Post Overview: Best Museums in NYC With Kids
Exploring New York City with kids in tow can be a real treat, thanks in large part to the countless children’s museums spread across the city.
The interactive exhibits and ability to run around unencumbered will have children relishing every minute. They don’t even realize it, but their creative minds are growing, and parents can appreciate the much-needed break.
So if you’re looking for the best museums for kids in New York City, this article is for you! It’s here to help you choose which are most worth your time, and which your littles will enjoy most.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself and we have a lot to talk about. What do you say we dive right in?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Kids Museums NYC
#10. New York City Fire Museum
If your kiddos are enthralled with large, blaring, brilliant red trucks, then a trip to the New York Fire Museum (NYFM) is an absolute must.
It’s one of the most fascinating museums in NYC for kids, which is conveniently situated in the lovely SoHo area.
The coolest part? The building is a renovated firehouse built in 1904! You will have the opportunity to learn about the evolution of rescue equipment, see vintage fire engines, tools, and much more.
While this is a great NYC museum to visit with kids there are also aspects parents will love, like the 9/11 exhibit.
Expect to find a few interactive elements (like a mock apartment) that allows children to visualize and point out fire hazards in an educational way.
All this to say, the NYFM is one of the best kids museums in New York City and you won’t regret swinging by.
Address: 278 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
#9. Museum of Ice Cream
The million dollar question, “is the Museum of Ice Cream worth it?” — our answer; yes and no.
It really boils down to who are you visiting the museum for, you or your kids? If the answer is your kids, then yes the Museum of Ice Cream is easily one of the best museums in NYC with little kids.
The free ice cream samples, sprinkle pool and giant slide are hands-down going to get grins from your little.
But if your kids are a bit older and not into the whole Instagram, photo-taking opportunities you will leave underwhelmed and disappointed.
My two cents is if your kids are tiny and ice cream is still their second language then consider this one of the best museums in NYC with children, but if your kids are 14+ you’re better off checking out a different museum.
Address: 558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
#8. Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum has been a beloved NYC institution for modern and contemporary American art since being founded in 1930.
The recently relocated museum now spans 50,000 impressive square feet (not including the 13,000 square feet of outdoor space) in the Meatpacking District.
Founded by a prominent America socialite, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, this museum is an ode to her dedication and love for art. Now I know what you’re thinking, how the heck is this one of the best museums in NYC with kids?
Well, besides the mesmerizing pieces of art there’s also a handful of terraces where you can soak in an epic view of the NYC skyline. Visitors are encouraged to explore the art both indoors and out.
I brought my four year-old niece here and she absolutely loved it (especially the outdoor area). I’ve passed the info along to friends in the city that look for kid-friendly museums in NYC and have gotten great feedback.
Maybe our kids are just little weirdos, but nonetheless, it’s a beautiful museum worth checking out!
Locals tip: After you’re done checking out the Whitney, head on over to the neighboring park on Little Island to burn off more energy.
Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
#7. New York Hall of Science
The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) is hands-down one of the coolest museums in all of New York City that kids are guaranteed to enjoy. Situated out in Queens, listen when I tell you the trek is well-worth it!
Don’t just take my word for it, NYSCI is the city’s only hands on science and technology center — reason alone to visit. It’s fun the entire family can partake in, including designated areas for kiddos 6 and under.
What makes this one of the best kids museums in NYC is the abundance of interactive exhibitions and learning opportunities. Your kids will walk in wide-eyed and bushy tailed not knowing what exhibit to hit next.
Outside of the museum you’ll find two rockets (that actually traveled to space!) your kids will LOVE. There’s also a mini golf course that seems to be a crowd favorite.
Address: 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368
#6. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Home to a remarkable collection of military vessels of the sea and sky, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City is a must-see for any military enthusiast or history buff.
I mean, this gem is considered one of the 10 best aviation museums in the world. If your kids are obsessed with ships and planes you’ll win parent of the year, no doubt about it.
More than 1 million visitors per year choose to visit this kid-friendly museum in New York City to explore the exciting collection.
Expect to find authentic WWII fighter planes, aircraft carriers, a submarine used during the Cold War, supersonic jet and the NASA space shuttle Enterprise.
Allow up to 2-3 hours for the plethora of interactive displays and exhibits, this is not a NYC museum experience you’ll want to rush, especially with kids.
Address: Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
#5. National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
The National Museum of Mathematics, also known as “MoMath” is one of the most kid-friendly museums in NYC. Offering both educational and fun exhibits, it’s the only museum in the country dedicated to math.
Who knew math could be so fun that your kids will be begging you to take them here — parents, we call that a win!
MoMath is surprisingly a great place to burn of energy (so strange to say given this is a math museum). But the jumping, pushing and hands-on activities are endless.
Not only are the interactive exhibits extremely entertaining, they’re fully educational too. Kids (and let’s be honest adults too) learn the daily importance of math in everyday scenarios.
Address: 11 E 26th St, New York, NY 10010
#4. Children’s Museum of Manhattan
If you have tots in tow you have to make a bee-line for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, stat! As one of the best museums for kids in New York City, they cater specifically to children under 10.
The best way to describe the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is as an indoor playground. It’s the perfect rainy day activity when you’re feeling trapped inside your apartment.
The museum is made up of five floors that are full of playgrounds, interactive exhibits and abundant opportunities to tire your kid out. Even then, you’ll likely have to peel your kid off the door frame since most never want to leave.
There’s currently a Dora & Diego exhibit that will help tie in your kids’ favorite cartoon characters into their playdate. Plus exhibits rotate regularly, so you can keep coming back and not get bored!
Address: 212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
#3. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Located in Crown Heights, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a treasure trove of fun that every kid will relish. The museum is abundant in exhibits that help kids’ little minds learn and play.
There are three floors chock-full of exhibits, including the crowd favorite World Brooklyn. In the exhibit the borough is made fun-sized! Your kid can play adult for the day, pretending to be construction workers, bakers or cashiers all while learning about the importance of community.
There’s also a gang of rotating exhibits making this one of the best museums in New York City for kids to keep coming back to. There’s been immersive lessons on sound, live animals and even a maze in the past. You never really know what to expect.
Perhaps best of all, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is one of the best museums to visit with kids in NYC because every Thursday from 2 to 5PM admission is free. You read that right, courtesy of Amazon (thanks, Jeffrey!) your kids can enjoy all the museum has to offer and all you have to do is reserve tickets in advance.
Fun fact: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum was founded in 1899, making this not only the oldest childrens museum in New York City but in all of America.
Address: 145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
#2. New York Transit Museum
Dating back to 1904, New York City’s robust transportation system is one of the busiest and oldest in the world. Thankfully, visitors can take a walk down memory lane and explore vintage subway cars parked in a decommissioned subway station.
Located in Brooklyn, this is one of the most fun museums in NYC for kids. The museum covers a century of subway history and each car displays era-appropriate ads, which makes for some fun age-appropriate humor.
Visitors are able to explore the inside of vintage cars (some dating back to 1903), sit inside the driver’s cabin and admire vintage walk signs and transit furniture. Make sure to study the impressive photographs that highlight the evolution of the subway system.
Finally, swing by the gift shop before heading out, it’s well curated and has tons of fun transit-inspired souvenirs for kids and adults alike.
Address: 99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
#1. American Museum of Natural History
Omitting the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on a list of the top museums in New York City with children would be inexcusable.
That’s because the American Museum of Natural History is arguably the best museum in NYC for kids. This incredible science museum is home to 33 million specimens, yet only 3% are on display (and even that amount can get quite overwhelming!).
Welcoming 5 million visitors per year and spanning all aspect of the natural world, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is considered one of the greatest natural history museums in the world.
Don’t miss the Hall of Ocean Life where you’ll have an opportunity to see a life-size model of a 94-foot blue whale — it’s an experience your kids won’t soon forget.
Also, the taxidermy mammals are remarkable and have captivated both children and adults for years.
You May Enjoy Reading: 15 Best Things to See at the Museum of Natural History
Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
- Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling: It’s an inexpensive interactive modern art museum full of activities and fun for little kids to partake in. Adults find the art amusing while children love all the hands on exhibits.
- Madame Tussauds New York: Located in the heart of Times Square, Madame Tussades is a wax museum chock-full of realistic wax figures. If your kids are celebrity obsessed this is one of the best museums in NYC with kids. There are nine floors of life-like wax figures of their favorite superhero or character spread across 80,000 square feet.
- Museum of Illusions: For those who have older kiddos to tend to the Museum of Illusions is sure to stir up some chaos. The mental gymnastics you’ll go through is entertaining for both adults and kids alike. It takes time to wrap your head around some of the exhibits, but it’s definitely fun.
Kid-Friendly Museums in NYC (Post Summary)
- American Museum of Natural History
- New York Transit Museum
- The Brooklyn Children’s Museum
- Children’s Museum of Manhattan
- National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- New York Hall of Science
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- Museum of Ice Cream
- New York City Fire Museum
- Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
- Madame Tussauds New York
- Museum of Illusions
Map of the Best Children’s Museums NYC
And there you have it folks, our list of the best kids museums in NYC! Let us know what your favorite spot to take your little is.