There’s no shortage of NYC museums ideal for kids and the adults who love them, and many are open on holidays including the Columbus Day weekend.
Whether they like dinosaurs or music, arts and crafts or robots, there’s a NYC museum to educate and entertain.
Our favorites offer equal parts fun and excitement, with a little bit – or a lot of – learning as part of the our experience.
Best NYC museums for kids in Manhattan
American Museum of Natural History
One of the largest – and best – museums in the world, famous for its enormous collection of dinosaurs, including the world’s largest, a 122-foot long creature called Titanosaur, and a special exhibit on the world’s most famous dinosaur, the T. Rex, the ultimate predator.
Read the NYCOTC review of this wonderful exhibit, with lots of interactive displays, including the chance to assemble a dinosaur from a box of bones, via VR.
AlMNH also is famous for it’s life-size blue whale suspended from a ceiling.
The popular Butterfly Conservatory is open each winter and spring, with thousands of fluttering butterflies visitors can walk among and learn about, plus a Naturemax IMAX theater and the Hayden Planetarium. You could spend a full day here. Or several.
- Central Park West at 79th St.
- Open daily, 10am to 5:45pm
- Suggested donation is $23, $18 students and seniors, $13 children 2-12
The only museum in North America dedicated to math, and far from boring.
Explore the connection between math and music, discover how a bicycle with square wheels rides smoothly over a rough surface, ponder why a pentagon-shaped bathroom sink is more efficient than a square one; play with algorithms that make lights change color when you move your body, and more.
- 11 East 26th Street
- Open daily, 10am to 5pm
- $15 adults, $9 children, students and seniors.
This decommissioned World War II aircraft carrier features a variety of planes and helicopters on the top deck, military exhibits, including the latest technology, below decks, and the popular USS Enterprise space shuttle and sub submarine Growler.
There are regular talks and workshops with NASA astronauts, a 4D theater, and the Intrepid plays a major role in NYC’s annual Fleet Week activities.
There is a special exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
- Pier 86, at 46th St. and the Hudson River
- Open daily, 10am to 5pm and to 8pm on Weekends and Holidays, Apr. 1-Oct. 31Nov. 1 to Mar. 30
- $33, $31 seniors, $24 children ages 5-12
- FREE admission for US military (with valid ID) and discounts for family members.
Interactive exhibits inspire kids to recognize themselves in the cultures of the world, from America to Asia, through art, architecture and music. And play. PlayWorks is a permanent exhibit for toddlers to feed alphabet letters to a talking dragon and other objects.
The entire museum is designed to inspire imagination through language, art and science.
- The Tisch Building, 212 W. 83rd St.
- Open Sunday & Tues.-Fri., 10am to 5pm; Sat., Mon. school holidays, 10am to 7pm
- $1, $11 seniors, FREE the first Friday of each month, 5pm to 8pm
Hands-on arts museum with a media lab, art studio and clay bar for inspiring arts and crafts projects, and a special WEE space for kids 5 and younger. Small, and rarely crowded, except when school groups are visiting.
- 103 Charlton St., Soho
- Open Mondays, Noon to 5pm; Thurs./Fri., Noon to 6pm; Sat./Sun., 10am to 5pm
- $12 for ages 2-65, seniors are donation-based
Published originally in Feb. 2018 and updated periodically.