New York City’s gone pop-up crazy! So many fun, immersive Instagram and selfie-friendly experiences have popped up, out, in and around NYC, it’s incredibly hard to keep track of all of them—or know which ones are best for kids (and worth your cash, ‘cause those things can add up). We hit up the latest and best Instagram spots for families in New York City so you know which ones are the best match for your clan. (Some of them are actually here to stay!) Here’s our guide to where you and the kids can get seriously selfie.
"Reflect" at Domino Park
Head to Williamsburg's waterside Domino Park to check out Jen Lewin's "Reflect." The interactive piece is an immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by the dynamic patterns created by organic systems found in nature. Spanning 2,400 square feet, the sculpture consists of three concentric rings, each made up of platforms that respond to visitors’ steps, triggering splashes of light that create an ever-changing composition. Find it in front of Domino Park's fountain.
Through April 15
300 Kent Ave.
Public Art Downtown
Two dynamic art installations, on loan from Amsterdam’s Light Art Collection, are on view courtesy of The Downtown Alliance. public plaza adjacent to 85 Broad Street from February 6 through March 21. "C/C" by Singapore-based artist Angela Chong, is an acrylic and steel piece that functions as a sitting area. It casts complex shadows by day, and transforms into a colorful LED light show at night.
"Talking Heads" (pictured) is a pair of two, 21-foot-tall sculptures that communicate through the universal language of emotion. Without any moving parts, the heads hold full conversations between one another by emoting through over 4,000 LEDs that illuminate their facial expressions. "Talking Heads" is designed by Viktor Vicsek, who resides in Hungary, and specializes in light and projection work.
Through March 21
Public Plaza, adjacent to 85 Broad Street
Immersive Van Gogh
This high tech exploration of the Dutch painter's work doesn't debut until June 10, but the exhibit has been selling out in cities nationwide. An hour-long, immersive experience (that promises Covid-19 precautions) the exhibit is made up of 60,600 frames of video, 90,000,000 pixels, and 500,000+ cubic feet of projections. Producers describe it as "merging state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling and world-class animation."
Tickets: starting at $39.99
While CAMP is permanent, it does change themes every few months. The current theme is "Cooking Camp," which follows the journey of food from farm to table. And while it is ultimately a store, it's also a really cool experience tailored to kids that provides plenty of photo ops. A Flatiron District storefront filled with lots of cool toys and goods, as well as a Milk Bar location, CAMP also contains a bookcase that opens into a much larger space. (Going through this "secret" entrance is a pretty magical way to start a visit.) In this second space you'll find play areas, workshops, performances, and lots more toys for browsing. Free fun includes jumping on a mini trampoline, get down in the ice box disco, climbing aboard a truck to ferry some "food", and cooking it up in a deluxe play kitchen. You can also sign-up in advance for workshops and shows, and if you're really into CAMP, you can become a member. Read our review from when it opened here!
.- 8 a.m.-8p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
110 Fifth Ave.
Found in the brand-new, blockbuster luxury development Hudson Yards, Snark Park a monochromatic mashup of art, design, playhouse and yes, unique Instagram-friendly immersive experience. Created by New York-based design studio known as Snarkitecture, Snark Park is the first entirely Snarkitecture-designed experience, and it will change three times a year. The first installation, Lost and Found, is described as a "modern-day enchanted forest" – built from a series of massive, inhabitable columns, each offering a unique, tactile experience. A series of totems lines the space and many of them are inhabitable and built with custom materials: EPS foam, mirror tile, acoustic paneling, cork, latex, ping-pong balls, faux fur, among others. Deeper into the installation, visitors discover a hidden, two-way mirrored room. (It is worth the high price tag? We've yet to experience it, as it was closed during the Hudson Yards preview, but plan to visit soon.)-
Rounding out the high-concept experience, Snark Park will also sell its own KITH Treats ice cream flavor "Snark Bite", with traditional KITH menu items. (Lots of sugary cereal mix-ins.) And of course, you can purchase a Snark Park souvenir, including the stuffie mascot "Snarky."
Tickets must be bought online for a specific time slot.
Tickets: $28/adults; $22/kids; free/kids four and under
Museum of Illusions
Unlike the other installations featured here, The Museum of Illusions is not passing through. 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.
The Color Factory
Color Factory is a vibrant and interactive experience that celebrates hues of all kinds in myriad ways. (And while something like Candytopia does have that candy X-factor, we found Color Factory to be not only fun, but thoughtful, thought-provoking, and even a bit magical; any kid will have a blast, older ones will have an appreciation for its sophistication, and you'll probably love it.)
After a wildly-popular run on the west coast last year, Color Factory NYC features new collaborations with artists and partners including OH HAPPY DAY, Leah Rosenberg, Erin Jang, and Roz Chast. It’s 20,000 square feet and 16 installations of Technicolor, Instagram-friendly fun, such as ombré floating balloons with wishes for the world written by students at 826NYC, a walkable infographic leading you to your “secret color”, a palette of colorful treats featuring a custom color ice cream scoop, a unique activity on color and human connection, and a luminous dance floor. And of course, there is (a very large) ball “pit” — but it’s more like a ball room. (Everyone will love that.)
Through November 26
Tickets: $38; kids 2 and under are free (Tickets must be purchased in advance)
Daily, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.; closed Wednesdays
251 Spring St.