True New Yorkers know how to score the best deal on anything; New York parents can be especially savvy about getting the most bang for every buck. One way you and your brood can save big in the city is with Family Memberships — which also happen to make great gifts, whether you’re giving or receiving. Perfect for family visits, one-on-one time with a kid, play dates, or even killing some time between appointments, a family membership to one of the following spots can make your life easier (and cheaper) all year long.
photo: Wildlife Conservation Society
Wildlife Conservation Society
Most kids love animals, but going to the same zoo over and over (no matter how awesome) can get a bit tired — not to mention expensive! Wildlife Conservation Society has created an easy, convenient, cost-effective way to visit NYC’s five zoos as often as you’d like, for one price: The Family Premium Membership.
For the deluxe package (and the best value) go for the Conservation Supporter level, which gets two adults, one guest and all your under-18 children free unlimited access to the Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo and attractions, such as shows in the zoos’ theaters (with free parking), New York Aquarium (again with free parking), Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo, plus entry into a range of special events. Cost is $370.
The organization’s efficient website even makes it easy for the grandparents to gift you a family membership (hint, hint). Additional perks: early admission to the parks and a discount on Central Park’s wildly popular holiday and summer camps.
Inside tip: If Conservation Supporter is too rich for your blood, consider the Family Zoos and Aquarium level for $270, which gets your admission for two adults and up to four children, or just the zoos for $170. You can review all of the membership options here—there are many!
photo: Mimi O’Connor
Liberty Science Center
First off: if you live in or even close to Jersey City, this is the way to go. The massive Liberty Science Center is a fantastic way to spend a rainy day, boiling hot day, snow day, vacation day, etc. (The Infinity Climber alone, pictured above, is a great way to kill good chunk of time.) Its size means there’s plenty to explore, and with rotating exhibits, movies and shows, it’s pretty much never the same place twice. And in the summer, the museum takes it outside for “dino digs” and other sunny-weather activities. You can read our full guide to LSC here!
What you get: Creating a place that rich and robust isn’t cheap, so a single visit can set you back (starting at $19.75 for kids and $23.75 for adults—and that not even with the cost of special exhibits and shows added on.) A LSC family membership gets all of you you free admission to the Center for a year, plus tons of other goodies. Those include: members-only events and activities, when you get exclusive access to the museum; free single tickets to LSC shows; discounts on special exhibits, camps, laser shows and film, the Center store and cafe; free visits dates at local museums including the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, The Intrepid, The New York Hall of Science, the Garden State Discovery Museum, and more. Plus: free admission to 340+ science centers and museums worldwide.
Cost: $175 per year, for two adults and four children (other membership levels available for more, or fewer people.)
Closed on Mondays
Tickets: $23.75/adults; $19.75/kids 2 -12
Liberty Science Center
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park
The Museum of Modern Art
Note!: MoMA is undergoing a major renovation, and is slated to reopen with much fanfare in October 21, 2019. (There’s even a special MoMA90 membership to go with it.) In the meantime, the museum’s Long Island City location, PS1 is open and full of art and events.
MoMA is a NYC institution, beloved by art aficionados, tourists and yes, city families. That’s because the museum does a brilliant job of making art accessible and interesting to visitors of all ages. Among the many family-friendly programs and events at MoMA are regular Family Gallery Talks, hands-on art workshops, family visit days, family-friendly art films, MoMA Art Labs and a number of apps and websites that allow kids and their grownups interact with the works of art housed at MoMA.
For older kids, the museum offers classes created just for teens. MoMA’s collection of bright, intriguing art is just the kind of stuff kids love to look at, and you will, too. The MoMA does contain a few works of decidedly adult themes. Go to the exhibitions page beforehand so you’ll know what to expect; there may be areas of the museum you want to skip.
Inside Tip: The museum has also established itself as a place for must-see art events such as Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present and “Rain Room” (a kid-friendly art event if there ever was one), the waits for which often become extremely long. Members get early entry and line-skipping privileges, which you will be so glad you have when you need them most!
Cost: $175 for the Family Level, which is for two adults and all children who live in the same household.
What you get: Free entry to the MoMA and MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, free no-wait entry to the both museums, free entry into family-friendly events, including Family Films, Little Member Mornings and the Family Festival. Plus: members-only early hours, members-only shopping days, discounts at the MoMA gift store, museum cafes and restaurants, group tours and parking. And, you’ll get a hands-on educational activity guide.
11 W. 53rd St.