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Fantastic Museums for Kids in NYC (Mom-Approved)

One of the best aspects of living in NYC is all the amazing things to do with kids. There are parks, restaurants, and kid-friendly tours. And the museums for kids in NYC are out of this world!

But don’t assume that museums are just for tourists (though I still love playing tourist in my own city!). After a decade in New York City, first as a nanny, then a teacher, and now a mom myself, I’ve been to all the best kids’ museums in NYC at some point.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor looking for things to do with kids in NYC, I highly recommend checking out a few museums. There are SO many to choose from. Below I’ve put together a list of some all-time favorites.

If you’re looking for the very best museums for kids in NYC, I’ve got you covered. I’ll share which ones are better for younger kids, which ones you’ll need a full day for, and which ones you’ll need to skip the stroller for and go with the baby carrier instead. Get a solid overview below and keep this list handy for the next time you just NEED to get everyone out of the house!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

If you’re looking for more fun things to do in NYC with kids, check out more attractions that are a part of the New York Pass, an attraction pass that lets you bundle popular activities in NYC at a discount!

The kid-friendly museums in New York mentioned in this guide available on the pass include:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Staten Island Children’s Museum
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

There are over 100 attractions that are also kid-friendly including Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, The Empire State Building, ARTECHOUSE, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Rink at Rockefeller & more!

15 Perfect Museums in NYC for Kids

American Museum of Natural History


One of the most iconic New York City museums is the American Museum of Natural History. Yes, the one with the classic dioramas and the big blue whale! Kids love checking out the Halls of Gems and Minerals and seeing the T-Rex skeleton. And the new stunning Insectarium with its hands-on exhibits is a blast for kids.

Perfect for all ages, the Museum of Natural History is my happy place. You’ll definitely need a full day to see the whole thing. When I went with my preschooler, we only covered the first floor in the 2 hours we were there!

Save this trip for kids 3 and up. If you’re bringing a stroller, there are plenty of elevators.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum


I consider the Brooklyn Children’s Museum a hidden gem and one of the must-visit museums for kids in NYC. It’s the oldest (and first-ever) children’s museum in the Northern Hemisphere! Geared towards kids ages 6 months to 6 years, it’s a sensory playland and a cultural institution.

There are 3 levels of age-appropriate play areas, water play, cultural exhibits that display the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and much more.

The Brooklyn Museum also has an outstanding free arts program as well as weekly special events.

The BCM has a stroller check and breastfeeding stations and offers a variety of opportunities for free admission. Plan on spending between 2 and 4 hours here.

It’s without a doubt one of the best things to do in Brooklyn with kids!

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

If you’re going to be on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, plan an afternoon at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. It’s certainly on my NYC museum bucket list!

Designed for ages 1 to 10 years old, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan boasts 5 floors of beautiful play spaces, exciting programs, and stunning art throughout every space.

I can’t wait to check out the new comic book-themed Superpowered Metropolis. They have a GIANT water table every summer that the kids will love. And make sure to check out CMOM’s calendar, which is packed with drop-in art programs.

Staten Island Children’s Museum

If you’re looking for a reason to visit Staten Island, this is it. The Staten Island Children’s Museum has a reputation for being one of the top museums for kids in NYC. It’s located inside the wonderful Snug Harbor Cultural Center.

The museum is absolutely beautiful, with a mind-blowing number of brand-sparkling-new exhibits that are a feast for the eyes. There are hands-on experiences for every age, workshops, story times, and school break programs, just to begin with.

You’ll want to plan a visit if you have kids between 1 and 10 years old. Come in the afternoon if you want to avoid field trip crowds, and plan on spending between 2 and 4 hours here.

Jewish Children’s Museum

Editorial credit: Lennox Wright / Shutterstock

Known for being one of the best kids museums in NYC, the Jewish Children’s Museum has done an amazing job of creating a beautiful, engaging, and educational museum. A visit here is a fun way to introduce elements of Jewish culture to kids.

Each of the 4 levels of the museum is a different immersive experience meant to engage kids between 3 and 10 years old. Set aside a whole day for this one!

Inside the Exploring Jewish Life exhibit, you can play pretend in a kosher grocery store. Or learn about the Holocaust in an age-appropriate way in the Voyage Through Jewish History exhibit. There are free programs throughout the museum, and members get access to special events.

New York Transit Museum


One of the best museums for kids in NYC, and the coolest things to do in Brooklyn, is the New York Transit Museum is a must-visit for any New Yorker, young or old! It’s located in a decommissioned subway station just off Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

Enter the underground museum to explore 20 vintage railway cars, a massive collection of model trains, and fun exhibits on the history of public transportation in the city. The Transit Museum also offers spectacular programs for children with developmental disabilities and those who identify as neurodivergent.

Kids will start to appreciate the NY Transit Museum when they’re about 3 years old. You can make it through in about 2 hours. It’s perfect for a rainy-day in NYC visit, but keep in mind that in the summer, there’s no AC! Don’t plan on taking a stroller down into this museum and check out the New York Transit Museum website for accessibility assistance.

Also, check their calendar for the Parade of Trains or the Vintage Holiday Train rides where they bring out some of their vintage fleet for passengers to ride! Some people even dress up in period clothing and it’s a fun way to enjoy the vintage trains in motion all for the cost of a single subway ride!

New York City Fire Museum

Editorial credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for kid-friendly museums for kids while you’re visiting NYC, check out the New York City Fire Museum. It’s a small museum inside an old firehouse in Soho known for its cool collection of firefighting equipment and vehicles, some from the 1800s!

There are hands-on exhibits, photo opportunities, and a 9/11 memorial that’s perfect for both families visiting NYC and locals alike. It’s really geared towards kids under 12 years, so if you have older kids, they might get bored. Admission is very affordable, and it’s perfect for a 1- or 2-hour visit.

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum


The Intrepid Museum is surprisingly kid-friendly! It’s on a ship, so some places aren’t very stroller accessible. But EVERYTHING is hands-on and interactive, so it’s perfect for ages 3 and up.

Exhibits throughout the museum are set up so kids can touch things, sit in cockpits, and push buttons. Tours are informative for older kids and adults. Just keep an eye on the kids when you’re on the top deck. And there’s a height minimum for the submarine exhibit, so skip this if you have younger kids.

If you’re looking for museums for kids in NYC, don’t pass up the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. You could easily spend a whole day here!

New York Hall of Science

Editorial credit: Kit Leong / Shutterstock

The New York Hall of Science is one of the coolest STEM-based kids’ museums in NYC. There are lots of handles to pull and things to build, multi-sensory experiences, and hands-on learning opportunities. Every exhibit presents a puzzle or challenge!

There are also lots of opportunities for movement, like the seasonal outdoor Science Playground. And during the winter there’s an indoor skating rink at the NY Hall of Science.

I love that there’s an area just for kids 6 and under to enjoy the experience, so a family of multiple ages will have a good time here. But I recommend this museum for kids 5 and up.

National Museum of Mathematics

If you’re looking for museums for kids in NYC and only have an hour or so to burn, check out the Museum of Mathematics. It’s a 2-level STEM museum across from Madison Square Park.

I first came here before I had kids when I was taking a course on teaching kids math, and it was as much fun by myself as it was when I took my 3-year-old! Both levels are packed with interactive math-themed exhibits inside rainbow-colored rooms.

You’ll make cars go fast (my daughter’s favorite part), turn levers, and create 3D-printed sculptures. It’s exciting to see how math, engineering, and art go together!

Mercer Labs

inside one of the immersive exhibits at Mercer Labs in NYC

If you like the ARTECHOUSE, Camp stores, or any other myriad of immersive art and technology exhibits out there right now, Mercer Labs is for you! The self-paced museum has 15 unique gallery spaces featuring work by artist Roy Nachum.

Perfect for kids ages 5 and up, every room is a multi-sensory experience, with projections, music, mirrors, and more. Older kids will love all the selfie stations and photo opportunities. Just leave the stroller at home.



Located in the heart of SOHO, INTER_ is trying something new when it comes to gallery-style art/tech museums. I think this is one of the best museums for kids in NYC because it’s such a unique experience.

You’ll explore 5 different exhibits that play with concepts of self, reality, and how we interact with our world. The whole family will enjoy exploring 2 floors of displays that interact with you.

INTER_ is best for kids ages 4 years and up (just leave the stroller at coat check). And tons of photo opportunities and interactive exhibit rooms will bring out your kid at heart!

Color Factory

Editorial credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

Opened in 2019, the Color Factory in the heart of SOHO has since become a fun interactive exhibit and go-to for visitors of all ages. This multi-sensory art exhibition is a must-do if you’re looking for sensory-focused kids museums in NYC!

It’s a no-brainer way to spend a good 90 minutes. Each room runs on the overarching theme of color, and the museum works with a variety of artists to create fun, interactive exhibits.

Some of my personal favorites include The Colors of New York and The Silent Disco Room. Kids will love all the fun, hands-on opportunities, like the Confetti Room and of course the ball pit!

Like most exhibitions, strollers aren’t allowed inside but they allow stroller storage at coat check. But I’d still save this for kids ages 4 and up, especially for the price of admission.

Museum of Ice Cream

Editorial credit: Bryan Sierra12 / Shutterstock

If you can’t get enough of these pseudo-art exhibits and you’re looking for sensory museums for kids in NYC, you’ll love the Museum of Ice Cream! It’s a great desert activity after a day out in the city. EAT FIRST, then go, because your kids will be filling up on tons of sugary goodness!

This museum was tons of fun when we went with friends who have kids in elementary school, but I can also see even my preschooler enjoying this one. Just keep in mind that there’s a hefty price tag, tons of sugar, and it’ll only be an hour’s visit! So, I’d suggest saving it for kids who are a bit older.

Like most art installation walk-throughs, the Museum of Ice Cream includes tons of photo ops and confectionary-themed exhibits. Kids will be blown away by the sprinkle pool and the colorful indoor playground!


Looking for the best museums for kids ages 10 and up? Check out Spyscape, a museum in Midtown Manhattan that’s all about spies, espionage, and the history of intel ops. Set aside 2 or 3 hours for spy games and cool exhibits that spotlight real-life spy equipment and props from your favorite 007 movies!

Spyscape is an interactive experience where you’ll be given an ID band, build up your spy profile, and take on a variety of challenges and puzzles. You’ll learn all about the history, culture, and overall world of spying! At the end, you’ll use your band to debrief and be named an official spy! It’s definitely a fun way for kids to stay engaged and not even realize their learning something.

Kids under 2 are free, but I recommend waiting till your child’s around 9 or 10 for this one (unless they’re just a REALLY big fan of spies and secret agents!). Spyscape seems very much geared towards kids between 10 and 15 years old. Any older and it might be a bit underwhelming.

If you’re looking for more fun in New York with kids, check out our full NYC with kids itinerary to help you plan more activities fun for the whole family during your time in the Big Apple!

Fun Kid Friendly Museums in NYC

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