12 Interactive New York City Family Museums

12 Great NYC Museums to take your kids for your upcoming trip to New York City. These museums are great places to go in the rain because they are warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

October 27, 2023

12 Interactive New York City Family Museums

Visiting New York City with kids may seem like a crazy idea. Keeping kids entertained at home can be a challenge, finding fun family friendly things to do away from home is harder. Most people visiting New York City are familiar with the famous museums like The Met, MoMA and the Museum Of Natural History but there are also fun, cool, interactive museums that kids will love. From immersive pop-ups to unique colorful playgrounds New York City has options for families of all sizes. After all New York is the largest city in the United States and if there are enough family activites here for locals, there are activities for people visiting. You just need to know who to ask. 

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Ok ... on to the list ...

1. Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York is a hidden gem that offers a fun and educational experience for families. The New York at its Core exhibit is a must-see, particularly the Future City Lab where children can create their own cityscapes using technology. The Analog City exhibit explores the city's history before computers, and the Timescapes video on the ground floor provides a great overview of the city's past. The museum's education team is excellent and offers innovative programs that families should check out.

2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must-visit for families looking for a rich cultural experience in NYC. With over 2 million square feet of space, there's no shortage of things to see and explore. Whether your family enjoys masterful paintings or ancient sculptures, The Met has something for everyone. To avoid overwhelming your kids, we recommend taking in just a few galleries per visit and balancing it out with a trip to the nearby Ancient Playground. Make sure to explore the museum's variety of family-focused tours and events to enhance your experience.

3. American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is a must-visit for families in NYC, with plenty of exhibits to delight kids of all ages. The Hall of Dinosaurs and never-ending dioramas are popular with preschoolers, while older kids will love the rotating exhibitions, such as the current Sharks exhibit. The Hall of North American Mammals is another favorite, featuring iconic creatures like the moose. Don't miss the chance to see the big, blue whale hanging in the Hall of Ocean Life or catch a planetarium show in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. And, of course, the annual Butterfly Conservatory is not to be missed.

4. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Explore the fascinating history of maritime, air, and space at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, located on Pier 86 on West 46th St and 12th Ave. This kid-friendly museum is unlike any other, located on an actual ship and featuring a variety of engaging exhibits. Kids will love the hands-on interactions, from climbing into a real Bell 47 helicopter to landing a space shuttle. Don't miss the Exploreum, a fully interactive exhibit space with 13,000 square feet of hands-on exhibition space. With exhibits covering everything from the Cold War to nuclear submarines, airplanes, and more, there's something for everyone to enjoy at this amazing museum.

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5. DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society

The DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society is a great place for kids to learn about history. With interactive displays that cover 350 years of U.S. history, your children can explore the lives of famous figures and everyday New Yorkers alike. The museum offers a range of fun activities, from sing-alongs and crafts to cooking classes and scavenger hunts. Don't miss out on the family programs that will engage and educate your little ones, making history come alive in a way they'll never forget.

6. Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling

The Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling is a unique and creative space for kids to explore. Located in a beautifully designed building, this museum features three galleries with rotating exhibits, including a site-specific installation in the main space. With two studios available for creating, children can get hands-on with a variety of materials and projects. The interactive story times are also a highlight, where kids are encouraged to participate and engage with the storytellers. Overall, the Sugar Hill Children's Museum is a wonderful destination for families looking to experience the arts and culture of uptown NYC.

7. New York Transit Museum

Located in a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn Heights, the New York Transit Museum is a must-see for any train-loving child. The museum boasts a vast collection of old subway cars, buses, and trolleys that visitors can explore and even test-drive. The museum also features interactive exhibits that allow children to learn about the city's transit history and the engineering behind it. Families can enjoy special events, such as vintage bus rides and tours of abandoned stations, while the museum's annex in Grand Central Terminal is a convenient stop for commuters and visitors alike.

8. New York Hall of Science

The New York Hall of Science is a playground for young scientists and tech enthusiasts alike. With over 450 interactive exhibits and activities, there's something for everyone, from robotics to 3-D printing and outer space. The Design Lab is a particular highlight, with five stations to explore and experiment with. The Science Playground and Rocket Park offer even more opportunities for hands-on learning, including a rope web and mini-golf. Don't miss the immersive "Connected Worlds" exhibit, where visitors can influence a digital ecosystem with their movements.

9. The Color Factory

The Color Factory is a vibrant, interactive experience that celebrates all things colorful. With its carefully curated rooms and installations, this museum takes visitors on a journey of exploration and discovery that appeals to all ages. From tasting stations to tactile exhibits, kids will love the chance to fully engage their senses and learn about the science of color. And with its final room featuring a massive blue ball pit, families can let loose and have fun together in a truly unforgettable way.

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10. Museum of the Moving Image

Step into the world of movies and television at the Museum of the Moving Image! From classic Hollywood to modern-day favorites, this Astoria-based museum has it all. The Jim Henson Exhibition is a family-favorite with beloved characters like Kermit the Frog and Elmo on display. Learn about the filmmaking process with Behind The Screen, an interactive exhibit where you can create stop-motion animations and see old cameras up close. Don't miss out on seeing iconic movie artifacts from Hollywood's past and present.

11. Museum of Illusions

Get ready to have your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions in NYC! Located in Chelsea (a great neighborhood for exploring), this museum is a must-visit for families looking for a unique and interactive experience. Explore rooms full of optical illusions that will have you questioning reality. From the Anti-Gravity Room to the Vortex Tunnel, there are plenty of mind-bending exhibits to keep kids and adults entertained. And don't forget to take plenty of pictures - this museum is a photographer's dream!

12. Spyscape

Get your inner spy on at SPYSCAPE, an interactive museum that takes visitors through the world of espionage. Located in the heart of Manhattan, SPYSCAPE features seven immersive zones and a James Bond exhibit that will keep kids and adults entertained for hours. With a wristband that logs your progress, you can complete "missions" that include detecting lies through micro facial expressions, navigating laser-filled rooms, and more. The interactive exhibits teach you about the tools and techniques used by real-life spies and codebreakers, while your final score determines your role in the world of espionage.

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Custom NYC Trip Plans

When you're ready to get serious about planning your upcoming trip to New York City reserve time with our team today. We build plans in 3 steps:

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