HANDS-ON MUSEUMS

While most of NYC's museums are incredibly welcoming to all ages, only a few encourage kids to actively engage with their hands as well as their eyes.

* Consider a membership at your local favorite - usually around $100 and totally tax-deductible - for a climate-controlled spot to roam all year long plus perks like discounts at the fabulous gift shops and cafes.

* Also see upcoming hands-on museum programs for kids and current must-see-exhibits (plus public art, free museum hours  and interactive pop-ups).

UPTOWN

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum

898 St. Nicholas Ave at 155th Street

Explore a range of accessible and thought-provoking art, from historically significant to important contemporary works at this community-driven children’s museum inspired by the rich cultural history of Sugar Hill and the artists of the Harlem Renaissance. See a selection of sculptures From Melvin Van Peebles’ “Blue Room” and thought-provoking juxtaposition of artistic works by contemporary artists in Combinations.

Join interactive Story Hour with special guest artists Saturdays at 11 am & 1 pm. Look for special programs that allow kids engage with working artists and to explore and experiment in well-equipped art-making facilities.

Thursday 5:30 pm – 8 pm
Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 3 pm

New-York Historical Society

70 Central Park West at 77th Street

Learn about the layered, diverse history of NYC at this fascinating museum.

HIGHLIGHTS:

🇺🇸 Hand-on Children’s History Museum on the bottom floor
🔆 Digital design-your-own Tiffany lamp
🎥  Multi-media films New York Story and We Rise

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🚂 Tracks and detailed figures galore in Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection
🥯 Interactive, immersive “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli

⭐️ Join weekly history-themed storytimes and other family programming.

Wed–Thu 11 am – 5 pm
Fri 11 am–8 pm (pay-what-you-wish 6-8 pm)
Sat–Sun 11 am – 5 pm

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam

Explore interactive, educational, well-designed exhibits for babies to pre-teens.

HIGHLIGHTS:
🎨 Immersive Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate
🐒 Spacious Adventures with Dora and Diego
🇺🇸 Right to Vote (with a Presidential desk)
⚡️ Comic-book inspired Superpowered Metropolis.

⭐️ Tons of educator-led experiences and special guest artist including weekly themed art projects, art scavenger hunts, storytime, dance-time & music.

Daily 10 am – 5 pm

MIDTOWN/DOWNTOWN

Seaport Discovery: Exploring our Waters with Eric Carle 

Fulton & Front Streets

Visit a discovery room of maritime-themed art by the late Eric Carle, beloved creator of picture books for young children, at The South Street Seaport Museum.

Huge immersive murals bring families into Carle’s book, A House for Hermit Crab, and the cargo-ship adventures of 10 Little Rubber Ducks. Activities include meeting a live hermit crab, driving ferries on a giant play-table, and learning about cargo ships through the eyes of a rubber duck—all while exploring Carle’s use of color and pattern.

Also take free tours of historic tall ship Wavertree. See our guide to Seaport.

Sat-Sun 11 am-5 pm

MoMA Art Lab: Line, Shape, Color

4 West 53rd Street

Work with wire, design emoji, engage in light-box play, and more in this all-ages, hands-on space. Drop in and choose from a variety of activities. Make your own emoji, weave paper patterns, browse beautiful picture books, build with unique toys, follow fun drawing prompts and more creative fun.

To get to The Heyman Family Art Lab, walk across the Sculpture Garden, or down the corridor on the second floor of the Museum (past Café 2), then downstairs to the first floor of the Education and Research Building. Small but next to the Sculpture Garden with room for more active play (and snacks for sale).

See our guide to MoMA.

National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)

11 East 26th Street

Dynamic exhibits and programs stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity and reveal the wonders of mathematics. Learn about the math in patterns and structures all around us while interacting with 30-plus hands-on displays.  Fun for all ages, though many of the concepts will go over younger kids’ heads

HIGHLIGHTS:

✨ Play with light
🚲 Try to ride a bike with square wheels
💠 Make 3D digital designs

⭐️ In Flatiron, across the street from Madison Square Park, with lots of nearby fun and food.

😷 Masks required.

Daily 10 am-5 pm

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Pier 86, West 46th Street & Twelfth Avenue

Explore interactive exhibits, examine original artifacts, view historic video footage and more aboard an actual 1943 aircraft carrier. Lots of indoor and outdoor space to roam with tons to explore. A must for plane lovers and history/military buffs.

HIGHLIGHTS:

🚁 Hands-on, interactive Exploreum
🚀 Go inside a real submarine and see a space shuttle
✈️ Military planes and helicopters on the upper deck with great city views
🎥 Simulators with 4D technology (+$11)

🎟 Through Feb 12, get 2-for-1 tickets with promo code MSW23 as part of NYC Must-See Week
🎟 NYC Residents always receive 50% off general admission

Daily 10 am – 5 pm

imagiNATIONS Activity Center

One Bowling Green

Solve puzzles, perform experiments, play state-of-the-art computer simulations and find out how corn is like a dog in this interactive, family-friendly space. Explore scientific principles behind Native innovations and technologies that are so ingenious, many remain a part of our daily lives.

BROOKLYN & QUEENS

New York Transit Museum

Corner of Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street

Explore a train/vehicle-lover’s dream, underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn.

HIGHLIGHTS:

🚌 Get behind the wheel in On the Streets: New York’s Trolleys and Buses
🚊 A working platform spanning a full city block with vintage subway cars in Moving the Millions

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🪙 Historic fare collection equipment in Ticket to Ride

⭐️ This historic site has no elevators,  heat/AC or cell service in the underground level.

Thursday–Sunday 10 am – 4 pm

New York Hall of Science

Flushing Meadow-Corona Park Queens

Find tons of fun hands-on learning opportunities in a gorgeous, spacious building at a beloved center for interactive science, founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair.

HIGHLIGHTS:

🙂 Smile and dance in The Happiness Experiment
🌱 Interact with animated wonderland Connected Worlds
🧪 Join Daily Demos throughout the day
🔨 Use real tools in Maker Space

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

⛸ Indoor rink SciSkate
🎥  3D science film Wings Over Water

🌳 Lots more to explore in surrounding Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Wed-Sun 10 am – 5 pm + holidays/breaks
Pay-as-you-wish Fri 2 – 5 pm

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

145 Brooklyn Avenue

Inspired by Brooklyn’s energy and diversity, this beloved children’s museum (the first in the world when in opened in 1899) creates experiences that ignite curiosity, celebrate identity and cultivate joyful learning.

🌎 Learn about world cultures, visual arts, nature, animals and more in well-designed, interactive exhibits including World Brooklyn, Neighborhood Nature, Totally Tots, Collections Central and The (outdoor) Nest.
⛸ Glide around a 3,000 square-foot synthetic-ice rooftop skating ArtRink, surrounded by an art exhibition showcasing the work of local artists (+$10). Take a stroll through a kids-sized Winter Village, five interactive playhouses each designed by a different artist.
🎨 In the ColorLab, try print-making, collage and sculpture projects inspired by artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Richard Hunt, Faith Ringgold and Kehinde Wiley.

Wednesday- Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
Pay-What-You-Wish Thursdays 2 pm–5 pm

BEYOND NYC

Stepping Stones

303 West Avenue

This recently re-opened award-winning children’s museum features exciting interactive exhibits and STEAM-infused programming in beautifully-renovated spaces.

* Play with giant games, make noise with household objects, test your balance and get fresh air in a giant open-air tent in Celebration Courtyard.

* Be mesmerized by ColorCoaster is a 27-foot kinetic sculpture and a non-stop giant mechanical toy that uses energy, motion, gravity, color and light as it spins, whirs and fascinates.

* Explore Energy Lab, a wet, wild and wonderful way for children to learn about the science of energy. Interact with  kaleidoscopic light prisms, color waves and whimsical illusions in new Lights On!

* Infants and toddlers can stay safe in Tot Town, a space designed just for infants and pre-walkers, with activity mats, a giant gymini, reading spaces, infant toys and puzzles.

* The museum is busiest  on weekday mornings and rainy days and usually less crowded after 1 pm.

Westchester Children’s Museum

100 Playland Pkwy

Visit a vibrant, interactive learning and play space for kids toddler to teen. Creative, energizing, unique STEAM programs and exhibits, wide open, sunny space, and a welcoming environment enable kids to make connections with ideas and each other; take risks and problem solve, and have fun.

Exhibits include Toddler Beach, Wind Tunnel Design Challenge, Build Your Own Roller Coaster, Construction Zone, MakerSpaces (with a separate area with more sophisticated experiences for children age 7+, Make a Difference Book Nook and a Ping Pong Gallery.

Check the calendar for hands-on art, science and movement workshop led specialists.

Wed–Sun 10 am–4 pm 

Liberty Science Center

222 Jersey City Boulevard

Lots to explore throughout this large, interactive museum.

HIGHLIGHTS:

∞ Explore multiple routes in the massive suspended Infinity Climber
🔬 Step inside a giant microscope lens
🧱 Engineer with foam blocks and wooden shapes, get creative with a giant wall installation made of 952 pixel dials and try more hands-on science.
💥 See explosions in Boom Time shows
🐒 Meet over 100+ fascinating animal species

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🚂 Detailed model railroads in The Great Train Set
🐢 Hands-on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer.

Tue-Sun 10 am–5 pm