Museum Guide

Many of NYC’s extraordinary museums are exceptionally kid-friendly with engaging exhibits, friendly staff and amazing kids programs and spaces. Click on a museum’s name for details on storytimes, stroller entrances and more helpful tips.

* Take advantage of pay-what-you-wish hours and free admission to many family programs. Or become members – the tax-deductible annual fee, much less than a semester of music or gym classes, is usually recouped in a few visits and includes perks like museum-store discounts, members-only viewing hours, skipping lines, and making short frequent visits.

* If your wee one has trouble not touching the art (looking at you toddlers), the American Museum of Natural History, Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA), Jewish Museum, MoMA, MoMath and National Museum of the American Indian all have awesome hands-on opportunities.

* Not sure where to start? See our favorite current family friendly exhibits and kids programs calendar. Or warm-up with free public art & library exhibits.

*See our instagram for photographic inspiration.



American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at 66th Street) (Upper West Side)
Tuesday–Thursday & Saturday 11:30 am – 7 pm
Friday 12 pm – 7:30 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
Always free

The cozy, always free American Folk Art Museum features rotating family-friendly exhibits featuring Americana art that often includes engaging colors, patterns and animals.

Family Programs: The first Saturday of every month, Families and Folk Art introduces children ages 4 to 12 to folk art through interactive and discussion-based tours in the galleries followed by hands-on artmaking activities inspired by objects in the museum. Polite listeners of all ages can enjoy free jazz guitar on Wednesdays 2 - 3 pm and diverse folk musicians Fridays 5:30 - 7:30.

American Museum of Natural History

West 81st Street & Central Park West (Upper West Side)
Daily 10 am - 5:45 pm
suggested $22/ages 12-65, $12.50/ages 2-12, $17/students & seniors free/ages 2 & under

NYC kids are the envy of world-wide lovers of dinosaurs, sea creatures, outer space and Ben Stiller for their access to the giant (45 fascinating halls) American Museum of Natural History. The museum’s extensive collection is matched by an array of programs for budding explorers.

Favorite Spots: On the first floor, a 94-foot-long blue whale hangs over an assortment of sea creatures in the Hall of Ocean Life. Learn about moon rocks and meteorites in the stunning Rose Center for Earth and Space. Zebras, giraffes and other jungle animals surround a family of elephants in the Hall of African Mammals on the second floor. The beloved dinosaur bones fill most of the fourth floor.

Family Programs: Explore artifacts and specimens, hang-out inside a giant tree, put together puzzles and conduct scientific experiments in The Discovery Room (open Monday though Thursday 1:30 - 5:10 pm and Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10:30 am - 1:30 pm & 2:15 - 5:10 pm). Free timed tickets are available at the Discovery Room entrance. 6 - 13 year-olds can participate in the popular Night At the Museum sleepovers ($129, talking Teddy Roosevelt not included).

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Unseen Oceans (through Jan 6)
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 a scale model Triton submersible, and learn about new technologies and research.

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience (through Jan 6)
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, discover why we have senses and what’s unique about human perception during an interactive session hosted by a live presenter.

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway (Brooklyn)
Wednesday–Sunday 11 am–6 pm
$16, $10/students & seniors, free/ages 19 & under

A slightly hipper version of the Met features a huge, diverse permanent collection categorized by culture, as well as thoughtful visiting exhibitions from all over the world. On the edge of Prospect Park and next to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden ($25 combo passes available).

Family Programs: The first Saturday evening of the month features eclectic free art and entertainment for all ages. Drop in for studio art projects the first Sunday of the month 4–5:30 pm.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

David Bowie is (through Jul 15)
Explore 400 objects drawn primarily from the David Bowie’s personal archive in an immersive, multimedia installation that includes continuous audio along with projected animation and video. Original costumes, handwritten lyric sheets, original album art, photographs, and videos trace Bowie’s fascinating creative process from his teenage years in England through his last twenty years in NYC. Advanced purchase ticket recommended.

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 (through Jul 22)
Explore the groundbreaking contributions to contemporary art of Latin American and Latina women artists during a period of extraordinary conceptual and aesthetic experimentation. Featuring 123 artists from 15 countries, Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 focuses on their use of the female body for political and social critique and artistic expression. Includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, performance, and other new mediums. Ask a guard or info desk how to steer clear of mature content.

Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam (Upper West Side)
Sunday–Friday 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 10 am – 7 pm
$11, $7/seniors, free/ages 11 months old & younger

The enchanting Children’s Museum of Manhattan has interactive, educational exhibits and lots of kids programming and performances.

Family Programs: Check out the packed calendar of daily workshops in design, math, science and more. Workshops are divided into ages 4 & under and 5 & over; the latter require same-day registration one hour before at the yellow Visitor Information Desk in the first floor lobby, where you can also pick up tickets to weekend performances by Broadway artists, professional dance troupes and recording artists one hour before each show.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Hello from Japan! (through Jun 30)
Experience Tokyo’s vibrant culture in a playful, highly immersive environment. In Kawaii Central, a streetscape inspired by Tokyo’s bustling Harajuku district, sing karaoke, smile for a photo booth camera, serve up a seasonal Japanese meal, and design family mascots. In the beautiful Shinto shrine park build a bridge, crawl through a forest, encounter kami spirits, and make wishes at a wishing tree.

Dynamic H2O (through Sep 30)
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 fish, pump water to the top of a skyscraper, create a 92 mile aqueduct and construct a city at the water’s edge.

Let’s Dance! (through Dec 31)
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 an immersive video projection dome dance portal to learn 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, props and costumes. Experiment with authentic percussion instruments. Lots of related workshops and performances, including daily dance and movement programs at 10:30 am, 11:30 am & 2 pm.

Art, Artists & You (through Dec 31)
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 media and paper.

Children's Museum of the Arts (CMA)

102 Charlton Street (West Village/East Village)
Monday & Wednesday 12-5 pm
Thursday & Friday 12-6 pm
Saturday & Sunday 10 am-5 pm
Closed Tuesday
$5.50 at this link, free/ages under 1 & 65+

This delightful, inviting space features self guided art exploration for ages 10 months-15 years. Experiment with sculpture, paints, textiles, sound design, animation, and clay in daily open workshops led by teaching artists and explore rotating exhibitions by established and emerging contemporary artist.

Family Programs: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10:45 am-12 pm, kids up to 5 years old can join WEE Arts Drop-in Session for art making at different stations and music time. $25/family

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Scale: Possibilities of Perspective (through Sep 9)
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 navigating a world made of food and a three-dimensional collage formed from layered glass.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

2 East 91st Street (Upper East Side)
Daily 10 am - 6 pm
Open Saturday until 9 pm
$16, $14 online, $10/seniors, free/ages 17 & under
Free admission for 1 grown-up after storytimes

This collection of historic and contemporary design is a high-tech, interactive dream for all ages. Explore innovative design through the centuries, play designer on high resolution touchscreen tables with very cool electronic ‘pens,’ and rock around in the Spun chairs in the basement.

Favorite Spots: Draw your own wallpaper designs then see them projected lifesize in the Immersion Room

Family Programs: Create under the guidance of art and design professionals in weekend Design Kids workshops for ages 5-12.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Manhattan Color Walk (through Jul 15)
At Cooper Hewitt’s new (free) outdoor installation celebrating their exhibition , every color in the rainbow road corresponds to a specific moment encountered by the Color Factory creative team while walking and exploring 265 streets – from the uppermost part of Manhattan at West 220th Street down to Battery Park.

Hear, See, Play: Designing With Sound (through Jul 29)
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.

The Senses: Design Beyond Vision (through Oct 28)
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 multisensory experiences from some of the world’s most creative thinker. Designed to be an accessible experience welcoming to visitors of all abilities.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color (through Jan 13)
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 the world’s greatest color thinkers to bring order and excitement to the visual world.

 

El Museo Del Barrio

1230 Fifth Avenue (Upper East Side)
Tuesday–Saturday 11 am – 6 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
$9, $5/students & seniors, free/ages 11 & under

This lively museum focuses on the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States.

Family Programs: Super Sabados on the third Saturday of every month feature free art-making workshops, storytelling, concerts, and more. The first Wednesday of every month, 1-4 year olds can participate in Coqui Club storytime and art-making.

Guggenheim

1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street (Upper East Side)
Daily 10 am – 5:45 pm
Closed Thursday
Open until 7:45 pm Saturday
$22, $18/students & seniors, free/kids under 12

The striking Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda is reason enough to visit this landmark museum, and exciting, well-designed exhibits and kids’ programs make this a family-friendly setting for contemporary and modern art.

Family Programs: Sundays 1-4 pm, explore exhibition highlights through creative interactive projects in the galleries and head to the Studio Art Lab in the basement to make art inspired by themes and materials seen in the museum.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Giacometti (through Sep 12)
This comprehensive exhibition, a collaboration with the Fondation Giacometti in Paris, examines anew
Italians Sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s practice and his unmistakable aesthetic vocabulary. Featuring important works in bronze and in oil, as well as plaster sculptures and drawings never before seen in this country, the exhibition aims to provide a deeper understanding of this artist, whose intensive focus on the human condition continues to provoke and inspire new generations.

Brancusi (through Sep 30)
Try to find animals including a seal, sting ray and bird in the abstract-looking sculptures of Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957). Fun shapes and forms in a lovely space.

Hudson River Museum

511 Warburton Avenue (Westchester)

Metropolitan Museum Of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street (Upper East Side)
Sunday–Thursday 10 am – 5:30 pm
Friday & Saturday 10 am – 9 pm
Pay-what-you-wish, suggested $25, free/ages 12 & under

NYC’s largest museum is also one of the most welcoming to young visitors. Explore a vast collection that spans millennia and continents. You might get lost searching for iconic favorites in the grand halls and you’ll definitely discover fascinating art that appeals all ages. Check out the awesome family guides & maps.

Favorite Spots: Where do we start? Walk like an Egyptian inside the Temple of Dendur and say hello to nearby crocodile and feline statues. Admire enchanting sculptures, fountains and Central Park in the American Wing Courtyard. Compare the chain mail of European knights on horseback with elaborate Japanese samurai gear in Arms and Armor. Be amused and frightened by the oversized carvings of realistic and fantastical creatures in Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. The Van Goghs, Monets and Degas in 19th- And Early 20th-Century European Paintings And Sculptures are a must for all ages. Wander around and be surprised and delighted as your kid finds his or her own favorites.

Family Programs: We are huge fans of the free Start with Art at the Met & Art Trek programs for ages 3 to 11, hour-long guided walks and art activities.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence (through Jul 29)
Pretend you’re in a pretty French park among gorgeous paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, illustrated books, and objects that explore French horticultural developments that reshaped the landscape of France and grounded innovative movements—artistic and green—in an era that gave rise to Naturalism, Impressionism, and Art Nouveau. See the works of artists extending from Camille Corot to Henri Matisse, many of whom were gardeners themselves Then go play in Central Park, which was designed in the spirit of Parisian public parks of the same period.

Visitors To Versailles (through Jul 29)
Pretend your a princess at this gorgeous exhibition bringing together works from The Met, the Château de Versailles, and over fifty lenders. Learn about the experiences of travelers from 1682, when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, to 1789, when the royal family was forced to leave the palace and return to Paris. Through paintings, portraits, furniture, tapestries, carpets, costumes, porcelain, sculpture, arms and armor, and guidebooks, the exhibition illustrates what visitors encountered at court, what kind of welcome and access to the palace they received, and what impressions, gifts, and souvenirs they took home with them.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (through Oct 8)
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 Met Cloisters.

The Met Roof Garden: Huma Bhabha’s We Come In Peace (through Oct 28)
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 for purchase – we like the popcorn).

MoMA PS1

22-25 Jackson Avenue (Queens)
Wednesday–Monday 12 pm–6 pm
Suggested $10, $5/seniors & students, free/ages 16 & under

MoMA PS1, one oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States, is an exhibition space rather than a collecting institution. MoMA PS1 devotes its energy and resources to displaying the most experimental art in the world.

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

2 Columbus Circle (Midtown West)
Tuesday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
Open Thursday & Friday until 9 pm
$15, Free/18 and under

Explore contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design in a lovely setting overlooking Central Park.

Family Programs: The first Sunday afternoon of each month drop into Studio Sunday to create art inspired by current exhibits (and a stunning Central Park/Columbus Circle view). Projects that can be adapted to any age are led by patient educators.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary (through Aug 12)
50 works of mixed-media collage, assemblage on wood panels, and sculpture reimagine safe destinations for the black American traveler during the mid-twentieth century. This exhibit inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual guidebook for black American road-trippers during the Jim Crow era will make grown-ups think and delight little car lovers.

Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro (through Sep 9)
See pioneering feminist Miriam Schapiro’s “femmages, distinctive hybrids of painting and collage inspired by women’s domestic arts and crafts as well works by a select group of contemporary artists highlighting the tremendous role Schapiro played in the reframing of craft and decoration. Pretty patterns, so much color, and thought-provoking sculptures.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

4 West 53rd Street (Midtown West)
Saturday-Wednesday 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday & Friday 10:30 am – 8 pm
$25, $18/seniors, $14/students, free/ages 16 & under

Always exciting and decidedly kid-friendly, MoMA has spacious galleries and elevators, engaging interactive exhibits, occasional performance art and awesome kids programs and hands-on creative spaces.

Family Programs: Engaging, free Family Gallery Talks are held on most Saturday and Sunday mornings for ages 4 to 16. On the first Saturday of the month, enjoy new and classic live-action and animated films. Admission is free for family programs and includes access to the museum for up to two adults.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

MoMA Art Lab: Nature (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.

Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams (through Jan 1)
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 dreams for his country (then-Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo), his continent, and the world.

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 105th Street (Upper East Side)
Daily 10 am - 6 pm
Get 2 tickets for $15

Become an informed New Yorker at this small museum with a big collection of theater artifacts, furniture, toys, paintings, sculpture and photos arranged into exhibits that entertain and educate all ages.

Family Programs: Ages 6-12 can participate in free history and art activities on weekends and school vacation days. Drop in anytime between 11 am and 2 pm. Free snacks included. All ages can go on family-friendly scavenger hunts with free themed guides designed to help families to look closely at the building and exhibitions.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York (through Sep 23)
Look back at fifty years of innovative art works, both permanent and temporary, installed in the public spaces of New York, the most robust and vibrant environment for public art in the world lucky us). Features renderings, models, photographs, and video footage tracing the creation of public artworks by such artists as Red Grooms, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Kara Walker marking the 40th anniversary of the pioneering Public Art Fund.

New York at Its Core (through Dec 31)
Follow the story of NYC’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World,” and consider its future in a changing world through more than 400 objects as well as interactive digital experiences. Framed around the key themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, New York City’s history comes alive through the stories of innovation, energy, struggle, and the vision of generations of immigrants, politicians, tycoons, dreamers, master builders, and ordinary New Yorkers.

Museum of the Moving Image

36-01 35 Avenue (at 37 Street) (Queens)
Wednesday–Thursday 10:30 am–5:00 pm
Friday 10:30 am–8:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am–6:00 pm
$15, $9/students & seniors, $7/ages 3-12, free/2 and under

Explore film, TV and video games from nineteenth century optical toys to the latest in digital art with lots of hand-on exhibits in a spacious, modern building.

Favorite Spots: Play classic arcade games and see Star Wars paraphernalia (including a Chewbacca mask used in filming) on the second floor.

Family Programs: See classics on the big screen and learn about filmmaking at family matinees & workshops held most weekends and during school vacations.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Jim Henson’s World (through Dec 31)
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 Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. Among the nearly 300 objects on view are 47 puppets—including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, Statler, Big Bird, Elmo, Cantus Fraggle, and other popular favorites—character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, and iconic costumes. See film and television clips and behind-the-scenes footage and try interactive experiences puppeteering on screen and designing a puppet character.

National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)

11 East 26th Street (Gramercy & Flatiron)
Daily 10 am - 5 pm
$15; $9/children, students& seniors; free/toddlers & babies

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 – and try to ride a bike with square wheels.

National Museum of the American Indian - New York

One Bowling Green (Lower Manhattan)
Daily 10 am – 5 pm
Open Thursday until 8 pm

All ages can learn about the culture and contributions of Native Americans at the engaging New York branch of this DC museum. Lots of opportunities for hands-on exploration in multiple rooms. Touch a buffalo hide, match animal drawings, learn about Mayan math, play in a teepee and more.

Pick up a fantastic family guide and find featured items among the galleries including wood and stone carvings, exquisite clothing, feather bonnets and lots of animal representations.

Family Programs: Every Monday 2–4 pm, learn more about the Taíno Indians, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean through cultural materials and live demonstrations in the galleries.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound (through Jan 6)
Ten artists use light, digital projection, and experimental media to reflect on their place in and between traditional and dominant cultures. Through innovative sound art, digital media, and installation, the exhibition demonstrates the continuity of Indigenous cultures and creativity in the digital age.

Circle of Dance (through Apr 30)
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.

New Museum

235 Bowery (West Village/East Village)
Wednesday - Sunday 11 am - 6pm, open until 9 pm on Fridays
$16, $14/seniors, free/ages 17 & under

Always something interesting to see – or interact with – in the rotating exhibits at Manhattan’s only dedicated contemporary art museum.

Favorite Spots: Check out a great view from the top floor Sky Room (open Saturdays & Sundays)

Family Programs: Join museum educators for creative free family programs the first Saturday of every month.

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Boulevard (Bronx)
Daily 10 am - 6 pm
$28, $25/students & seniors, $12/ages 2-12, free/under 2

The Holiday Train Show is an annual must, and the sprawling grounds of this 124-year-old Bronx institution are a gorgeous respite from urban living all year round.

Favorite Spots: Enjoy music, mazes, guided nature explorations and more in the delightful Everett Children's Adventure Garden.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii (through Oct 28)
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 by O’Keeffe’s unique style of representing close-up views of flowers and fruit. Also play in a Hawaiian sand table featuring real shell and rock specimens to uncover. Pot up a tropical ginger cutting to take home. On weekends, see hula and native artisan demonstrations. Moana costume optional.

New York Hall of Science

Flushing Meadow-Corona Park (Queens)

$15, $12/ages 2 – 17, students & seniors

The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) was founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair and evolved into a center for interactive science. Sometimes it’s age shows, but lots of fun hands-on learning opportunities, intriguing exhibits, awesome 4D films, an engineering-themed outdoor playground and interesting family programs make it worth the trip to Queens.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Connected Worlds (through Dec 31)
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, plants, and animals, but they share a common supply of water. The habitats are fed by a central waterfall that is projected 38-ft high in the exhibitions and flows out across an interactive floor that spans 2,300 square feet. As visitors explore and play, their actions – gestures, movements, decisions – have both short and long-term effects on the digital habitats.

New York Transit Museum

Corner of Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn)
Tuesday-Friday 10 am–4 pm
Saturday & Sunday 11 am–5 pm
$10 $5/ages 2-17 & 62+

Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, this toddler’s dream hosts a working platform level spanning a full city block and a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. Board vintage cars, sit at the wheel of a city bus, step through a time tunnel of turnstiles, and explore changing exhibits that highlight the cultural, social and technological history – and future – of mass transit.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

On the Streets: New York’s Trolleys and Buses (through Dec 31)
Learn about ground mobility and surface transit from the early 1800s to the present by exploring a real life city bus, “fishbowl” bus cab, walk-don’t walk signs, parking meters, fire hydrants, traffic lights, and an array of other interactive “street furniture.”

New-York Historical Society

70 Central Park West at 77th Street (Upper West Side)
Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday 10am-6pm
Friday 10am-8pm
Sunday 11am-5pm
$20, $6/ages 5-13, free/ages 4 & under
50% off with this link

This fascinating museum features an entire floor to interactive exhibits especially for kids (though accompanying grown-ups will probably learn something too). Weekly and special occasion family learning programs range from weekly storytimes to historical chocolate tastings, with frequent visits from living historians portraying Americans of the past.

Favorite Spots: Ride an orphan train or play a newsies video game in the awesome DiMenna Children's History Museum. Hands-on exhibits tell the life stories of diverse youngsters who lived in New York City from the late seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. Immersive video projection, moving scenic elements, theatrical lighting and surround sound explore the history of New York during the eighteen-minute New York Story shown throughout the day.

Family Programs: Tuesdays & Thursdays at 3:30pm, 3 - 5 year olds can hear NY-themed stories, do related craft projects and play with historic toys in Little New-Yorkers. There are always different interesting events related to holidays and current exhibits; check the family programs calendar to see what's coming up.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife (through Jul 13)
Explore the history of the ground-breaking Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and its early environmentalist champions—many of them women and New Yorkers- through clothing and accessories, books, ephemera, photographs, and original watercolor models by John James Audubon for The Birds of America, accompanied by recorded bird songs from The Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms (through Sep 2)
Explores how Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want—gave visual voice to Roosevelt’s call to the defense of freedom worldwide and took their place among the most enduring images in the history of American art. See paintings, illustrations, and other works by Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries, as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts; interactive digital displays; and immersive settings, some using virtual-reality technology.

Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection (through Sep 16)
Displays evoking old-fashioned New York magic shops explore the careers of legendary magicians from the Golden Age of Magic and showcase iconic objects used by Harry Houdini in his famous escape stunts plus illusionistDavid Copperfields’ Death Saw. Artifcacts from the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts and Copperfields private collection of David include the Metamorphosis Trunk, used by Harry and Bess Houdini, that allowed the couple to magically trade places; handcuffs from the 1904 London Daily Mirror challenge, from which Houdini struggled to escape for more than 70 minutes; and Houdini’s Milk Can, an act that premiered in 1908 in which he attempted to escape from this colossal, locked can filled to the brim with water.

Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes (through Oct 8)
See over 100 highlights from shoe designer Stuart Weitzman’s extensive private collection that tell the story of the shoe from the perspectives of collection, consumption, presentation, and production and explores larger trends in American economic history, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as makers, designers, and entrepreneurs.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic (through Jan 27)
See century-old treasures including rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects from the collections of the British Library and New-York Historical Society that capture the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories plus original material from Harry Potter publisher Scholastic and J.K. Rowling’s own archives. Explore the subjects studied at Hogwarts, from medieval descriptions of dragons and griffins to the origins of the sorcerer’s stone, and see original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay as well as costumes and set models from Broadways Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Timed tickets sold in advance and expected to sell out, so buy soon.

Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17 Street (Chelsea)
Monday 11 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 11 am – 9 pm
Thursday 11 am – 5 pm
Friday 11 am – 10 pm
Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
$15, $10/students & seniors, free/ ages 12 & under

This serene museum connects the arts and cultures of the Himalayas to contemporary life, exploring universal themes like happiness, consciousness, and the cosmos. Lots of vivid paintings and statues of animals and interesting demons (and maybe your kids will pick up some zen vibes).

Family Programs: Enjoy family-friendly activities every Sunday from 1-4 pm. At family art labs the second Saturday of every month, kids 5 and up are invited to explore intriguing paintings, sculptures, and objects in the museum's exhibitions with a related creative workshop.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

A Lost Future (through Jan 28)
Through neon art, painting, film, sculpture, photography, an immersive lake and virtual reality(ages 9+), three contemporary artists–Shezad Dawood, the Otolith Group, and Matti Braun-challenge existing histories and speculative futures across cultures and in Bengal, a culturally rich region divided between present-day India and Bangladesh.

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling

898 St. Nicholas Ave at 155th street (Harlem)

$7; $4/ages 9-17, seniors & students; Free/ages 8 & under

The Jewish Museum

1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street (Upper East Side)
11 am - 5:45 pm, closed Wednesdays
$15, free/ages 18 & under

Explore the global Jewish experience through works of fine art, Judaica, antiquities, folk art, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media intelligently organized in gorgeous galleries and play in the small but engaging Archaeology Zone.

Favorite Spots: In the fascinating and friendly Archaeology Zone, children learn what happens after archaeologists unearth artifacts. Search for clues about objects dating from ancient times to the present day, dress up and play in a Moroccan home, create works of art inspired by unique objects in the Museum’s collection and more.

Family Programs: Sunday family programs include drop-in art workshops, storytimes and occasional family concerts.

Current Kid-Friendly Exhibits:

Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Your Place or Mine… (through Aug 5)
See pretty wallpaper and furniture by Polish/Jewish/French/Catholic artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz plus cross-disciplinary work in painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation,, lighting, ceramics and textiles.


Note: Don’t visit The Frick or Neue Galerie with kids, they’re not allowed inside.

Museum Map


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