The dog days of summer are here. (Remember yearning for days like these during the polar vortex?) Now, it’s hot and sticky outside, and you and the kids need to beat the heat. Escape to one of the city’s amazing (air-conditioned) museums and galleries. Not only will you and the kids cool off, but, best of all, these exhibits – from Marvel superheroes to Play-doh sculptures to indoor waterfalls – will ignite your kids’ imaginations.

Put on Your Conceptual Thinking Cap

The Art: While the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is the usual go-to stop for Brooklyn families, the Brooklyn Museum is currently featuring two conceptual art exhibits that appeal to the under 10 set. Don’t be put off by the subject matter (earthquakes, political imprisonment, and government corruption) of Ai Weiwei’s show “According to What?” Featuring inventive installations like an entire room full of metal poles that look like a topographic map, the show evokes more wonder than alarm. On the same floor as part of Ai’s exhibit, Swoon’s “Submerged Motherlands” is madcap installation that looks like a pirate story that takes place in the Forest of Fighting Trees from The Wizard of Oz. A huge tree and a moored ship dominate this artwork.

Fun for Kids: Kids will love looking through the holes in a row of wooden cabinets in Ai Weiwei’s Moon Chest, as well as marveling at the tower of bicycles on the first floor, called Stacked. With Swoon’s exhibit, they won’t be able to stop staring at the monumental, 60-foot-high sculptural tree.

Go: Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn
Phone: 718-638-5000
Exhibition Dates: “Ai Weiwei: According to What?,” now until Aug. 10, 2014; “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands,” now until Aug. 24, 2014.
Hours: Wed. & Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Members-only viewing hours for Ai Weiwei exhibit: Saturdays in August, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Cost: $12/adults, free for kids
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What art exhibit have you taken your kids to this summer? Share your favorite in a Comment.

-Alice Perry

All photos by Alice Perry