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When To Visit NYC's Museums, Zoos, and Gardens Admission Free

When To Visit NYC's Museums, Zoos, and Gardens Admission Free

Updated August 2019: Museums provide a day of educational fun, but who says you always need to pay full price or anything at all? Whether you’re looking for indoor family outing ideas in the winter or a way to escape the sweltering New York City heat in the summer, a trip to the museum is something kids (and adults) of all ages can enjoy. Consult our list below to find museums, zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens offering pay-what-you-wish or free admission throughout all five boroughs of New York City in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and plan your next family outing for free.

Museums in Manhattan

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum - Free Fridays Aug. 16, Sept. 27, and Oct. 25, 5-9pm. 

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – Free on Fridays, 4-8pm; always free for children younger than 16.

Whitney Museum of American Art - Pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, available at the admissions desk, 7-9:30pm

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling – Admission for children 8 and younger is always free, and playdates are free every third Sunday of the month. 

Children’s Museum of the Arts – Pay-what-you-wish on Thursdays, 4-6pm.

New-York Historical Society – Pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 6-8pm, which includes the DiMenna Children’s History Museum. 


Museums in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Free on Fridays from 8am-12pm from March-November.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum – Pay-what-you-wish on Thursdays, 2-6pm, and Sundays, 4-7pm.

New York Aquarium – Pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays from 3pm to last entry.

The Staten Island Children’s Museum – Free admission on Wednesdays, 5-7pm July and August, 3-5pm September-June.

Staten Island Zoo – Free Wednesdays, 2-4:45pm.


Museums in Queens


New York Hall of Science – Free admission on Fridays, 2-5pm and Sundays, 10-11am.

Queens Botanical Garden – Free admission daily November through March. Free admission Wednesdays, 3-6pm, and Sundays, 9-11am the rest of the year.


Museums in The Bronx

Wave Hill – Free Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9am-12pm. The garden also hosts special free arts events throughout the year.

The Bronx Zoo – General admission is free on Wednesdays. Visitors are asked to donate what they wish to support the zoo’s mission. Total Experience activities cost extra.

New York Botanical Garden – Free grounds admission all day on Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9-10am. Special exhibits cost extra. 


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Catherine Patwell

Author: Catherine Patwell is a student of journalism and Italian at Hunter College. When not studying, she is running along the Hudson River, reading cookbooks, or plotting her next travel adventure. Catherine currently resides in Manhattan. See More

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