The changing of the seasons in New York means a new crop of culture, and that’s especially the case in the fall. Autumn 2019 is no exception, with new fall museum shows for kids dedicated to everything from Medieval knights, Paul Revere and design icons, and a new work from Japanese genius Yayoi Kusama. (Plus, a few shows from summer you can still catch!) Read on to find the NYC museum exhibit for you and your family! P.S.: Looking to take the kids to the theater? Here are our picks for fall 2019 shows to see!



photo: Liberty Science Center

For A Video Game IRL: Angry Birds Universe

The Angry Birds have touched down at the Liberty Science Center! Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind the Global Phenomenon has visitors engaging with concepts in science, math, engineering and the arts as they explore this wildly popular game. Kids can use real sling shots to send the birds flying, build and race angry bird Go Karts, draw and animate their own Angry Bird, learn about the characteristics of real birds, and even scale a climbing wall. Read our guide to visiting Liberty Science Center with the kids here!

Through April 19, 2020 
Closed on Mondays
Tickets: $23.75/adults; $19.75/kids 2 -12
Liberty Science Center
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park

photo: Filip Wolak

For Subway-Obsessed Kids: Changing Signs, Changing Times: A History of Wayfinding in Transit

Calling all subway geeks! (We count ourselves among them.) This free exhibit at the New York City Transit Museum's Annex in Grand Central takes a look at the changing signage of the subway system over time, as shown through photographs, objects, and archival materials drawn from the Museum’s vast collection. 

Through Nov. 6 
New York City Transit Museum Annex
Grand Central Terminal
Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street

photo: ©AMNH/R. Mickens

For a Returning Favorite: The Butterfly Conservatory

The butterflies are back at the American Museum of Natural History for their 22nd year. This popular exhibit features as many as 500 butterflies in a tropical, 80-degree, 1,200-square-foot transparent vivarium filled with lush greenery plants and blooming flowers. The butterflies come from all over the world, including Kenya, Costa Rica, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, and include monarchs, zebra longwings and paper kites. In addition to seeing butterflies in flight and at rest, visitors can observe butterfly chrysalises, and learn about the insects, their important role in the planet's ecosystem and why they should be protected. 

Tickets: adults/$28; kids (ages 2-12)/ $16.50 (Butterfly Conservatory is an additional fee)
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West & 79th St.
Upper West Side 

photo: Liberty Science Center

For Little Ones: Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit

Also at Liberty Science Center, Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit is based on the popular PBS show of the same name and is the museum's exhibit for young learners. Kids can learn basic facts about life sciences, natural history and paleontology, while checking out real and replicated fossils, hopping the train to the three Ages of Dinosaurs and learning about herbivores, carnivores and more. Plus! Buddy the Dinosaur stops by for a meet and greet on select days! (Check the LSC website for times and dates.) 

Through Jan. 20, 2020
Closed on Mondays
Tickets: $23.75/adults; $19.75/kids 2 -12
Liberty Science Center
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park

photo: The Art of the Brick

For LEGOmaniacs: The Art of the Brick

For the ultimate exhibit of LEGO sculpture, head to the New York Hall of Science for the famed The Art of the Brick. Featuring more than 100 works made from more than one million LEGO by and artist Nathan Sawaya, the exhibit includes fan favorites ( Yellow, pictured above), new works such as a 20-foor Tyrannosaurus Rex re-imagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s David, Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. In addition, Sawaya created a 20-foot Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (comprised of over 80,000 LEGO bricks). Visitors can get hands-on with an interactive area, “The Science of the Brick,” where they can try their hand at different LEGO brick building challenges, games and a free play area. There is an additional $7 admission fee to The Art of the Brick. 

Sept. 28-Jan. 26
47-01 111th St.

photo: Museum of Modern Art

For an Old Standby Newly Expanded: MoMA

After taking seven months off to do some serious expansion and renovation, the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown is reopening its doors on October 21. Developed by MoMA with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, the expansion adds more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces, meaning more art to see in new and  interdisciplinary ways. A studio space in the heart of the museum will feature live programming and performances, and an innovative second-floor platform for education will invite visitors to connect with art that explores new ideas about the present, past, and future. Meanwhile street-level galleries will be free and open to all on an expanded ground floor bringing art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan. (Pssst! MoMA is one of our favorite family memberships, and now is a great time to join!)

Reopens October 21
11 W. 53rd St.

For Knights in Shining Armor: The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I

The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I will examine the profound significance of European armor at the dawn of the Renaissance, through the lens of Emperor Maximilian I's (1459–1519) remarkable life. On view only at The Met, The Last Knight will coincide with the 500th anniversary of Maximilian's death, and is the most ambitious North American loan exhibition of European arms and armor in decades. Including more than 180 objects selected from some thirty public and private collections in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, The Last Knight will explore how Maximilian's unparalleled passion for the trappings and ideals of knighthood served his boundless worldly ambitions, imaginative stratagems, and resolute efforts to forge a lasting personal and family legacy.

Oct. 7 - Jan. 5, 2020
1000 Fifth Ave.
Upper East Side 

photo: New York Historical Society

For the Real Story on a Famous Ride: Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

"The British are coming! The British are coming!" These words will forever be linked to Massachusetts patriot, silversmith, and entrepreneur Paul Revere, who was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1861 poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” But as this exhibit shows, his genuine accomplishments are often eclipsed by the legend of that midnight journey. Featuring more than 150 objects, this groundbreaking exhibition subverts previous understanding of the innovative businessman while exploring his career as a silversmith, printmaker, and pioneering copper manufacturer. Organized by the American Antiquarian Society, Beyond Midnight showcases Revere’s engravings from their unparalleled collection; glimmering silver tea services; everyday objects such as shoe buckles, thimbles, and medical tools; and important public commissions like a bronze courthouse bell, which reveal the many facets of this versatile artisan’s career.   

Bonus for kids: Paul Revere exhibition will feature family-friendly labels and touch objects for kids to explore the fact and fiction surrounding Revere and his midnight ride. Additionally, historical interpreters (people in costume playing the role of Revere and others) will be at the Museum on select weekends.  

Sept. 6, 2019- Jan. 12, 2020
Tickets: $22/Adults; $6/kids 5- 13, free/kids four and under
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at 77th St.

photo: David Zwirner Gallery

For a New Infinity Mirror Room: Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner

The high priestess of polka dots and amazing mirrored rooms returns to the David Zwirner gallery late fall 2019. While there's not much info (or images—shown here is a previous installation by the artist) the exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures, an immersive installation and a new Infinity Mirror Room. Expect lines. (Long lines.) 

Tickets: free
Nov. 9 - Dec. 14
537 W. 20th St. 

photo: Terry O'Neil/Brooklyn Museum of Art

For a Far Out Show: Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion

This debuted in July to, appropriately, coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, but it's sticking around until January. Dedicated to the trailblazing designer with a futuristic aesthetic, this show features more than 170 objects from the 1950s to the present, including haute couture and ready-to-wear garments, accessories, photographs, film, and other materials drawn primarily from the Pierre Cardin archive. Check out his avant-garde Space Age designs executed in unconventional materials, and see why his work was worn by international models and film stars from Brigitte Bardot and Lauren Bacall to Alain Delon, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Raquel Welch. Note: The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 

Through Jan. 5, 2020
Tickets: $20/adults; $12/students and seniors, $8/children 4 - 12

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway

photo: Jenna Bascom/Museum of Arts and Design

For Iconic Illustrations From a Woman Entrepreneur: Vera Paints a Scarf 

Celebrating the vibrant work of Vera Neumann, Vera Paints a Scarf features her work and her contributions to the field of American design. Neumann was among the most successful female design entrepreneurs of the 20th century, and an originator of the American lifestyle brand. (Martha owes her.) Over the course of her career, which spanned from her label’s debut in 1942 to her death in 1993, Neumann produced an iconic line of women's scarves all signed with a cursive “Vera” and stamped with a ladybug, as well as thousands of textile patterns based on her drawings, paintings, and collages. This exhibit is the first to comprehensively examine her career—and highlights the keys to her success: her joyful and inventive aesthetic, democratic design ethos, fusion of craft and mass production, and clever marketing.

Through Jan. 26
Tickets: $16/adults; $12/students, free/18 and under 
2 Columbus Circle 
Upper West Side


photo: Children's Museum of the Arts

To Celebrate Breaking Barriers: E.V. Day: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

This gravity-defying exhibition at The Children's Museum of the Arts encourages viewers to aim high and break through their own invisible barriers. Artist E.V. Day is known for her gravity-defying suspension sculptures that explore themes of science fiction, space, gender, and humor. Her new site-specific installation in the central Cynthia C. Wainwright Gallery of the museum hovers over visitors. Turnbuckles, monofilament, and angle iron are used to build multiple suspended trajectories in the ceiling, with the columns and walls serving as mounting points. Chains, brass rods, elastic cords, and hardware build tension, highlight resistance, and imply velocity in the piece. The ceiling installation is complemented by shattered glass images displayed around the perimeter of the gallery referencing cosmic aspirations — the strong desire to achieve something that might feel just outside of one’s reach.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling is the final show of a three-part exhibition cycle that comprises CMA’s 30th anniversary CIVICKIDS: Make Art. Make A Difference campaign, a year-long series of exhibitions, community events, and digital art that foster civic engagement and shared community pride through art-making

Read our full guide to visiting the Children's Museum of the Arts here! 

Through Oct. 27
103 Charlton St.


photo: ©AMNH/C. Chesek

For a Deep Dive on a Big Dino: T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator

The American Museum of Natural History knows what side its bread is buttered on. (Apologies to the blue whale: it's the institution's incredible collection of, and exhibit on dinosaurs.) Now, the museum is going all-in with a show dedicated to perhaps the most famous dino of all: T rex. The tiny-armed, big bodied creature gets the AMNH treatment with a show that examines the evolution of the animal (it used to be small), its sensory mastery of predation, its rapid growth from the size of a chicken to one of a truck, and more. The exhibit features a life-size reconstruction of T. rex complete with patches of feathers, real fossils and casts, large-scale video projections that bring T. rex to life, and the chance to explore real data from fossil specimens, CT scans, and microscope images at a tabletop Investigation Station. Plus, a virtual reality experience enables visitors to work together to build a T. rex skeleton.  

Tickets: adults/$28; kids (ages 2-12)/ $16.50
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West & 79th St.
Upper West Side 

photo: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions

Created in Zagreb, Croatia (with additional outposts in Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, and beyond) the museum is less technicolor extravaganza, and more exercise for your brain (in a good way). But don’t worry: fun photo ops still abound.

Visitors can explore more than 70 elements and experiences that include "illusionistic rooms", optical illusions, and puzzles. Every "piece" in the museum is accompanied by a clear and concise explanation of what is causing or creating the illusion; mathematical, biological, and psychological concepts are all touched upon, as are perception, vision, and how the human brain works.

This museum is an outstanding (and very fun) way to engage kids with complex scientific principles, and help them understand through experience. The well-curated gift shop allows you to take home some of the brain-bending fun. PS: Looking for a fun indoor birthday party idea? You can host one here.

Tickets: $19/adults; $15/kids six - 15; $17/students, seniors, military; $53/family of four
Daily, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
77 Eighth Ave.

photo: AKC/David Woo

To See Four-legged Friends: Museum of the Dog

Just in time for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (the Super Bowl for canines), The American Kennel Club debuts its Museum of the Dog on Park Avenue. (Previously located in St. Louis, the museum is now housed in the same building as the AKC.) Expect fine art such as paintings and sculptures dedicated to dogs big and small, as well as tributes created using modern technology. 

Tickets: $15/adults; $5/kids 12 and under, $10/seniors 65 and older 
101 Park Ave. 
Upper East Side

—Mimi O’Connor

main image: David Zwirner


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