920s and 1930s, to the figurative and abstract art developed…


Kathy Ruttenberg on Broadway: in dreams awake

Broadway Malls ~ Upper West Side
Through Feb 28
FREE

Kathy Ruttenberg's large scale fantastical sculptures on Broadway malls between 64th to 157th Street combine human, animal, and plant forms in surprising ways. Touch, explore and search for what my daughter calls 'trapped princesses' in a broad mix of sculptural…


Circle of Dance

National Museum of the American Indian – New York ~ Lower Manhattan
Through Apr 30
FREE

This awesome five-year exhibit featuring videos and gorgeous costumes of ten Native American social and ceremonial dances from throughout the Americas with plenty of floor space to dance along.


If Everything Is Sculpture Why Make Sculpture?

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) ~ Midtown West
Through Sep 30
FREE

See what frozen things do in a summer in this Peter Fischli’s Artist’s Choice in MoMA's Sculpture Garden which features an actual snowman (encased in a glass-door freezer), a white dome that subtly moves, giant geometric forms perfect for hide-and-seek…