While most of NYC's museums are incredibly welcoming to all ages, only a few encourage kids to actively engage with their hands as well as their eyes. Click on the museum name for more details.

* Consider a membership at your local favorite - usually around $100 and totally tax-deductible - for a climate-controlled spot to roam all year long plus perks like discounts at the fabulous gift shops and cafes.

* Also see upcoming hands-on museum programs for kids and current must-see-exhibits (plus free museum hours  and interactive pop-ups).


The 81st Street Studio at the Met

📍1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
Thu-Tue 10 am–5 pm

Explore hands-on stations where art and science meet at the Met’s new free drop-in discovery and play space. Investigate the scientific properties of materials like wood, metal, and clay, play instruments, browse books and more interactive fun.

⭐️ Pick up a free 81st Street Studio Family Field Guide to explore the Met galleries—and the world beyond—with instructions that guide discovery and useful tools, a Look it Up reference booklet, and a field notebook for recording data and drawing conclusions


American Museum of Natural History

📍200 Central Park West at W 79th Street
Daily 10 am–5:30 pm
🎟 Suggested $28/ages 12-65, $16/ages 2-12, $22/students & seniors, free/ages 2 & under

Lovers of dinosaurs, sea creatures, gems, outer space and more can get their animal & nature fix at this giant (45 fascinating halls) treasure trove of wonders. It can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays, but there is always a quiet nook to explore.

⭐️ The new Gilder Center features floor-to-ceiling displays, interactive digital exhibits and an insectarium among spectacular cave-like architecture.

⛲️In warm weather, frolic in large fountains on the second floor terrace outside the planetarium.


Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling

📍898 St. Nicholas Ave at W 155th Street
Thu 12 pm–8 pm
Fri 12 pm–5 pm
Sat-Sun 10 am-3 pm

🎟 $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17

Explore a range of accessible and thought-provoking art, from historically significant to important contemporary works at this community-driven children’s museum. Rotating exhibits feature art and installations inspired by the rich cultural history of Sugar Hill and the artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

⭐️ Interactive programs include Saturday Story Hour with special guest artists and art-making with artists-in-residence.


New-York Historical Society

📍70 Central Park West at 77th Street
Wed–Thu 11 am–5 pm
Fri 11 am–8 pm (pay-what-you-wish 6-8 pm)
Sat–Sun 11 am–5 pm

🎟 $22/adults, $13/students, $6/ages 5-13

This fascinating museum features an entire floor of interactive exhibits especially for kids. Family programs range from weekly storytimes to visits from living historians portraying Americans of the past.

⭐️ In-gallery interactives include the incredible design-your-own Tiffany lamp in the gorgeous fourth floor galleries.


Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

📍212 W 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam
Daily 10 am–5 pm
🎟 $16, $13/seniors, free/babies under 1

The enchanting Children’s Museum of Manhattan has interactive, educational exhibits, from soft, enclosed areas for babies and crawlers, a whole floor for Dora & Diego lovers, and multicultural explorations for older kids. Admission includes tons of programming and performances.

⭐️ Splash at (outdoor) water exhibit Dynamic H2O with 800 sq. ft. of of hands-on interactives and colorful graphics.



Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

📍Pier 86, W 46th Street & Twelfth Ave
Daily 10 am–5 pm
🎟 $36, $26/ages 5-12, free/ages 4 & under

History/military buffs and plane lovers can examine original artifacts, view historic video footage and explore interactive exhibits aboard an actual 1943 aircraft carrier. Lots of indoor and outdoor space to roam with tons to touch, climb and explore.

⭐️ NYC Residents always receive 50% off general admission.


National Museum of the American Indian – New York

📍One Bowling Green
Daily 10 am–5 pm

All ages can learn about the culture and contributions of Native Americans at the engaging New York branch of this DC museum, housed in the grand Alexander Hamilton US Custom House. Lots of opportunities for hands-on exploration in multiple rooms. Touch a buffalo hide, match animal drawings, learn about Mayan math, play in a teepee and more.

⭐️ Pick up a fantastic family guide and find featured items among the galleries including wood and stone carvings, exquisite clothing, feather bonnets and lots of animal representations.


National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)

📍11 E 26th Street
Daily 10 am–5 pm
🎟 $25, $20/students, seniors, ages 2-12, free/kids under 2

Dynamic exhibits and programs stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics. Explore 30+ hand-on stations – play with light, arrange shapes, try to ride a bike with square wheels and more educational entertainment. Discover the stunning hidden patterns of moving objects in special exhibit Traces.

⭐️ In happening Flatiron, across the street from Madison Square Park, with lots of nearby fun and food.



New York Hall of Science

📍Flushing Meadow-Corona Park
Tue-Sun 10 am–5 pm + holidays/breaks
Pay-as-you-wish Fri 2–5 pm

🎟 $16/adults, $13/kids, students & seniors

Find tons of fun hands-on learning opportunities in a gorgeous, spacious building at a beloved center for interactive science, founded at the 1964–65 World’s Fair.

Smile and dance in The Happiness Experiment, interact with animated wonderland Connected Worlds, join Daily Demos throughout the day, use real tools in Maker Space and watch 3D science films.

⛳️ Explore key science concepts in a nine-hole Rocket Park Mini Golf, built around actual rockets and spacecraft ($6).


New York Transit Museum

📍Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street
Thu–Sun 10 am–4 pm
🎟 $10/adults, $5/ages 2-18 & 62+

Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, this toddler’s dream hosts a working platform level spanning a full city block with a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. Board vintage cars, sit at the wheel of a city bus, step through a time tunnel of turnstiles, and explore changing exhibits that highlight the cultural, social and technological history – and future – of mass transit.

⭐️ The underground platform level with the historic trains is truly vintage, with no air-conditioning or cell phone service.


Museum of the Moving Image

📍36-01 35 Avenue at 37 Street
Thu 2-6 pm (free admission)
Fri 2–8 pm
Sat–Sun 12–6 pm

🎟 $20/ages 18+, $12/students & seniors, $10/ages 3-17

Explore film, TV and video games from nineteenth century optical toys to the latest in digital art with lots of hand-on exhibits in a spacious, modern building.

See over 1,400 artifacts in Behind the Screen including Star Wars & Star Trek props. Visit Miss Piggy, Elmo and other favorites in interactive Jim Henson’s World

⭐️ Get creative at hands-on moving making stations


Brooklyn Children’s Museum

📍145 Brooklyn Avenue
Wed-Sun 10 am–5 pm Pay-What-You-Wish Thu 2 pm–5 pm
🎟 $13, free/babies under 1

Find hands-on exploration and engaging programming in visual arts, music and performance, natural science, and world cultures inspired by Brooklyn’s energy and diversity at the world’s first children’s museum, founded in 1899.

Learn about world cultures, visual arts, nature, animals and more in well-designed, interactive exhibits including World Brooklyn, Neighborhood Nature, Totally Tots, Collections Central and The (outdoor) Nest. Try print-making, collage and sculpture projects inspired by artists.