There are many children’s museums in NYC that offer the perfect family day out. Whether you’re looking for art, pop culture or a slice of history, you’ll find fascinating exhibits on show throughout the city.
But how do you decide which of these wonderful museums to visit? Here are six of the best.
1. Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this famous institution is one of the most popular children’s museums in NYC. It offers a wide selection of interactive exhibits, educational displays and journeys of discovery.
The Totally Tots exhibit is perfect for toddlers, and a padded play area gives kids a safe place to blow off a little steam. But World Brooklyn is perhaps the most popular exhibit. This small-scale replica of Brooklyn gives children the opportunity to run their own neighborhood businesses.
The ColorLab exhibit lets children explore their creative side. Paints, pens, pencils, and a plethora of arts and crafts materials await. Encourage your children to enjoy hands-on art and a range of sensory-based activities. And if you’re there at the end of the day, make sure you enjoy storytime.
The best time of the week to visit Brooklyn Children’s Museum is on a Thursday afternoon. This is when the museum operates its “pay what you wish” ticketing policy.
2. Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Located in the Upper West Side, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a fully fledged NYC institution. Perfect for toddlers and young children, this colorful museum is home to Nickelodeon superstars Dora the Explorer and Diego. Check out the breathtaking gallery of artwork devoted to these two cartoon icons, located on the second floor.
There’s a distinctly educational feel to the rest of the museum, and the curators like to keep things fresh with regularly changing exhibits. Among the most popular presentations in recent years involved a cultural exploration of Japan and a celebration of dance.
If you’re looking for a great photo opportunity, head to Alphie the Dragon. No visit to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is complete without feeding the dragon a letter.
3. Staten Island Children’s Museum
Staten Island Children’s Museum is the perfect place for children who want to explore and investigate. And most of the exhibits are perfect for kids who like to be creative. Take Block Harbor, for example. This interactive exhibition allows kids to build structures with hundreds of building blocks.
A day at this popular institution gives your kids the chance to learn and get active at the same time. There are giant dominoes to explore, as well as a supersized Connect Four set. Or let your child become an ant for the day in the larger-than-life anthill exhibit.
One of the most popular attractions here is the Green Living Room. Designed to teach kids about the benefits of green energy sources, the exhibit offers a tactile experience that is a lot of fun. Children can watch TV, turn on lights and learn about renewable energy. The fact that wind energy powers the entire space only adds to its allure.
4. Children’s Museum of the Arts
Located on Hudson Square inside a purpose-built facility, the Children’s Museum of the Arts is a haven for creative children. The museum actively encourages children to get their hands dirty with paint. As well as playdough stations, you’ll find stations for coloring, drawing, Magna tiles and storytelling.
One of the most popular attractions here is the Sound Studio. This is where children and their parents can experiment with a range of sounds to create music. Another interactive area to look out for is the Clay Bar. Help your kids to create their own original clay sculptures. And have a go at it yourself.
There are always teaching artists available to offer advice and encouragement. Whether you hit the Media Lab or the Fine Arts Studio, don’t be afraid to ask for help or a short tutorial.
5. Jewish Children’s Museum
The Jewish Children’s Museum offers children a fun and interactive way to learn about Jewish culture and history. Curators have created an immersive experience that allows kids to learn through play and communication.
The Soil to Oil workshop covers all major Jewish symbols and traditions, including Chanukah and the menorah. Children learn as they make their own olive oil from fresh olives. There are also opportunities to make potato latkes and chocolate.
Regular classes teach children about the history of Judaism, the various Jewish holidays, and everyday aspects of the culture. Your kids can even learn while they putt, since an impressive mini golf course takes center stage at this unique museum.
6. DiMenna Children’s History Museum
Who says history has to be boring? A day at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum is a great way for the family to learn about American history. Located in the Upper West Side, this fascinating institution takes visitors on a journey of discovery that spans 350 years.
Several exhibits chart the lives of children who grew up to become highly influential adults. Galleries and interactive displays tell the story of people such as Alexander Hamilton and James McCune Smith.
Take a break from learning with a visit to one of the regular Little New-Yorkers events. This is where children can sing together, get creative or enjoy a story. There are also events designed for all the family, including cooking classes and games.
The best children’s museums in NYC are those that combine learning with fun. These six wonderful institutions do exactly that — and they’re perfect for a family day out in the Big Apple.