New York City firefighters are famous for a lot of things – shiny red trucks, firehouse chili, steamy pictorial calendars and of course, being the bravest rescue team around. What more can they do? Run a museum dedicated to preserving the city’s fire history. An amazing hidden gem tucked away in an old fire station in SoHo, firefighters from around the world come to visit the New York City Fire Museum. Lucky for us, our aspiring kids get to visit the museum everyday if they want, as it’s open seven days a week. The Fire Museum’s collection will please the entire family – you included.
Top Five Must-Sees
The museum is large enough for exploring, but small enough to see everything before a hunger meltdown. There are five permanent collections on display, but we think you’ll spend the most time checking out the Fire Apparatus, Tools and Uniforms on the ground floor and the Firefighting on Parade upstairs with the kids. Here are the top five displays you cannot miss!
- Hurst Tool: AKA, the jaws of life, it’s an amazing reminder that firemen save lives.
- Stokes Basket: A rescue stretcher hanging from the ceiling on first floor.
- Phoenix 4 Hand Pumpe: Because it takes up much of the second floor!
- Steinway Hose Carriage: The beautiful details will remind you of royalty.
- Bolton Quickstep: It’s the oldest hand-pumped fire engine in the collection.
Depending on the age of your kiddos, you may want to skip the 9/11 Memorial that could be difficult to explain on a cheerful Saturday afternoon and the Romance of Firefighters exhibit which consists mostly of historical documents and artwork.
We suggest parking the stroller and exploring on foot since there are many large and delicate items on display, though strollers are absolutely allowed and there’s an elevator to accommodate. But, call ahead to ensure the elevator is working if stairs may be too much for your family, the elevators have been known to be down. The main entrance leads straight to the gift shop where you purchase tickets for admission. Have a game plan ready for your consumer kiddos as there is so much cool merchandise to entice them! Restrooms are on the second floor landing at the top of the stairs. If your kid loves it – keep in mind that you can throw his next birthday party here.
Cool Stops Nearby
Make a day of your trek to SoHo and visit the nearby Children’s Museum of the Arts to get the creative juices flowing or the Jacques Torres Chocolate Factory for kid-friendly treats like chocolate-covered Cheerios and frozen hot chocolate.
New York City Fire Museum
278 Spring Street
Cost: $8/adults, $5/students, seniors and children over 2, Free/children under 2
What other places and activities are perfect for the little firefighter in the city? Let us know!
–Sarah K. Choi
Photos courtesy of New York City Fire Museum and Sarah K. Choi