5 Top Family Museums in New York

Jocelyn Murray August 18, 2011 No Comments

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A Popular destination choice for many foreign and domestic visitors, New York offers an exciting array of museums and attractions for people of all ages. Listed alphabetically, the following five museums are among the best in New York, where families can explore everything from fossils to fine art, and come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of our world. Come explore their intriguing collections for yourself and be inspired by the world in which we live.

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History - Exterior

The American Museum of Natural History houses 46 permanent exhibition halls

American Museum of Natural History - Dinosaurs Hall

This Tyrannosaurus rex is featured in one of the museum's Fossil Halls

Situated across the street from Central Park in New York City in a 17 acre park with lush gardens, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s most eminent museums. Founded in 1869, this sprawling behemoth is a masterpiece among museums, housing 46 permanent exhibition halls with superbly recreated habitat dioramas, research laboratories and a distinguished library. There is something for everyone here from meteorites to mammals, human origins and evolution, fossils and ocean life, to gems and minerals, a planetarium and more.

A 94-foot blue whale model welcomes guests from where it hangs on the ceiling in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, while countless fossils in the Fossil Halls from a Tyrannosaurus rex to a Triceratops captivate onlookers from their displays. Young explorers ages 5-12 will love the Discovery Room with its interactive hands-on activities including artifacts, specimens, puzzles and games. Additionally the IMAX films, space shows, and guided tours make a visit here unforgettable. For more information visit their official site at www.amnh.org

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn Children's Museum - exterior

Award-winning hands-on exhibits and collections

Brooklyn Children's Museum - toddlers

Totally Tots exhibit - a water play area for young children

The first museum in the world founded specifically for children in 1899, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, New York takes children from pre-school to high school on exciting learning adventures through their award-winning, hands-on exhibits and collections. The museum houses a permanent collection of 30,000 objects from cultural artifacts (both ancient and modern) including sculptures, masks and musical instruments, to natural science specimens such as fossils, minerals, and exotic live plants, insects and animals including a 20-foot-long albino Burmese Python named Fantasia.

There is even a special exhibit for the museum’s youngest guests (5 and under) in Totally Tots with a sand pit, water play area, climbing structure, art studio and much more. Interactive displays, games, crafts, multiple drawing stations, role-playing opportunities, and a host of other wonderful activities inspire children’s curiosity and interest in the world around them.

For more information visit their official website at www.brooklynkids.org

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air, Space Museum

The museum brings military and maritime history alive with its many interactive exhibits

Come watch military and maritime history come alive at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City where interactive exhibits and events give visitors a thrilling glimpse of the past aboard the USS Intrepid – a National Historic Landmark. Guests can explore original artifacts, take guided tours, board the Growler Submarine to inspect its various compartments, view historic film footage, experience virtual flight in the 4D Motion Ride XD Theater, and tour the inside of a Concorde – the world’s fastest commercial airplane.

Intrepid Sea, Air, Space Museum - British Airways Concorde

Visitors can tour the inside of this Concorde – the world’s fastest commercial airplane

The Flight Deck boasts close to two dozen aircraft including the World War II Avenger torpedo bomber and Cold War spy plane A-12 Blackbird. Additionally, the Enterprise Space Shuttle will be showcased here in an upcoming permanent exhibit as well. Children of all ages enjoy the Exploreum Hall – a 13,000 square-foot area with interactive exhibits that examine the Intrepid’s history with its educational themes of water, space, air and life at sea. For more information visit www.intrepidmuseum.org

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art - entrance (courtesy of Arad)

The collection spans five thousand years of world culture (photo courtesy of Arad)

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Knight

Arms and Armor department - a very popular collection

With an impressive collection that spans five thousand years of world culture, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has been one of the world’s prominent art museums since its founding in 1870.

More than two million works of art are featured from a diverse range of cultures and historical periods (prehistory to contemporary times), as well as comprehensive collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor.

Some of the museum’s popular extensive exhibitions include Egyptian Art, Greek and Roman Art, European Paintings, Arms and Armor, Medieval Art, Modern Art, American Art and Asian Art. The Met also offers wonderful programs for families and children including thematic gallery tours, creative art activities, drop-in drawing sessions, festivals, classes and more. Free concerts and films are also featured throughout the year in conjunction with special exhibitions and collections.

For more information visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art website at www.metmuseum.org

New York Hall of Science

New York Hall of Science - exterior

The New York Hall of Science boasts over 450 interactive exhibits

The New York Hall of Science is New York City’s premier hands-on science and technology hub with over 450 interactive exhibits on biology, chemistry, and physics. This fantastic museum takes visitors of all ages on an exciting journey that brings the often elusive world of science to life in tangible and stimulating ways.

New York Hall of Science - Realm of the Atom

Realm of the Atom is one their permanent exhibitions

Among the many exciting exhibitions guests can explore the world of microbes, atoms, machinery and human inventions, molecules and their role in life, light and shadows, and rockets and spacecraft in the Rocket Park. Countless hands-on activities throughout the museum engage and entertain visitors through the use of tools, experiments, manipulatives, games, technology and more.

Children will love the Science Playground where numerous features like slides, seesaws, sand pits and fog machines help them learn about basic scientific principles while having fun. A variety of programs and workshops for students, children and families provide greater enrichment as well.

For more information visit www.nysci.org

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avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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