This fall, many museums in New York City reopened, operating at reduced capacity and with lots of safety precautions. But some major museums for kids, like the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum remained closed. No more! These two faves are open again, and there a lots of great, new museum exhibits for kids this winter. Read on for the latest, as well important safety precautions and ticketing info! (You’re gonna need a reservation.)
Children's Museum of Manhattan
The Children's Museum of Manhattan reopened October 16, with lots of safety precautions in place, including routine sanitizing, temperature checks, reduced capacity, masks and social distancing.
The museum is offering two curated family experiences that must be reserved in advance, with timed entry. Each one hour and forty-five minute session will have limited capacity and includes a visit to two of the Museum’s award-winning exhibits, allowing increased space to safely explore, climb, move, and play.
Playful Explorers, invites younger kids to play, learn and imagine in CMOM’s Playworks and Adventures with Dora and Diego exhibits. Educator-led experiences include storytime, singing and music and personal activity kits.
Big kids will enjoy Superpowered Creators, featuring the Inside Art and Superpowered Metropolis exhibits. Climb through original three-dimensional artworks and make your own art to take home, then visit a comic book-inspired NYC with a two-story treehouse headquarters for Zip, Zap and Zoom, three superpowered pigeons. Experience a delightful wind-blowing fountain, create city sounds in the magical subway car and drive a superpowered pigeon mobile. Educator-led experiences include art-making, a scavenger hunt and personal activity kits.
Tickets: $15/kids and adults; $12/seniors, free/infants and members
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St.
Upper West Side
The Brooklyn Children's Museum
This popular museum for kids opened with a bash on Halloween, and celebrated Dia de los Muertos the next day.
The latest exhibit at the museum is "Oyster City", a new exhibit highlighting the oyster as an aquatic superstar with water-filtering and ecosystem-building powers. The exhibit showcases the
ongoing work of the Billion Oyster Project (BOP), an environmental education and advocacy
organization working on the Brooklyn waterfront. Learn about efforts to restore the ecological health of the Hudson River through creation of new oyster
reefs; get an up-close look at flora and fauna that grow near the reefs; and hear the history
of Brooklyn’s waterways.
You can also visit the popular longstanding exhibits World Brooklyn,
Neighborhood Nature, Totally Tots, Collections Central and The Nest, but you must make a timed reservation for a 90-minute session now. Do that here.
ColorLab Sessions, workshops in the Museum’s art studio that offer families an opportunity to
explore print-making, collage and sculpture projects are also available through timed reservation. Make a reservation here.
145 Brooklyn Ave.
Liberty Science Center
The Liberty Science Center reopened on Labor Day, and is rolling out fun new exhibits for colder months. After a world tour, its exhibit Beyond Rubik’s Cube is back. The world’s first museum exhibition all about the Rubik’s Cube puzzle, it allows visitors to experience games, puzzles, history, art, and engineering—all inspired by Ernő Rubik’s best-selling masterpiece.
Also new is DC Super Heroes, featuring favorite heroes from the DC Universe, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Cyborg. The exhibit explores themes of teamwork, self-discovery, strength, and justice while on the trail of a group of supervillains.
For the little ones, check out Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites, in which beloved children’s books come to life. Explore literacy, imagination, and dramatic play as the exhibition transforms seven beloved and award-winning picture books into three-dimensional spaces and bilingual learning environments that highlight essential pre-reading skills.
And then there's Boom Time, which features a show of controlled explosions several times a day! (Exploding watermelon!)
Tickets and parking must be purchased in advance, capacity is reduced, there is no eating or drinking inside the building, and air filters have been replaced and upgraded. Face masks are required. Read all of the safety protocols here, and read our guide to the Liberty Science Center with kids here.
Liberty Science Center
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: About Time
Put on hold from the spring, the The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute's show, About Time, opened October 29 and will be on view through February 7, 2021.
This stunning show traces a century and a half of fashion—from 1870 to the present—along a "disruptive timeline." It explores how clothes generate temporal associations that conflate past, present, and future. Bonus: Virginia Woolf will serve as the "ghost narrator" of the exhibition.
Two adjacent galleries are fabricated as enormous clock faces and organized around the principle of 60 minutes of fashion. Each "minute" will feature a pair of garments, with the primary work representing the linear nature of fashion and the secondary work its cyclical character. The works in each pair are connected through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration. For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s will be paired with an Alexander McQueen "Bumster" skirt from 1995.
Visitors must reserve tickets online in advance, which you can do here. (For New Yorkers and New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students, timed admission may be reserved online, and then you may pay as you wish at on-site ticketing desks.) Masks are required, as are temperature checks for entry, there's no coat check, and more. Read all safety measures here.
Also on view: Making The Met, 1870–2020; The Roof Garden Commission: Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour, and P.S. Art, an annual celebration of achievement in the arts in New York City public schools, showcasing the creativity of 122 prekindergarten through grade 12 students from all five boroughs.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Upper East Side
Celestial at Artechouse
Housed in a never-previously occupied boiler room space beneath Chelsea Market’s main concourse, ARTECHOUSE describes itself as "the most technologically advanced art platform in the world."
Utilizing the Barco-powered, 16K resolution, 150 megapixel, laser projection technology, the space integrates the largest seamless megapixel count, bringing every pixel alive in the widest color spectrum. The digital art space also has incredible sound, thanks to L’ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology with 32 separate channels.
On view now is "Celestial," dedicated to a unique expression of Pantone’s Color of the Year 2020: Classic Blue. Drawing on the color blue’s inspirational qualities, Celestial takes visitors on "a journey beyond the skies." Artechouse lets you "submerge yourself in the sights, sounds and sensations of Classic Blue."
Sessions are 30 minutes and must be reserved in advance; private sessions can also be booked. See Covid safety rules here. Recommended for kids 12 and up.
Tickets: $24/adults; $20/students, seniors, first responders; $17/ages 4-15, free/under four
439 W. 15th St.
The American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History re-opened to the public on September 9, and you can see favorites like the Blue Whale and the dinosaurs (including the massive Titanosaur, pictured here) once again! You must reserve timed tickets in advance (do so here or on the museum's app) and visitors ages two and older must wear a mask. Capacity is capped at 25 percent of normal visitation to allow ample room for physical distancing.
In addition to the classics, special exhibits on view at the museum are The Nature of Color and T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator, as well as one addressing the history and issues surrounding the museum's statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which the institution has requested be removed.
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West & 79th Street
Upper West Side
The Cloisters, the Met's uptown outpost devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, reopened September 12. You'll find approximately 2,000 works of art from medieval Europe here, including exquisite illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork, enamels, ivories and enormous tapestries. The buildings themselves are modeled on sacred spaces from 12th to the 15th centuries, and the courtyards and gardens contained within are filled with plantings based on historical writings and art.
Note that The Cloisters are open Thursday - Monday; winter hours are 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., November to February. You must reserved tickets in advance. Do that here.
Tickets: $25/adults; $17/seniors; $12/students, free/kids under 12.
99 Margaret Corbin Dr.
Fort Tryon Park
New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, home to the excellent Dimenna Children's History Museum, opened its doors to the public again on September 11.
Several exhibits at the museum have been extended, including Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution; Women March; Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic; and The People Count: The Census in the Making of America.
And outdoors in the museum’s rear courtyard is the free exhibition Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine, which documents the experiences of New Yorkers across the five boroughs during the height of the pandemic.
New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West at 77th St.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney reopened September 3. You must reserve tickets in advance online--do so here. Masks are required, as is social distancing and capacity is reduced to 25 percent.
On view now is Craft in Art, 1950–2019 (featuring this life-size beaded kitchen piece, above), as well as Vida Americana, which brings together the work of Mexico’s three leading muralists—José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera—and shows it alongside pieces by their America contemporaries.
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum reopened September 25. Entrance is by timed tickets—buy them here—and the museum is now open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Capacity is limited and some areas remain closed (inside the Concorde and submarine Growler, the Lutnick Theater, simulators, food service and the retail store) but most of the 350,000-square-foot complex is open. Masks are required for all visitors over two years of age.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
West 46th St. & 12th Ave.
The Museum debuted its $450 million renovation in the fall of 2019, and had to close its colorful show Judd, the first major U.S. retrospective dedicated to the work of Donald Judd in over three decades, due to the pandemic. It's back, and runs through January 9 2021. Also on view is a show dedicated to Félix Fénéon, an extraordinarily influential but little-known French art critic, editor, publisher, dealer, and collector.
Highlight: A large rendering of Milton Glaser's iconic "I Love NY" graphic will be on full display for MoMA visitors to enjoy.
11 West 53rd St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
The Museum of Ice Cream
Yes, the Museum of Ice Cream is open! An immersive walk-through experience dedicated to the sweet treat, the MOIC opened a permanent NYC flagship in December of 2019, but shut down in March. It's back, and COVID-19 precautions are in place, and include a new ventilation system, mask and glove requirements, deep cleanings at the beginning and end of every day, cleaning surfaces following any touching by visitors, capacity reduction, etc. You can read all safety measures here.
You must reserve tickets in advance, and the museum is open Thursday through Sunday now.
The Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York is open, and is celebrating the city's spirit. New York Responds looks at the city in 2020, as it confronts the pandemic and racial injustice. Featuring images and stories from New Yorkers, the initial phase of the exhibit, which will be mounted in full later this year, is outside (it debuted July 23).
Also on view is City/Game: Basketball in New York, which looks at the story of the sport in New York, everywhere it's played, from the school yard to the stadium. The show Activist New York explores the drama of social activism in the city from the 17th century to present day.
Tickets are by timed entry (click here to reserve) and the museum is open Thursday to Monday. Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. are designated for high-risk individuals and seniors. See all of the museum's safety measures here.
`1220 Fifth Ave. at 103rd Street
Upper East Side
For Slime Lovers: Sloomoo Institute
If you missed your chance to visit this shrine to slime when it opened last year, you have another chance. It's slightly altered (people play with their own slimes, not a collective vat, as was done previously), and you get to take slime home. Expect artisanal, scented slime, interactive activities, a massive DIY slime bar, slime experiments, an immersive ASMR tunnel, a lake of slime to walk on, and more. Advanced tickets are timed, masks are required, staff is in masks and gloves, and capacity is reduced. Dress in your get messy clothes and prepare to open your wallet: it's $39 a ticket. A percentage of sales goes to mental health charities.
Museum of Illusions
Created in Zagreb, Croatia (with additional outposts in Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, and beyond) the museum is both educational and a spot for fun photo ops. 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.
Entry is by timed ticket, masks and temperature checks are required, the air filtration system has been upgraded you'll find hand sanitizer throughout the museum. Read more COVID-19 safety measures here.
77 Eighth Ave.
To See Four-legged Friends: Museum of the Dog
The American Kennel Club celebrates humans' best friend with 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. Ticketing is by advanced reservation, and masks are required. The museum is closed Mondays.
Tickets: $15/adults; $5/kids 12 and under, $10/seniors 65 and older
101 Park Ave.
Upper East Side