Kid-Friendly Museums in the New York Area
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Travel back in time to an early 19th-century country resort where New Yorkers came for a day of fun and relaxation. Family-friendly tours highlight activities that were popular in the 1800s.
Temporarily closed; be sure to check out MoMath’s full menu of online events and student sessions at events.momath.org!
At MoMath, discover the side of math you’ve never seen before with exhibits and activities like Seeing Math, an exhibit that shows math in a whole new light, and Square-Wheeled Trike, a surprisingly smooth ride on square wheels.
Learn all about New York Harbor and its science and history with South Street Seaport Museum. Visit the South Street Seaport Museum with your family for Tall Ships Tours and gallery exhibitions. Periodic family programs offer hands-on workshops for school-aged children on everything from boat design to plankton studies, and fun educational sails on the Schooner Pioneer. MiniMates program for toddlers and preschoolers and their care-givers offers fun and relaxed learning in a creative environment with music, movement, art, science, and free play.
Tours are closed until further notice, but virtual experiences are still available.
Hours: Sunday-Monday and Thursday-Friday, 12-6pm; Saturday, 12-8pm
Admission: $10 adults; $5 seniors and students; free for children ages 16 and younger and members
What you need to know: Timed ticket only; you can book in advance online. Capacity is limited.
MoMA PS1 presents today’s most experimental, thought- provoking art. Founded in 1971, it is the first nonprofit arts center in the US devoted solely to contemporary art.
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; farmstand open May 12-Nov. 7, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-3pm
Admission: Free except during special events
What you need to know: Maintain 6 feet of social distance between household groups; and wear face coverings when six-foot social distancing is not possible, unless a face covering is not medically tolerated. Historic adriance farmhouse tours are closed due to COVID-19. Visitors and employees must stay home if they are sick. Members and general admission visitors are required to pre-purchase admission tickets through the farm’s online ticketing system. Tickets will no longer be sold at the door on event days. More visitor information found here.
This 47-acre museum includes historic farm buildings, a greenhouse, livestock, farm vehicles, planting fields, an orchard and an herb garden. As one of the longest continually farmed sites in New York, the museum provides children with opportunities to learn about biodiversity, nutrition, health and wellness, climate change, and preserving local history. Hay rides are also available weather permitting.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 12-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm
What you need to know: All visitors must reserve a timed entry ticket prior to visiting the Queens Museum. After booking your timed tickets, arrive within 30 minutes of your ticket start time. You will be asked to present your ticket–digital or hard copy to a Welcome Team Member upon arriving at the museum. Masks are required for entry for all visitors ages 2+ and all visitors will be asked to scan for a temperature check. Please see the museum website for everything that you need to know before visiting. Book your free tickets in advance here.
The museum is dedicated to providing New Yorkers with a high-quality visual arts experience, and features six galleries. It offers regular artist workshops and educational programming. Don’t miss the Panorama of the City of New York, a model of the city built to the scale of 1:1200.
Scheduled to reopen April 30.
Hours: Beginning April 30: Friday, 2-8pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: $15; $11 seniors ages 65 and older and students with valid ID; $9 children ages 3-17; free for children younger than 3 and members
What you need to know: The museum has installed barriers where appropriate, and upgraded all HVAC air filters. Capacity will be limited to 25 percent, and face masks and social distancing will be required. Advanced, timed-entry tickets will be on sale soon and are required.
The only museum in the U.S. dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms. Permanent exhibit: The Jim Henson Exhibition features a rare look into the creative mind and life of Jim Henson with 300 objects and 47 puppets on display, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and more.
Temporarily closed; slated to reopen July 2021
Get your hands on more than 450 science-themed exhibits that engage learners of all inclinations and ages.
Hours: Small-group tours: Friday-Sunday, 11am-3pm
Admission: Access to grounds is free; guided tours are $50 for up to 6 people
What you need to know: Buildings are currently closed, but visitors are welcome to explore the grounds during regular hours. Tavern Terrace Beer Garden is open with social distancing and mask-wearing. Wear a face covering Maintain a six-foot distance from others at all times; Avoid congregating in groups.
This living-history village allows visitors to recreate and interact with colonial history through guided tours, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. Follow a visit to the site’s museum, which hosts a rotating display of exhibits that highlight the historical importance of the area, with a guided tour of its 45 original buildings, including the oldest-known schoolhouse in America, where you might meet a few costumed demonstrators engaging in old-fashioned trades and day-to-day duties.
Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 10am-12pm and 1-3pm
Admission: $8; free for children younger than 1 and members
What you need to know: The museum is open for two timed sessions each weekend day, which are separated by a short break for thorough cleaning. Capacity is limited to ensure social distancing, and it’s recommended to purchase tickets in advance. All guests ages 2 and older are required to wear a face mask.
Interactive exhibitions and creative workshops here are launchpads for discovery, designed to nurture children’s natural curiosity and creativity. Permanent exhibits include: Bugs and Other Insects: Crawl through a human-size ant hill, try on an exoskeleton, watch butterflies being born and bees working on their hive, and jam with the Insect Orchestra. Block Harbor: Explore a fantasy port of call on a pirate ship, peep through a telescope, ring the bell, navigate the wheel, cook in the galley—or just make believe. Great Explorations: Kids learn about extreme environments as they explore a rainforest canopy and cave, drive a dogsled through the tundra, build an igloo, cross a river, walk on snowshoes, and drive a submersible.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, by reservation only
Admission: $5 ages 5 and older; $10 for guided tour and video
What you need to know: Masks are required and temperatures will be taken upon arrival.
Art and culture collide at the African American Museum, where the mission is to educate and promote understanding and appreciation of African American culture, art, and tradition through education, exhibitions, and workshops for the public.
Hours: Thursday-Friday, 10am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Admission: $16; $14 children ages 2-12 and seniors ages 62 and older; free for military personnel, volunteer firemen, and non-ambulatory visitors.
What you need to know: All museum visitors older than 2 must wear a face mask while in the museum. Disposable face masks will be made available for anyone who does not have them. Six feet of social distance is the standard, and staff is empowered to close exhibits if maintaining 6 feet of distance between people appears to not be possible.
The museum features more 75 air and space crafts from hot air balloons to an actual Lunar Module, Long Island's only giant screen theater that houses the Jet Blue Sky Theater Planetarium and the National Geographic Dome Theater and Nunley's Carousel. The Planetarium, Dome Theater, Nunley’s Carousel, and Junior Jet Club are currently closed until further notice as per NYS mandate.
Hours: Museum: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Preserve: daily, 7am-7:30pm; no dogs allowed.
Admission: $4; $2 children ages 5-12
What you need to know: Guests are required to wear masks when in the foyer, gift shop, and museum. Three to four family groups are allowed in the museum at a time. One family group is allowed in foyer, gift shop, and exhibit alcove at a time.
The museum is a center for research on Long Island geology and a valued resource in the study of local Native American archaeology. Educational and Scout programs, including archaeology, geology, and environmental themes, are offered during and after school hours. Special events held on select Saturdays.
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 10am-3pm; members only: 10am-11am
Admission: $14; $13 ages 65 and older; free for infants younger than 1
What you need to know: Health and safety protocols and operational modifications are in place to enable visitors to return to play and learn. These include safe physical distancing and PPE protocols, reduced admission and exhibit capacity, timed entry, and contactless interactions. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
The museum strives to fuel young childrens’ creativity with several unique exhibits and activities, including [email protected], a two-story climbing structure for ages 4 and older, and Changes & Challenges, in which kids can experience how people with differing abilities adapt to daily challenges. Feasts for Beasts is also a fan favorite, allowing children to discover the amazing ways animals find and eat their food and participate in themed activities.
Hours: Mansion: Tuesday-Sunday, 11 am-4:45pm; last entry in the 3:30-4pm ticket time. The mansion will be closed April 26-May 7 and Nov. 8-19. The arboretum, trails, and sculpture garden are open daily, 9am to dusk.
Admission: $15; $10 seniors; $5 students with ID and children ages 4-12; free for children younger than 4 and members
What you need to know: Masks required upon entering. There is timed ticket entry, requiring visitors to purchase tickets online before arriving.
View the permanent collection of more than 500 art objects from American and European art of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Sculpture Park features more than 30 large-scale works by artists such as Botero, Serra, Valdes, and many others, sited throughout the museum’s 145-acre Gold Coast property.
Hours: Museum: Thursday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. Preserve: daily, sunrise to sunset.
Admission: $5; $3 seniors and children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5
What you need to know: The museum is only allowing 10 visitors at a time for up to 45-minute visits. The 1pm reservation includes a guided tour with a staff member. Many hands-on exhibits (the puppet theater, crawl thru log, toys) have been removed for safety reasons. The reptile room downstairs is still closed. Masks are required at all times.
The museum offers a variety of environmental education programs for all ages that involve all aspects of Long Island’s natural history. Visitors can see live animal exhibits and monthly scheduled presentations that include birds of prey, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. Birthday party packages are available at off-site locations, as well as nature walks, campfire circles, bird-watching programs, and community service projects.
Temporarily closed, but it’s currently hosting a variety of outdoor events for families.
A science activity center located on the Leeds Pond Preserve, this museum offers hands-on science workshops for children. All programs and workshops are by registration only; see the website for a full schedule.
Hours: Wednesday, 10am-2pm; Saturday-Sunday, 1-5 pm
Admission: $5; free for members and children younger than 1
What you need to know: Must book your visit in advance 2 days in advance. Reservations are required for private group sessions. Print your event registration to bring to your visit, and submit a completed COVID-19 screening within 24 hours of visiting. Face masks are required for all guests over age 2. Physical distancing measures are in place.
Housed in the historic Chandlery Building on Port Jefferson Harbor, this museum is a lighthouse learning center featuring interactive exhibits for kids in primary grades and adults. Learn about Long Island’s natural ecosystem and maritime heritage through permanent installations like Virtual Submarine—a computer program that allows visitors to virtually navigate the Port Jefferson harbor (both above and below water) while learning more about the natural attributes and history of the area.
Hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
Admission: $19 ages 1 and older; free for members and EBT holders
What you need to know: Advance online tickets or phone reservations are required. Museum staff and any visitors age 2 and over will be required to wear masks that cover their mouths and noses. CMEE staff will take the temperature of all visitors prior to entering the Museum
Kids ages 2-10 can learn through play at the museum’s permanent exhibits and activities, which include a Crawler Garden with bugs, fruits, and vegetables, a Musical Forest, and a drop-in art studio. You can also sail the high seas, discover how a windmill works, try on costumes, and let off some pent-up energy in an indoor play space meant to nurture cognitive and physical development.
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 12-5pm
What you need to know: Admission is by advance reservation only, and visits are limited to 1 hour. The following are temporarily unavailable: “Create Your Own” Kids Activity Station, Digital Action Painting Touchscreens, Family Activity Guides, Merchandise (books, postcards, etc.), Drinking fountain, Coat room. All visitors and Museum staff are required to wear a mask or cloth face covering. Visitors and Museum staff will observe 6-foot social distancing at all times. Visitors will comply with temperature taking prior to entering the Museum building.
With constantly changing exhibitions, The Heckscher Museum of Art provides educational experiences and public programming for all ages. The primary collection features more than 2,300 works, spanning from the 16th to 21st centuries.
Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 11am-4pm
Admission: $10; $9 seniors and students with ID; $7 children ages 2-12; free for military, children younger than 2, and members
What you need to know: The Mansion living quarters and the Reichert Planetarium remain closed at this time. Tickets are available online and at the gate. Please wear a mask when unable to maintain 6-feet distancing from others or when indoors.
Featuring a mansion, marine and natural history museum, planetarium, and park, this unique Long Island staple is perfect for the whole family. Guests can view the Hall of Fishes marine museum, the Habitat and Stroll Wing animal dioramas, and the natural-history and cultural-artifact galleries on the first floor of the Memorial Wing. Plus, for the spring, the grounds is home to an 18-hole mini-golf course.
Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 12-4 pm; Summer hours: daily, 10am-5pm
Admission: Adults, $6; Seniors and children ages 4-18, $5; Children ages 3 and under, members and active military with ID are free.
What you need to know: Masks are required and tickets must be purchased in advance. Everyone must maintain and follow social distancing guidelines, including a new one-way path through the museum. The museum installed plexiglass barriers at the front desk and gift shop, has hand sanitizer available and turned off the water fountain.
Explore the relationship between Long Islanders and the sea through the museum’s 6,000 objects and artifacts. Cold Spring’s current exhibits display the whaling history of the area.
Highlights of the collection include New York State’s only fully-equipped 19th-century whaleboat with original gear. See scrimshaw and whalebone art and ship models, explore artifacts and tools used by whalers, stand next to a sperm whale jaw, see a diorama of Cold Spring Harbor in 1850, and touch whale bones. See the website for a schedule of family workshops, and for a variety of virtually-hosted trivia nights!
Hours: May 26-Oct 27: self-guided tours: Sunday-Friday, 12-4pm (grounds only); guided tours: Saturday, 11am-3pm open
Admission: Self-guided tours: free. Guided tours: $10; $5 for seniors and children 5-12; free for children younger than 5
What you need to know: Masks are required. Social distancing guidelines are being implemented.
The grounds feature 19 historic houses, barns, and outbuildings, including the mid-18th-century Hallock Homestead (entry into selected Hallockville buildings is by guided escort only). Visitors can experience farming on Long Island during that time period and meet Hallockville’s friendly cows, sheep, and chickens.
Hours: Grounds: daily, dawn to dusk
What you need to know: The Manor House (including Live Animal Museum) remains closed to the public. The grounds, including the playground, outdoor animal exhibits and trails are open. All pre-arranged groups of 10 or more people must call in advance to request use of the outdoor spaces.
Featuring nature trails, a pond, gardens, an indoor exhibit that includes a live animal museum with more than 100 specimens, and a greenhouse with plants from all over the world, this 33-acre preserve is perfect for any animal lover. The center also includes a large exhibit room with seasonal natural history exhibits.
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 12-5pm. Closed April 22.
Admission: $8 adults; $4 ages 3-18; $5 seniors, veterans and students with ID; free for children under 3.
What you need to know: Advanced registration is required for timed-entry tickets and all visitors are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Visitors can choose from one of three available time slots: 12-1:30pm, 1:30-3pm, or 3-4:30pm. Glenview, the Planetarium and Hudson Riverama are closed until further notice.
The Hudson River Museum offers engaging experiences and exhibitions of American art ranging from 19th-century Hudson River School paintings to contemporary art installations. The state-of-the-art planetarium is the only public one in Westchester and teaches you all about the Hudson River in Hudson Riverama—a hands-on, environmental teaching gallery that explores the history and ecosystem of the river.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: $10; $5 seniors and students; free for children 12 and younger and members
What you need to know: All visitors are required to purchase timed-entry tickets and make reservations in advance. All visitors, including children older than 2, are required to wear a face mask. Visitors must register for use of the Learning Center when they register for general entry tickets. There is a limit of 2 families (eight people) per time slot.
With a focus on art and humanities, this museum offers lectures, films, workshops, and concerts for a general audience. The museum’s Children’s Learning Center serves as an interactive space where children can explore, interpret, and create art.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-4pm; closed occasionally on Fridays. Trails: daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: Free; there is a parking fee
What you need to know: Face masks and social distancing are required.
Exhibits spotlight the area’s natural features and the reservation’s history, including specimens of birds, mammals, plants, insects, and minerals. Family programs and activities include guided hikes, a wildflower garden, Native American crafts, plant and tree identification, maple sugaring, and storytelling. The museum is located on the 4,400-acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.
Hours: Grounds: daily, sunrise to sunset. Starting in May, Carriage Barn Education and Visitor Center: Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm
What you need to know: John Jay’s Bedford House and Discovery Centers closed for the season, but are scheduled to reopen in May. Guests will be required to social distance and wear face masks.
The historic site now encompasses 62 acres, including formal gardens, woodland walks, rolling meadows, and a cluster of 19th-century farm buildings. An 1820s schoolhouse and an 1830s barn are open for touring. Historic house tours are available on a regular schedule year-round. Visitor Center and Discovery Center are open seasonally; see website for details.
Moments in Time: Photographs from the Jay Family Collection: This exhibit features the Jay-Iselin family, who lived at the homestead from the 1850s to the 1950s.
Plans to reopen in June by appointment only.
HVCCA is committed to the enrichment of Peekskill, a multicultural community that has recreated itself as a major arts destination. The center operates a 12,000-square-foot exhibition space and is the primary sponsor of the Peekskill Project, an annual, citywide exhibition of site-specific artwork. Tours are available upon request.
What you need to know: Face masks are required for employees and visitors over 2. All visitors must agree to follow their COVID Courtesy Codes. Advance-timed tickets are required for all visitors.
Hudson Valley Historic Sites operate a group of architecturally beautiful historic sites including Philipsburg Manor, Van Cortlandt Manor, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, and Kykuit. Visit hudsonvalley.org/historic-sites for a list of events at each venue.
The Neuberger Museum of Art celebrates the return of some of its most precious treasures after being on a national tour across the country for over a year..
Temporarily closed, but it’s hosting weekend family workshops for limited groups; see website for details.
The vibrant learning space caters to children up to age 12, and provides opportunities for hands-on exploration. Exhibits focus on pretend play, physics, science, art, music, and places to climb, build, and examine.
Five permanent exhibits including: Woodlands Room: Step back into the time of Westchester’s first inhabitants, the Mohegan Indians, in this total environmental experience of the lifestyle and culture of these early settlers. Listen to the sounds of the forest and river as the settlement, portrayed through murals and a replica of a longhouse, becomes more visible.
The Bob McKeand Room: Railroading: A re-creation of the Yorktown Depot area circa 1950 features an HO scale model layout, a delight for railroad enthusiasts, be they historians or model train buffs.
Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: $8; $6 seniors; $3 students; free for children ages 16 and younger and members
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a mask while in the museum, in the garden, and on any museum property. Timed tickets are required for the museum. Occupancy in the museum is limited to eight people per time slot.
Visitors can tour the birthplace and celebrate the legacy of artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967) at this unique art center. It boasts an archive of Edward Hopper documents and memorabilia and hosts rotating art exhibits. Guided tours are offered on weekends or by appointment. Visit the website for a calendar of upcoming events and children’s workshops.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5; free for children younger than 7
What you need to know: Tickets must be pre-purchased. The ca. 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House remains closed. Social distancing and other public health protection measures are in place.
The museum gives visitors insight into the rich history of Rockland County with unique exhibits and archived materials. It features several exhibits, including the Suffrage Centennial exhibitions that address questions about how the fight for women’s suffrage changed fashion and how women’s fashion and lives changed in response to suffrage.
Be an astronaut for a day at the Challenger Center! The center offers an interactive learning experience in science, technology, engineering, and math through performing tasks of real scientists, engineers, researchers, and astronauts. One of 4 Challenger Centers in the NY metro area, it’s the only center that offers space missions and planetarium shows to the public.
Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10:30am-12pm, 12:30-2pm, 2:30-4pm
Admission: $10; $8 seniors and children 3-12
What you need to know: Each session will be limited to fifteen people; reservations are required and can be made here.
Kids get a deep dive into the aerospace industry—spaceflight, engineering, research, piloting—including the rocket engine that propelled the X-15 to incredible speed and height. Also on display is the first American hovercraft invented by Charles Fletcher, as well as aircrafts, helicopters and airplane models. Don’t miss the custom-built “Fundamentals of Flight” interactive aerodynamics exhibit.
Hours: Saturdays, 1-4pm
Admission: $5; free for members and children younger than 18
What you need to know: Will be operating at 25-percent capacity, temperature checks at door, masks and social distancing required. Admission to the Donald Cooper Model Railroad is included with museum admission.
This small museum covers the history of Mahwah in Bergen County. Kids will love the scaled train model, as well as the railroad memorabilia, including a restored 1929 Erie cupola caboose and photos of the early days of railroading. The “Les Paul in Mahwah Exhibit” tells the story of the famous guitar maker Les Paul who lived in Mahwah for sixty years, and features some of his inventions including a prototype for the hard body guitar and many guitars signed by stars. Visitors can also learn about the suffrage movement at the Women’s Fight for the Right to Vote exhibit.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 2-5pm
Animal lovers will love this wildlife art museum, housed in a converted historic carriage house. It’s one of only five museums in the United States to exclusively display wildlife art, and its collection, which began with philanthropist and collector Hiram Blauvelt’s private wildlife art and big game collections, now includes rotating exhibits. The A Life in the Wild exhibit, featuring photography from Thomas Mangelsen, will give visitors an especially unique perspective of wildlife. The Society of Animal Artists 56th Annual “Art and the Animal” show included artists from around the world
The Carlstadt Historical Society has organized a remarkable collection of archival photographs, written documents, news articles, clothing, and other items that bring Bergen County’s colorful history to life. You can find everything from 1930s-era school pennants to early 20th century fife and drum corp. uniforms to a vintage breathalyzer used by the police department.
Established in 1980, and maintained by the Society of African Missions, this museum is one of the only museums in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, give visitors a taste of sub-Saharan culture, including sculpture, painting, costumes, textiles, decorative arts, religion, and folklore.