UPDATED FEBRUARY 2016: A comprehensive selection of kid-friendly museums in the New York City area, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester County, Rockland County, Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County), Fairfield County, CT, and beyond. Our museum guide features science exhibits, nature, transportation and technology innovation, and art exhibits; you'll find something for every member of your family.
For upcoming performances, exhibits, festivals, and more at these museums, check out our searchable calendar of events.
Click on a region below or scroll down for the full list:
New York City
Westchester County, NY
Rockland County, NY
Orange County, NY
Fairfield County, CT
NEW YORK CITY
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park
Hours: Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday 12-4pm; gardens/grounds are open 8:30am-dusk daily.
Admission: $5; $3 students and seniors; free for children younger than 6. Admission is free to the gardens/grounds.
This historic stone mansion, built between 1836 and 1842, serves as a window into 19th-century life in the area, when many more grand country estates dotted the then-countryside. Visitors can take a tour of the mansion’s period-dressed rooms and view rotating exhibits that delve into significant periods of the site’s history. Throughout the winter season, the museum will host special one-hour classical music concerts: Feb. 14 at 7pm (ensemble); March 15 at 4:30pm (all-female ensemble).
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse (165th Street), Bronx
Hours: Thursday and Saturday-Sunday 11am-6pm; Friday 11am-8pm
The flagship cultural institution of the Bronx, founded in 1971, this museum focuses on 20th-century and contemporary art.
On Feb. 21 from 2-4pm, the museum will host a Chinese dance group from the Chinese Cultural Center. Kids will learn traditional cutting and calligraphy with hands-on art activities at 2pm, followed by the performance at 3pm.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $9; free for children younger than 1; free for all 3-5pm on Thursdays
This colorful museum includes permanent exhibits like Neighborhood Nature, where kids can take on the role of field scientists to observe life forms and document the environment of a freshwater pond, saltwater beach, urban woodland, and community garden; Totally Tots, an early learner exhibit for kids up to age 5 that includes Water Wonders, Art Studio, Building Zone, and Little Theater; and World Brooklyn, where visitors can take a trip through Brooklyn (or at least, a child-sized model of the city), to learn about its diversity through the stories of real people and places.
200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights
Hours: Wednesday 11am-6pm; Thursday 11am-10pm; Friday-Sunday 11am-6pm
Admission: Suggested contribution: $16; $10 students and seniors $10; free for ages 19 and younger
Housed in a 560,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building, it is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the U.S. with world-renowned permanent art collections. The museum is located close to Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Prospect Park Zoo.
Jewish Children’s Museum
792 Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm; Sunday 10am-5:30pm
Admission: $13; $10 seniors; free for children younger than 2
This museum celebrates Jewish culture through hands-on exhibits focusing on Jewish holidays, biblical history, the land of Israel, and contemporary Jewish life. It features multimedia exhibits, an art gallery, two state-of-the-art computer labs, a game show studio, a 75-seat audiovisual theater, a miniature golf course, and a craft workshop.
123 Smith St., Boerum Hill
Hours: Saturday 12-7pm; Sunday-Friday 9am-9pm
Dedicated to big art, this small venue in downtown Brooklyn features interactive media and visual and performing arts.
Above & Beyond: A three-year retrospective of the art of William and Kathleen Laziza, founders of the museum, that features never-before-seen works, including touch-sensitive sculptures, wearable art pieces, paintings, videos, and more.
New York Transit Museum
Corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-5pm
Admission: $7; $5 children and seniors; seniors free on Wednesdays
At the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to urban public transportation history, galleries showcase the tale of building NYC’s 100-year-old subway system.
9/11 Memorial Museum
180 Greenwich St.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-9pm
Admission: $24; $18 seniors, veterans, and college students; $15 children ages 7-17; free for members and children younger than 7
The 9/11 Memorial Museum offers age-appropriate entry points into the history of the World Trade Center, 9/11, and its aftermath. On Saturdays, children can participate in drop-in activity stations tied to artifacts and themes. Special monthly programs Stories & Art and K9 for Kids invite children and their adult caregivers to hear stories with a theme tied to 9/11 and participate in an art project. All programs are free to ticketed museum visitors.
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street, Upper West Side
Hours: 10am-5:45pm daily
Admission: Suggested donation: $22; $17 students and seniors; $12 children ages 2-12
One of the largest museums in the world, the collections here are made up of more than 32 million specimens and artifacts.
Currently on view: Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters, open through Aug. 9, 2015, explores the power and risk of natural disasters such as hurricanes, volcanoes, and tornadoes.
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place, Greenwich Village
The Center for Architecture promotes understanding and appreciation of architecture and design through educational programs for K-12 schools, families, and the general public. Learn more about the buildings and streetscapes that make up our city by visiting our free galleries with changing exhibitions on current topics in architecture, or by attending one of our hands-on design workshops. Programs include 2-hour weekend family workshops, birthday parties, summer and vacation design studios, field trips for school groups, and in-school residencies.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Tisch Building, 212 W. 83rd St., Upper West Side
Hours: 10am-5pm Sunday and Tuesday-Friday; Saturday and Monday public school holidays 10am-7pm
Admission: $11; $7 seniors; free for children younger than 1; free for all 5-8pm on the first Friday of each month
CMOM inspires kids to learn about themselves and the world around them through interactive exhibits and programs such as Adventures with Dora and Diego, in which children ages 2-6 join a series of missions to save animals, build a bear’s nest, and get ready for a fiesta; and PlayWorks, in which children up to age 4 feed alphabet letters to a talking dragon, drive a fire truck, and more while exploring language, art, science, and imagination.
Eat Sleep Play: Building Health Every Day: This permanent exhibit explores ways families can create a healthier lifestyle through interactive displays and activities that highlight the latest medical and behavioral research.
Hello from Japan!: Children will have fun learning about life in present day Japan in this playful, highly immersive environment. It will transport families to two distinct areas of Tokyo that exist side by side: one serene and exquisite, the other, too cute for words.
Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St., Soho
Hours: Monday and Wednesday 12-5pm; Thursday-Friday 12-6pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $11; free for seniors and children younger than 1; pay as you wish Thursdays from 4-6pm
A hands-on arts museum that engages young artists with a clay bar, fine art studio, WEE space (for ages 5 and younger), and a media lab and sound booth.
Ditty Bop Stroll: Walk through a room that has field paintings on the walls and the ceiling painted with reflective elements that creates optical illusions.
DiMenna Children’s History Museum at New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way, Upper West Side
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-5pm.
Admission: $19; $14 seniors/educators/active military; $12 students; $6 kids ages 5-13; free for kids younger than 4; pay as you wish Fridays from 6-8pm. Admission includes entrance into the New-York Historical Society.
Located on the lower level of the New-York Historical Society, this is the first-ever museum that brings American history to life through the eyes of children. Targeted toward children ages 8-13, the museum features life stories of a diverse selection of youngsters who lived in NYC from the late 17th to the 20th centuries.
Museum Scavenger Hunts (Saturdays and Sundays): Families team up for a historical scavenger hunt through the museum. Participation prizes are awarded.
1109 Fifth Ave.
Hours: Saturday-Tuesday 11am-5:45pm; Thursdays 11am-8pm; Fridays 11am-4pm
Admission: $15; $12 seniors; $7.50 students; free for children 18 and younger. Pay as you wish on Thursdays, and free admission on Saturdays
From dancing with celebrated kindie performers at a live concert, to excavating ancient replicas in a simulated archaeological dig, to designing mixed-media artworks, families enjoy a wide range of programs at the Jewish Museum. On Sundays and select weekdays, families can participate in the Museum’s Drop-in Art Workshop, attend music and theater performances, and explore art exhibitions together. They can also visit Archaeology Zone, an interactive exhibition designed for children, as well as engage in holiday programs and specialized art workshops during winter vacation weeks.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
Hours: Daily, 10am-9pm
Admission: $25; $17 seniors; $12 students; free for children younger than 12
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s programs for kids and families are designed to spark imagination, creativity, and lifelong connections with art. Drop-in programs such as Art Trek and Sunday Studio offer fun through looking, learning, and creating art together. Sign up for classes taught by educators and artists who use the entire museum as an expanded classroom. Get started with #MetKids, a new digital art feature made for, with, and by kids ages 7–12 that includes an interactive map, videos starring kid reporters, and more. Find it at metmuseum.org/metkids.
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
421 E. 61st St.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11am-4pm
Admission: $8; $7 seniors and students with ID; free for children younger than 12
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. Touch Collection baskets encourage children to role-play life during this time. In the Children’s Corner, young visitors can dress up in reproduction clothing for pretend play in a replica of the historic kitchen. Afterward, try out historic toys and games in the museum’s backyard garden. Upcoming family programs include Teddy Bear Tea and Washington’s Birthday Ball.
Museum of Mathematics
11 E. 26th St.
Hours: 10am-5pm daily
Admission: $15; $9 seniors ages 65 and older, students, and children ages 3-12; free for children ages 2 and younger
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 lights, and Square-Wheeled Trike, a surprisingly smooth ride on square wheels.
Museum of Modern Art
11 W. 53rd St.
Hours: Saturday-Thursday 10:30am-5:30pm
Admission: $25; $18 seniors; $14 students with ID; free for children 16 and younger.
Free admission on Fridays from 4-8pm. Discover modern and contemporary art with your family at The Museum of Modern Art with programs and resources specially designed for families with kids ages 4-14. Spend time at free gallery talks, art workshops, and film screenings, or get creative at Art Lab, an interactive space.
National Academy Museum & School
1083 Fifth Ave.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-6pm
Admission: Pay as you wish; free for children younger than 12
The National Academy Museum & School provides a double helping of creative, engaging programming this season. Discover the work of a renowned architect in Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie, through Jan. 10, 2016. Our school hosts half- and full-day art camps over the winter. Open to ages 5-17 and led by trained art educators and professional artists, camps offer courses in mixed media, digital photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture.
New York City Fire Museum
278 Spring St.
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
Admission: $8; $5 children ages 2-12, seniors, and students with college ID; free for children younger than 2
The New York City Fire Museum displays the evolution of firefighting from the bucket brigades of Peter Stuyvesant's New Amsterdam through the colorful history of volunteer firefighters to modern firefighting techniques and equipment. The museum also houses a memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who made the supreme sacrifice on 9/11. Fire safety tours are available for groups.
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays 10am-6pm; Fridays 10am-8pm; Sundays 11am-5pm
Admission: $20; $15 seniors, educators, and active military; $12 students; $6 children ages 5-13; free for children 4 and younger
Experience the wonder of trains and toys with the whimsical train exhibition and family programs. The Train Hunt is available anytime families visit.
South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton St.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm
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.
SONY Wonder Technology Lab
56th Street and Madison Avenue, Upper East Side
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9:30am-5pm
Admission: FREE, but reservations are highly recommended (especially during school vacations) and can be made via phone Tuesday-Friday 9am-2pm. A limited number of same-day tickets are available on a first come, first served basis beginning at 9:30am.
This free technology and entertainment museum engages kids of all ages with its dynamic, state-of-the-art facility that unites technology and creativity for entertaining, experiential learning. It houses a wide variety of permanent, interactive exhibits, including Virtual Surgery, where visitors can “feel” what it’s like to perform open-heart surgery; WSWL Production Studio, which explores the various roles associated with television production; GameBuilder, where visitors can create their own computer racing game; and Wonder Of Music, which explores the process of making music and lets kids perform in front of a virtual audience.
Family-friendly films: SWTL hosts free film screenings in its high-definition theater. For the full schedule, visit wondertechlab.sony.com.
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St., West Village
Hours: Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday 10:30am-6pm; Friday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm
Admission: $22; $18 seniors and students; free for children younger than 18
Focusing on 20th century and contemporary art, this West Village museum hosts interactive tours, art making workshops, and special events for kids, such as their Sketching Tours, Whitney Wees, and Open Studio on select Saturdays and Sundays.
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-6pm
Admission: Suggested donation: $8; $4 students and seniors; free for children younger than 12. Free guided tours on Sundays at 2pm.
The museum is dedicated to visual arts and features six galleries. It offers regular artist workshops and lectures.
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Ave., Astoria
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 10:30am-5pm; Friday 10:30am-8pm; Saturday-Sunday 11:30am-7pm.
Admission: $12; $9 seniors and college students; $6 children; free for children younger than 3; free for all on Fridays from 4-8pm
The only museum in the U.S. dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms.
Lights, Camera, Astoria! (through March 29, 2015): Using photographs, film strips, and more, this exhibit traces the fascinating history of the Astoria studio, which has been at the heart of filmmaking in New York City since 1920.
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Hours: Monday-Friday and Feb. 17, 9:30am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Admission: $11; $8 seniors, students, and children ages 2 and older; free for children younger than 2
Get your hands on more than 450 science-themed exhibits that engage learners of all inclinations and ages.
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park
Hours: 10am-5pm daily. Monday-Friday: Outdoor visiting only. Saturday-Sunday: Farmhouse tours available.
Admission: Free; fees apply for public events
The museum strives to preserve Queens’ agricultural and horticultural past while heightening awareness of present-day sustainable agricultural and horticultural practices.
Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Ave.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 1-5pm. Tours: Wednesday-Friday at 2:30pm, Saturday-Sunday at 2pm and 3:30pm.
Admission: $8; $6 seniors; $5 children ages 4-11
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 27 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.
Staten Island Children’s Museum
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-5pm; 10am-5pm during public school recesses
Admission: $6; free for children younger than 1; free for grandparents on Wednesdays
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 snow shoes, and drive a submersible.
African American Museum
110 N. Franklin St., Hempstead
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Admission: FREE, but donations are accepted
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.
Cradle of Aviation Museum
1 Davis Ave. (across from Mitchel Athletic Complex), Garden City
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-5 pm
Admission: $14; $12 children and seniors. Theater combo tickets: $19; $17 children and seniors.
The museum features a Planetarium Theater, Junior Jet Club play area, and Nunley’s Carousel. The Firefighter’s Museum is located nearby. Permanent exhibits include those focused on early aviation, planes used in WWI and WWII, the jet age, aviation today, and space exploration.
Garvies Point Museum
50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm
Admission: $3; $2 children ages 5-12
The museum is a center for research on Long Island geology and a valued resource in the study of local Native American archaeology. Educational programs, including archaeology, geology, and environmental themes, are offered during and after school hours. Jewelry workshops are offered every Wednesday, and sculpture workshops are held every Thursday. Various film screenings are held on weekdays in February; visit the website for a full schedule.
Long Island Children’s Museum
11 Davis Ave., Garden City
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $12; $11 seniors; free for children ages 1 and younger
The museum has about 15 standing galleries with exhibits and activities for young children, including ClimbIt@LICM, 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. Recent additions include:
Feasts for Beasts: Discover the amazing ways animals find and eat their food and participate in themed activities. Plus, meet the new additions to the museum’s animal menagerie.
Nassau County Museum of Art: The Art Space for Children
1 Museum Drive, Roslyn
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11am-4:45pm
Admission: $10; $8 seniors; $4 students and children ages 4-12; free for children younger than 4
View the permanent collection of more than 500 art objects from American and European art of the 19th and 20th centuries. Also, visit the 145 acres that make up the Sculpture Park, which has more than 40 sculptures on site.
Family Art-Making Days: Family-friendly gallery tours and hands-on art making for children of all ages and their adult companions will be offered Feb. 19-21. ($8 plus museum admission)
Family Sundays at the Museum: Supervised art activities, gallery talks, and hands-on art making offered every Sunday at 1:30pm. (Free with museum admission)
Science Museum of Long Island
1526 N. Plandome Road, Plandome
A science activity center located on the Leeds Pond Preserve, this museum offers hands-on science workshops for children. Current workshops include Masters of Disasters, Wiggly Wonders, Simple Machines, and Space: Discover the Unknown. All programs and workshops are by registration only; see the website for a full schedule.
2225 Washington Ave., Seaford
Hours: Thursday-Sunday 11am-4pm
Admission: $3; $2 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5
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 as well as nature walks, campfire circles, bird-watching programs, and community service projects.
Children’s Maritime Museum at Port Jefferson
101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson
Hours: Saturday-Sunday 1-5pm
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 Navigation Station and Virtual Submarine—two interactive computer programs that allow 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.
Children’s Museum of the East End
376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
Hours: Monday and Wednesday-Sunday 9am -5 pm
Admission: $10; free for children younger than 1
Kids ages 2-10 can learn through play at the museum’s permanent exhibits, 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, meet sand puppets, discover how a windmill works, try on costumes at the turn-of-the-century general store, and let off some pent-up energy in an indoor play space meant to nurture cognitive and physical development.
Fun to Be Fit!: This indoor play space/exhibit seeks to help kids build healthy bodies and minds. It offers families a fun destination to be physically active during the colder months. The museum’s staff consulted with occupational therapists to implement exhibit features that nurture cognitive and physical development.
The Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor
279 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12-4pm; Saturday and Sunday 11-5pm
Admission: $6; $5 seniors and students ages 5 and older; free for children younger than 5; or $20 for a family of up to six people (must be in one household); admission by donation on Sundays from 11am-12pm
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 and one of the most notable scrimshaw collections in the Northeast. See 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. Your visit includes a screening of On Board the Morgan, a 15-minute film that introduces visitors to life on a whaling ship. See the website for a schedule of family workshops.
Hallockville Museum Farm
6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead
Hours: Self-guided walking tours of the grounds, including 28 acres of buildings, gardens, and collections, are offered from 11am-4pm on weekdays. Guided tours for the general public are conducted Friday-Sunday from 12-4pm between May and December.
Admission: Self-guided tours: FREE. Guided tours: $7; $5 children and seniors.
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.
The Heckscher Museum of Art
2 Prime Ave., Huntington
Hours: Wednesday-Friday 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-5pm. Extended hours on the first Friday of every month from 5-8:30pm with free admission.
Admission: Huntington residents: $6; $4 seniors and students ages 10 and older; free for children younger than 10. Non-residents: $8; $6 seniors; $5 students ages 10 and older; free for children younger than 10.
The primary collection spans 500 years of Western art with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Modern Alchemy: Experiments in Photography.
Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
180 Little Neck Road, Centerport
Hours: Tuesday and Saturday-Sunday 12-4pm
Admission: $7; $6 students and seniors; $3 children younger than 12. Mansion tours are an additional $5 per person.
The planetarium is closed for renovation, but the mansions, marine museum, natural history exhibits, and grounds are open. The 24-room William K. Vanderbilt II Mansion (1910-1936) is open for tours.
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale
Hours: Grounds are open daily, dawn to dusk. Indoor exhibits: Monday-Thursday 9:30am-4:30pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-4:30pm.
Admission: $7; $6 students and seniors; $5 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2
This 33-acre preserve features nature trails, a pond, gardens, an indoor exhibit that includes a live animal museum with more than 100 specimens, a greenhouse with plants from all over the world, and a large exhibit room with seasonal natural history exhibits. Outdoors, in fair weather, you can find the unpaved Forest Trail and the Great Lawn with an organic garden area. The center offers a February Vacation Nature Camp Feb. 17-20 for kids in grades K-3 (registration required).
Hudson River Museum & Planetarium
511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $6; $3 children and seniors
Part of the Fairfield/Westchester Museum Alliance, this museum preserves the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and the industries that developed around it, using this important natural landmark as a lens to view the history, science, and heritage of the region. The museum includes the Glenview Mansion, which features six period rooms decked in turn-of-the-20th-century style, and a planetarium that hosts many family-friendly shows and programs.
Planetarium shows: Saturday-Sunday at 12:30pm, 2pm, and 3:30pm ($2; $1 children and seniors, plus admission).
Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art: Explores the peacock through art.
The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art
1701 Main St., Peekskill
Hours: Friday 11am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 12-6pm; Tuesday-Thursday by appointment only
Admission: $5; $4 seniors and educators; $2 students and children ages 8 and older; free for children younger than 8
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.
Hudson Valley Historic Sites
639 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills
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.
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay St. (Route 22), Katonah
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $10; $5 students and seniors; free for children younger than 12
With a focus on art and humanities, this museum offers lectures, films, workshops, and concerts for a general audience while the museum’s Children’s Learning Center serves as an interactive space where children can explore, interpret, and create art.
Museum at the John Jay Homestead
Note: At the time of press, the Museum at the John Jay Homestead is closed for renovations. This museum will reopen in Spring 2015
400 Jay St., Katonah
Hours: Grounds are open from sunrise to sunset
Admission: $7; $5 seniors and students; free for children younger than 12
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.
Exhibit Gallery tours: Saturday-Wednesday 10am-3pm ($2)
Am I Not Myself a Woman?: This exhibit features the first generation of Jay women in Bedford. Open Sundays 12-2pm and Mondays 10am-12pm.
The Neuberger at SUNY Purchase
735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $5; $3 students; free for children younger than 12; free for all on the first Saturday of every month
Becoming Disfarmer: critical evaluation of Mike Disfarmer’s vernacular photographs
Trailside Nature Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Routes 35 and 121, Cross River
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday 9am-4pm
Admission: $2 suggested donation
Exhibits spotlight the area’s natural features and the reservation’s history, including specimens of birds, mammals, plants, insects, and minerals. Hiking trails are open daily, dawn to dusk. Family programs and activities include guided hikes, Native American crafts, plant and tree identification, maple sugaring, and storytelling.
Westchester Children’s Museum – Coming Soon!
Rye Playland Bathhouses (on the Long Island Sound)
The museum is currently under construction, with a tentative opening date in 2015. It will cater to children up to age 10 and provide opportunities for continued growth for preteens and teens, with exhibits focused on water play, pretend play, physics, science, art, music, and places to climb, build, and examine. It currently operates as a Museum without Walls and often partners with local organizations to offer family programs as well as fundraising events. Visit the website to learn more about donating to the museum’s construction.
Westmoreland Sanctuary Nature Center & Wildlife Preserve
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 10:30am-5pm
The preserve includes more than 7 miles of trails that are open daily from dawn to dusk for hiking and leisure (use Chestnut Ridge Road entrance). The nature center offers a variety of nature-based public programs on weekends, including bird watching, maple sugaring, and guided nature hikes.
The Yorktown Museum
1974 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 11am-4pm; Saturday 1-4pm
Admission: FREE, but donations are accepted
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 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.
Edward Hopper House Art Center
82 N. Broadway, Nyack
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 pm or by appointment
Admission: $7, $5 seniors; $2 students 17 and older; free for those 16 and younger
This nonprofit art center is the birthplace of renowned American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967). The center 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.
A Photographic Journey through Hopper’s World: A visual comparison of Hopper’s paintings with pictures of their real-life counterparts.
The Historical Society of Rockland County
20 Zukor Road, New City
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-4pm
Admission: $7; $3 children 12 and younger
The museum features a collection of 3,650 objects that date from the early 18th century to the present, including furnishings original to the Blauvelt House family and to the early farms and industries of Rockland County.
Town of Ramapo Challenger Center
225 Route 59, Airmont
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm; weekend hours depend upon when missions and planetarium programs are scheduled—check website for details
Admission: $10 per program; $5 seniors and children ages 8 and younger (when accompanied by a paying adult)
Part of the Challenger Learning Center Network, the Challenger 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.
Bear Mountain Trailside Museum and Zoo
Palisades Interstate Parkway (Exit 19), Bear Mountain
Hours: At press time, Bear Mountain Trailside Museum and Zoo is closed weekdays due to construction. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-4:30 pm. Check website for updates on weekday hours.
Admission: $1 suggested donation per person; $8 parking fee per car.
The 40-acre site features nature trails—including the first section of the Appalachian Trail—that link the homes of several birds of prey, the bear den, and habitats for beavers, river otters, foxes, and coyotes. The museum includes exhibits on Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, and the Boy Scouts.
Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
690 Route 9W, Fort Montgomery
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 9am-5pm from mid-April through October
This National Historic Landmark is a tribute to the Revolutionary War fortress built in 1776 by American soldiers to guard the entrance to the Hudson Highlands, which was destroyed by British forces the following year. Visitors can get a glimpse into the battle that raged here more than 200 years ago through self-guided tours of the grounds. Step inside the Visitors’ Center for a museum full of period artifacts and weapons, large-scale models of the fort and the attack, highly detailed mannequins frozen in poses of battle, and an action-packed 15-minute movie that depicts the construction of the fort, the attack, and the aftermath.
Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
Wildlife Education Center: 25 Boulevard, Cornwall-on-Hudson
Outdoor Discovery Center: Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road, Cornwall
Hours: Friday-Sunday 12-4pm
Admission: $3; free for children younger than 3
The museum’s exhibits highlight the local ecosystem, including flora native to the Hudson Estuary and its resident reptiles and amphibians—kids can see the latter up close and learn about their life cycles, diets, habitats, and adaptations. The museum also offers a variety of animal- and nature-based programs for kids, including Meet the Animals each weekend.
Mastodons: Ice Age to Discovery!: Learn about the ancient mastodon, the giant beaver, the condor, and the first people to inhabit New York. See a full-size mastodon skull and genuine artifacts. For information on special presentations related to the exhibit, check the website.
Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road, New Windsor
Hours: The center is closed for the season; re-opening April 1; check the website for spring hours
Admission: $15; $12 seniors; $8 students; free for children younger than 5
Storm King complements its permanent installation of sculpture with a variety of special exhibitions. These may comprise large-scale sculptures in outdoor galleries or smaller works and supporting materials shown in the museum building. Storm King offers family programs, dance and music performances, poetry readings, themed tours, and more. A 2pm daily tour introduces various aspects of Storm King’s collection. An interactive family program is offered at 1pm each Sunday.
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road, Fairfield
Hours: 10am-4pm daily
Admission: $5, $3 students and seniors, free for children younger than 5
The museum displays exhibitions and holds programs and activities that show how Connecticut developed into what is it today.
Creating Community: 375 in the Past: A hands-on exhibit that explores the area’s roots from Native Americans, through the American Revolution, to the present day.
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main St., Ridgefield
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $10, $5 students and seniors
The Aldrich is an independent, non-collecting museum that runs semester-long exhibits of contemporary art, the only one of it’s kind in Connecticut. The museum offers free (with admission) family art activities on weekends during regular hours.
The Barnum Museum
820 Main St., Bridgeport
Hours: Thursday-Friday 11am-3pm
Admission: FREE, but donations are appreciated
The museum is dedicated to the preservation of Bridgeport’s industrial and social history, including the influence of historical resident P.T. Barnum, founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The museum was damaged by a tornado in Jun 2010 and is still in the recovery process. A unique exhibit, Recovery In Action!, gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s recovery project and features more than 25,000 relocated artifacts along with a look at the conservation work being done on thousands of historical objects. For information on how you can donate to the museum’s recovery, visit the website.
1 Museum Drive, Greenwich
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $7; $6 students and seniors; free for children younger than 5; free for all on Tuesdays
A regionally-based institution that features art, science, and natural history in a dozen changing exhibitions each year. Permanent collections highlight the natural sciences.
Coiled and Decorated: Native American Pottery from the Bruce Museum Collection
The Discovery Museum and Planetarium
4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $10; $8 children ages 3-17, students, and seniors; free for children ages 2 and younger
The museum offers many opportunities for hands-on science and space exploration. Exhibits focus on energy, sound and light, sports science, and space. There’s an area especially for preschool-aged children.
Small World Photomicrography: Explore the beauty and wonder of the micro-world through photographs in Nikon’s visiting exhibit.
Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center
10 Woodside Lane, Westport
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1-4pm. Grounds are open daily, 7am to dusk.
Admission: $7; $5 seniors and children ages 12 and younger. Grounds only: FREE.
The 62-acre property features several nature trails, including The Universal Design Nature Trail, which is wheelchair accessible. The center includes hands-on exhibits that educate the public about nature and the environment. Kids can meet live animals during a Critter Encounter, do some nature crafts in the Natureplace clubhouse, and visit a few feathered friends at the Connecticut Birds of Prey outdoor enclosures.
Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University
Science Hill section of the Yale campus (Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street), New Haven
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $9; $8 seniors; $5 children ages 3-18 and college students
See the Great Hall of Dinosaurs, the Hall of Minerals, Earth, and Space, the Hall of Native American Cultures, and the Hall of Mammalian Evolution. Past exhibits are available to view at peabody.yale.edu/explore/webexhibs.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave. (in Mathews Park), Norwalk
Hours: 10am-5pm daily, closed Mondays from Labor Day through Memorial Day
Admission: $15; $10 seniors; free for children younger than 1; free for all on the first Thursday of every month from 5-8pm; half-off admission Tuesday-Friday through March 28 from 3-5pm.
The museum caters to children ages 10 and younger, with five main galleries, more than 100 hands-on activities, and traveling exhibits. Visitors can explore nature and science in the Energy Lab, discover architecture and design in Build It!, learn about health and their bodies, and more. Hands-on parent-child classes are offered to enhance motor, cognitive, language, and social skills.
Connecticut Science Museum
250 Columbus Blvd., Hartford
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $21.95; $19.95 seniors; $14.95 children ages 3-17; free for children younger than 2. Movie-only and combo tickets are also available for purchase. Note: Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Kids can explore science through 150 hands-on exhibits and daily programs in the educational labs and 3D digital theater. New exhibits added in 2015 include Grossology, Sight and Sound, and Exploring Space. The museum will host a Vacation Exploration Camp Jan. 19: Launch for kids in grades 1-6; register online. Great White Shark 3D (Daily).