Kid-Friendly Museums in the New York Area
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The museum has 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
Temporarily closed; sculpture park open to the public
The museum provides resources for teaching and learning from home at nassaumuseum.org/museum-from-home/art-activities.
1 Museum Drive, Roslyn Harbor
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.
Science Museum of Long Island
Currently opened for Summer Camp; plans to start reopening other programs and workshops in the fall
Check the website for summer camp details.
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 Winter Wonderland and The Science of You! 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: $5; $3 seniors and children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5
What you need to know: The museum is only allowing ten 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 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
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.
Children’s Museum of the East End
376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3-5pm
Price: Non-member child and adult $19; Member child and adult $7
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, 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.
Hallockville Museum Farm
Set to reopen in phase 4; summer camps being held July 6-August 14
Check website for camp details.
6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead
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.
2 Prime Ave., Huntington
Hours: Thurs-Sun, 12-5pm. The following times are now available for booking through Oct. 4, 12-12:45pm, 12:30-1:15pm, 1-1:45pm, 2:45-3:30pm, 3:15-4pm, 3:45-4:30pm, 4:15-5 pm
What you need to know: Admission is by advance reservation only. 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.
The primary collection spans 500 years of Western, American and European art with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries.
Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
180 Little Neck Road, Centerport
Hours: Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 12-5pm
Price: $8 adults, $5 children 12 and under; $7 students with ID; $7 seniors; children under 2 are free. Admission to enter the property: $14 per carload. Members free. Tickets available online only. No sales at the gate.
What you need to know: Now open: the first floor of 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. 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.
The mansion, planetarium, marine museum, natural history exhibits, and grounds are open. The 24-room William K. Vanderbilt II Mansion (1910-1936) is open for tours.
The Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor
Galleries open. Advanced tickets required
279 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor
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.
Greenburgh Nature Center
Playground, trails and outdoor animal exhibits are open
99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale
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
Hudson River Museum & Planetarium
Reopening July 25
511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 12-5pm; Saturdays from Aug. 1-Sept. 19, 12-7pm
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 ($5; $4 seniors and students with ID; $3 children ages 3-18, plus admission). Children under 3 admitted to the shows for free.
The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art
Will reopen by appointment on Sept. 15.
1701 Main St., Peekskill
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
Washington Irving's Sunnyside and Union Church of Pocantico Hills will open to the public on Aug. 7.
639 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills
Hours: Sunnyside: Friday-Sunday: 10am, 12pm, 2pm; Union Church: Friday-Sunday: 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Prices: $10 adult; $8 child 3-17; $8 senior (65+); $8 student with ID; Children under 2 are free and do not need a ticket.
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.
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay St. (Route 22), Katonah
Hours: Tuesday- Saturday: 10am-5pm; Sunday 12pm–5pm; Closed Monday
Prices: Adult non-member $10; seniors $5; students $5; children 12 and younger free; free for members
What you need to know: All visitors are required to purchase timed-entry tickets and make reservations in advance.All visitors, including children over age two, are required to wear a face mask
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
Indoor facilities closed, open for outdoor walking
400 Jay St., Katonah
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.
Neuberger Museum of Art
735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase
The Neuberger Museum of Art celebrates the return of some of its most precious treasures after being on national tour across the country for over a year. Included in Then and Noware works by some several artists.
Trailside Nature Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Nature museum is closed; trails are open
Routes 35 and 121, Cross River
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, 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.
Westchester Children’s Museum
Physical space will remain closed, but museum looking to reopen as soon as possible with a space that is safe, clean, and fun.
Rye Playland Bathhouses (on the Long Island Sound)
The museum caters to children up to age 12 and provides opportunities for continued growth for preteens and teens, with exhibits focused on 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.
Museum open, masks required
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
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
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: August 2020-Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5pm.
Price: $8; $6 seniors; $3 students; free for children ages 16 and younger and members
What you need to know: Wear a mask while in the museum, in the garden, and on any Museum property. Timed tickets are required for the Museum. We are currently restricting occupancy in the Museum to up to eight people per time slot.
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
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
LEGO Camp open Aug. 10-14, 9am-4pm ages 5-12
225 Route 59, Airmont
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
Zoos open, museums closed
Palisades Interstate Parkway (Exit 19), Bear Mountain
Hours: 10:30am-4pm (last entrance 3:30pm)
Price: Admission: $1/ person suggested donation at Trailside; Parking: $10/vehicle at Bear Mountain State Park; Empire Pass $80
What you need to know: Restrooms open, Museums and Office closed; wear a mask or face covering; maintain social distancing; wait for other visitors to move from congested areas; do not touch common surfaces
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. Parking only by the main entrance near the pool
Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
690 Route 9W, Fort Montgomery
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 9am-5pm (Museum closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
What you need to know: Face masks and social distancing are required for museum entry.
This National Historic Landmark is a tribute to the Revolutionary War fortress built in 1777 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.
Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
Hiking trails open; summer camps opened July 6. See website for camp details
Wildlife Education Center: 25 Boulevard, Cornwall-on-Hudson
Outdoor Discovery Center: Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road, Cornwall
What you need to know: Through Friday, August 28 hiking trails and nature museum properties are CLOSED Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm to all non HHNM summer campers. They will be OPEN to everyone on Saturdays and Sundays from dawn to dusk.
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 on weekends at 1pm and 2:30pm.
Storm King Art Center
Open, timed-entry tickets required
1 Museum Road, New Windsor
Hours: Wednesday–Monday (closed Tuesdays), 10am–5:30pm; Member mornings: Sunday, Aug. 2 and 9, 10-11am
Price: Visitors may reserve tickets for up to 6 people per vehicle (children under 5 do not need to be counted in your total). There is no additional fee for parking. Car (1 person) $20; Car (2 people) $40; Car (3 people) $48; Car (4 people) $68; Car (5 people) $7; Car (6 people) $84
What you need to know: Observe a physical distance of six feet from staff and visitors not in your family/arrival party. wear a face covering if a six-foot distance cannot be maintained
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 1pm daily walking tour introduces various aspects of Storm King’s collection. Tram tours run every half hour on weekends and every hour during the week. An interactive family program is offered at 1pm each Sunday.
Fairfield Museum and History Center
Open now—see website for details
370 Beach Road, Fairfield
Hours: 10am-4pm daily
Admission: $5; $3 students and seniors; free for members and children younger than 5
What you need to know: required to properly wear a face mask at all times while inside
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
Open now—see website for details
258 Main St., Ridgefield
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 12pm-5pm; Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: $12; $7 students and seniors
What you need to know: Face masks are required for visitors older than age 2; Social distancing is required and will be enforced; parties may remain together; children must stay with adults at all time
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 workshops led by professional artists and museum educators art activities on the third Saturday of each month from 10am-3pm.
The Barnum Museum
820 Main St., Bridgeport
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 new exhibit is called Envisioning the Future!, featuring artifacts that belonged to P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb, and others. For information on how you can donate to the museum’s recovery, visit the website.
Open now—see website for details
1 Museum Drive, Greenwich
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $10; $8 students and seniors; free for members and children younger than 5; free for all on Tuesdays
What you need to know: Visitors are required to wear masks or cloth face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth
A regionally based institution that features art, science, and natural history in a dozen changing exhibitions each year. Permanent collections highlight the natural sciences.
The Discovery Museum and Planetarium
Temporarily closed; plans to reopen this fall
4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport
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
Trails, sanctuary, and summer camp are open. See website for details
10 Woodside Lane, Westport
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 hands-on activities 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
Temporarily closed and will remain closed until 2023 for renovations
Science Hill section of the Yale campus (Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street), New Haven
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave. (in Mathews Park), Norwalk
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
Now open—see website for details
250 Columbus Blvd., Hartford
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $23.95; $21.95 seniors; $16.95 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.
What you need to know: There will be a mandatory touchless temperature check prior to entry. Mask covering mouth and nose must be worn at all times (ages 2+). Some hands-on experiences will be temporarily unavailable when we initially open. This includes the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation Science Theater, and the Butterfly Encounter.
Kids can explore science through 165 hands-on exhibits and daily programs in the educational galleries and 3D digital theater.