Kid-Friendly Museums in the New York Area

Kid-Friendly Museums in the New York Area

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UPDATED NOVEMBER 2017: 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.

Find museums throughout the New York area, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, Rockland County, Orange County, and Fairfield County, CT.

For upcoming performances, exhibits, festivals, and more  at these museums, check out our searchable calendar of events.

 

NEW YORK CITY

Bronx Museums

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park
718-885-1461
Hours: Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday 12-4pm; gardens/grounds are open 8:30am-dusk daily.
Admission: $8; $6 students and seniors; free for children 6 and younger. 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. During the holiday season, the museum hosts various events. More information is listed on the website.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse (165th Street), Bronx
718-681-6000
Hours: Thursday and Saturday-Sunday 11am-6pm; Friday 11am-8pm
Admission: FREE

The flagship cultural institution of the Bronx, founded in 1971, this museum focuses on 20th-century and contemporary art.


Brooklyn Museums

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
718-735-4400
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.

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights
718-638-5000
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
718-907-8861
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.

Micro Museum
123 Smith St., Boerum Hill
718-797-3116
Hours: Saturday 12-7pm; Sunday-Friday 9am-9pm
Admission: $2

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
99 Schermerhorn St., Downtown Brooklyn
718-694-1600
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. Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of 20 vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.



Courtesty New York Transit Museum
Kids can get behind the wheel of a vintage bus in the On the Streets exhibit at the New York Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn.

 

Manhattan Museums

9/11 Memorial Museum
180 Greenwich St.
646-757-5554
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday 9am-9pm. Last entry: Sunday-Thursday 6pm; Friday, 7pm
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. All programs are free to ticketed museum visitors.

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street, Upper West Side
212-769-5100
Hours: 10am-5:45pm daily
Admission: Suggested donation: $23; $18 students and seniors; $13 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: The Titanosaur, open through Jan. 19, 2020, the fossil remains of a recently discovered 122-foot-long dinosaur.

Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place, Greenwich Village
212-358-6133

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
212-721-1223
Hours: 10am-5pm Sunday and Tuesday-Friday; Saturday and Monday public school holidays 10am-7pm
Admission: $14; $11 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.

Let’s Dance!: Visitors bounce, glide, and leap in an exhibit space designed to introduce children and families to the delights of dance.

Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St., Soho
212-274-0986
Hours: Monday and Wednesday 12-5pm; Thursday-Friday 12-6pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $12; pay as you wish for seniors; free for 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.

DiMenna Children’s History Museum at New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way, Upper West Side
212-873-3400
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-5pm.
Admission: $21; $16 seniors/educators/active military; $13 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.

Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave.
212-423-3200
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 after 5pm, 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.
212-535-7710
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 10am-5:30pm; Friday-Saturday, 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.


Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s programs for kids and families are designed to spark imagination, creativity, and lifelong connections with art.

 

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
421 E. 61st St.
212-838-6878
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.
212-542-0566
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.
212-708-9400
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.

New York City Fire Museum
278 Spring St.
212-691-1303
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
212-873-3400
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays 10am-6pm; Fridays 10am-8pm; Sundays 11am-5pm
Admission: $21; $16 seniors, educators, and active military; $13 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.
212-748-8753
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm
Admission: $12; $6 children ages 3-17; free for children younger than 2

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.

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St., West Village
212-570-3600
Hours: Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday 10:30am-6pm; Friday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm
Admission: $25; $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. Free daily public tours are also offered.


Queens Museums

Queens Museum
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Flushing
718-592-9700
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-6pm
Admission: Suggested donation: $8; $4 students and seniors; free for children younger than 12. Free guided tours on Sundays from 2-4pm.

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
718-777-6888
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 10:30am-5pm; Friday 10:30am-8pm; Saturday-Sunday 10:30am-6pm.
Admission: $15; $11 seniors and college students; $7 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.

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.

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
718-699-0005
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Admission: $16; $13 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.


Andrew Kelly/New York Hall of Science

Sandbox, one of the New York Hall of Science’s Design Lab activities, allows families to work with simple machines and design systems using kinetic and potential energy.

 

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park
718-347-3276
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.


Staten Island Museums

Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Ave.
718-351-1611
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 1-5pm. Tours: Wednesday-Friday at 1:30pm, Saturday-Sunday at 1:30pm and 3pm.
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
718-273-2060
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11-5pm; 10am-5pm
Admission: $8; free for children younger than 1; free for grandparents on Wednesdays from 3-5pm

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.
 

LONG ISLAND

Nassau County Museums

African American Museum
110 N. Franklin St., Hempstead
516-572-0730
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Admission: $5 self-guided tours. $8 docent-led tours; $10 workshop or video

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
516-572-4111
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-5 pm
Admission: $15; $13 children and seniors. Theater combo tickets: $20; $18 children and seniors.

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. A Retro Video Game Exhibit is on exhibit through February Break 2018, featuring classic consoles from 1972-1999 and arcade games from the ‘80s and ‘90s.


Rod Leonhard

This Grumman F-11A Tiger, developed in Bethpage in 1954, hangs in the museum's visitor center atrium.

 

Garvies Point Museum
50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
516-571-8010
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm
Admission: $4; $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
516-224-5800
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $12; $11 seniors; free for members and children 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 Harbor
516-484-9338
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. 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
1526 N. Plandome Road, Plandome
516-627-9400

A science activity center located on the Leeds Pond Preserve, this museum offers hands-on science workshops for children. Current workshops include Winter Wonderland, Candy Chemistry, Strange Science, Science FUN-damentals, and Paws and Claws. All programs and workshops are by registration only; see the website for a full schedule.

Tackapausha Museum

2225 Washington Ave., Seaford
516-571-7443
Hours: Thursday-Sunday 11am-4pm
Admission: $5; $3 seniors and 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.


Suffolk County Museums

Children’s Maritime Museum at Port Jefferson
101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson
631-331-3277
Hours: Saturday-Sunday 1-5pm
Admission: $5

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
631-537-8250
Hours: Monday and Wednesday-Sunday 9am -5 pm
Admission: $12; 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, 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. 

Hallockville Museum Farm
6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead
631-298-5292
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.


Linda Burke

The museum farm grounds feature 19 historic houses, barns, and outbuildings.


The Heckscher Museum of Art
2 Prime Ave., Huntington
631-351-3250
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
631-854-5555
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.

The Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor
279 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor
631-367-3418
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12-4pm; Saturday and Sunday 11-5pm
Admission: $6; $5 seniors and children ages 4-18; free for children younger than 4

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. See the website for a schedule of family workshops.

NYC SUBURBS

Westchester County Museums

Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale
914-723-3470
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
914-963-4550
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $7; $5 seniors and students with ID, $4 children ages 3-18; free for children younger than 3

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 ($4; $3 seniors and students with ID; $2 children ages 3-18, plus admission). Children under 3 admitted to the shows for free.

The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art
1701 Main St., Peekskill
914-788-0100
Hours: Friday 11am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday 12-6pm; Tuesday-Thursday by appointment only
Admission: $10; $5 children, seniors, students, and Peekskill residents; free for children younger than 8 and members

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
914-631-8200

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
914-232-9555
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
914-232-5651
Hours: Grounds are open from sunrise to sunset
Admission: $10; $7 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. Historic house tours are available on a regular schedule year-round. Visitor Center and Discovery Center are open seasonally; see website for details.

Exhibit Gallery tours: Saturday-Wednesday 10am-3pm ($2)

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. Open Sundays 12-2pm and Mondays 10am-12pm. 

Neuberger Museum of Art
735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase
914-251-6100
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $5; $3 students; free for children younger than 12; free for all on the first Saturday of every month

When Modern was Contemporary: collection of American artwork that Roy R. Neuberger acquired during the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Trailside Nature Museum and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Routes 35 and 121, Cross River
914-864-7322
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-4pm; closed on some Fridays
Admission: Parking fee at entrance and other fees vary; no additional admission fees

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. The museum is located on the 4,400-acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Westchester Children’s Museum
Rye Playland Bathhouses (on the Long Island Sound)
914-421-5050
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm; Monday-Tuesday available for group visits by appointment only.
Admission: $7; $6 seniors; free for members and children 1 and younger

The museum caters to children up to age 10 and provides 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.


Courtesy Westchester Children's Museum

Children can participate in fun and education science activities and experiments throughout the museum.

 

Westmoreland Sanctuary Nature Center & Wildlife Preserve
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
914-666-8448
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 10:30am-5pm
Admission: FREE

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
914-962-2970
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 11am-4pm; Saturday 1-4pm or by appointment
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.

Post Card Collecting: Learn about the origins of post cards and their popularity as a means of communication in the United States around 1904. Hundreds of postcards are on display, many of which highlight certain areas of the world.

Rockland County Museums

Edward Hopper House Art Center
82 N. Broadway, Nyack
845-358-0774
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
845-634-9629
Hours: Wednesday-Friday and Sundays 12-4pm
Admission: FREE Wednesday-Friday; $5 per person on Sunday tours

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
845-357-3416
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 public mission and planetarium show; $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.


Courtesy Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Center

The core of the Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Center is an interactive, computerized simulator with a mission control room patterned after the NASA Johnson Space Center and an orbiting space station ready for exploration.

 

Orange County Museums

Bear Mountain Trailside Museum and Zoo
Palisades Interstate Parkway (Exit 19), Bear Mountain
845-786-2701
Hours: Daily, 10am-4:30pm for zoo hours; Park is open 8 a.m. to sunset
Admission: $1 suggested donation per person; $10 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
845-446-2134
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 9am-5pm from mid-April through October
Admission: FREE; Group tours: $3 per person

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, 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
845-534-7781
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 on weekends at 1pm and 2:30pm.

Birds on the Wing: Explore the fascinating world of birds and discover local species. Exhibit open until January 2019. For information on special presentations related to the exhibit, check the website.

Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road, New Windsor
845-534-3115
Hours: Closes the last week in November after Thanksgiving Day; reopens the second week in April.
Admission: $18; $15 seniors; $8 students and children ages 5-18; 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 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 County, CT Museums

Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road, Fairfield
203-259-1598
Hours: 10am-4pm daily
Admission: $5; $3 students and seniors; free for members and 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
203-438-4519
Hours: Mondays and Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sundays, 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 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
203-331-1104
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. 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.

Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive, Greenwich
203-869-0376
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $10; $8 students and seniors; free for members and 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. The museum's Seaside Center in Greenwich is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month.

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium
4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport
203-372-3521
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm
Admission: $11; $9 children ages 3-17, students, and seniors; free for children 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
203-227-7253
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 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
Science Hill section of the Yale campus (Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street), New Haven
203-432-5050
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm
Admission: $13; $9 seniors; $6 children ages 3-18 and college students; free for children younger than 3

See the Birds of Connecticut and the Hall of Mammalian Evolution.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave. (in Mathews Park), Norwalk
203-899-0606
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

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.


Courtesy Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Stepping Stones Museum for Children also has an Open Arms accessibility initiative for families of children of all abilities to participate in.

 

Connecticut Science Museum
250 Columbus Blvd., Hartford
860-727-0457
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.

Kids can explore science through 165 hands-on exhibits and daily programs in the educational galleries and 3D digital theater. 

A new exhibit that has been added in 2016 is Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion. The museum hosts Vacation Exploration Camps for kids in grades 1-6; register online.

3D movies shown daily every hour starting at 1pm. A new exhibit, Bionic Me, will open in 2018.



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