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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

A little cultural and educational family fun at a discount (or free!) is always a good idea.

Updated August 2020: 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 Connecticut and plan your next family outing for free.

Museums with Free Admission in Manhattan

9/11 Memorial MuseumFree admission Mondays starting at 3:30 p.m.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - Free admission through Sept. 27.

Whitney Museum of American ArtPay-what-you-wish through Sept. 28.

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, 3-6pm

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

Jewish Museum - Free on Saturdays and select Jewish holidays.

American Museum of Natural HistoryGeneral admission for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents with ID is pay-what-you-wish but suggested admission- and admission for residents of other states- is $23 adults; $18 for students with ID; $18 for seniors 60+; $13 for children ages 3-12.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Suggested General Admission Tickets for New York State residents and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut students: $25 for adults; $17 for seniors; $12 for students.

Museums in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Free Tuesday-Friday, December-February

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.

Queens County Farm Museum - Free admission daily except for special events.

Museums in The Bronx

Wave Hill – Free on Thursdays 

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. 

Bronx Museum of the Arts - Free admission

Museums in Connecticut

The Barnum Museum - Though temporarily closed, the museum is free. Donations are accepted.

The Bruce Museum - Free admission on Tuesdays

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum - Free admission on the third weekend of each month.


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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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