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NYC museums: New and upcoming exhibits for kids

Keep these new and upcoming kid-friendly exhibits at NYC museums in your back pocket for the next rainy day.

Should the bad weather blues put a dent in your afternoon, keep these NYC museums in mind for your next family outing. We've rounded up all that's new, noteworthy and upcoming in our favorite NYC museums. Click through the slideshow to see 'em all.


RECOMMENDED: NYC museums: The best exhibits for kids right now


  • Photograph: Gary Hodges

    "From Here to There"

    Feb 6–May 10

    Kids will explore the science behind how things move in this hands-on educational exhibit at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. The 1,500 square foot exhibition is divided into three travel categories: land, sea and air. Youngsters can dive into a ball pit in "Earthmovers," learn what powers cars and airplanes in "Start Your Engines!" and send boats across a windy lake in "Set Sail." All ages.  

  • "Sesame Street presents The Body Exhibit"

    Jan 24–May 3

    Explore the way the body works with help from Elmo, Oscar and the rest of the Sesame Street crew. At Liberty Science Center's newest exhibition, kids get schooled by their favorite characters on how different body parts function and learn ways to stay healthy through fun, hands-on activities. The large, interactive exhibit takes youngsters through a re-creation of Sesame Street where they'll get a look inside Oscar's digestive system, pull the lever on a giant sneeze machine and shop for healthy food at Mr. Hooper's Store. Interactive video games, sign language challenges, shadow puppets, puzzles and more keep kids entertained and teach them a thing or two along the way. Little ones can even meet Elmo in person on select dates throughout the exhibition. Ages 2 to 8.


  • Photograph: Children's Museum of Manhattan

    "Hello from Japan!"

    Jan 16–May 17

    Delve into the cultural traditions of Tokyo and explore two very different sides of the city when this interactive exhibit takes over the Children's Museum of Manhattan's lower-level gallery. Girst comes Kawaii Central, a bustling street in the Harajuku district, inviting little ones to sing karaoke, snap pics in a photo booth, serve up an imaginary Japanese meal and design cute mascots inspired by the kawaii style. After the colorful cityscape, seek solace in the Shinto shrine park, a beautiful natural area where they'll build bridges, crawl through a gorest, meet kami spirits and form dreams for the future at a wishing tree. Discover evern more about Japanese cuisine, art and national holidays via monthly family festivals supplementing the exhibit through May. All ages.

  • "Pixelated: Sum of Its Pieces"

    Jan 22–May 3

    Explore perception in the digital world at the Children's Museum of the Arts' new spring exhibition. "Pixelated: Sum of Its Pieces" is composed of works by various emerging and mid-career artists, including Omar Chacon, Christian Faur, Al Souza and Devorah Sperber. The works on view consider the intersection between art and technology; while some have been created using computers, others are handmade. Kids can let their imaginations guide them as they examine various pieces of art from different distances and viewpoints. Among the exhibit are paintings made with wax and bubble wrap, sculpture constructed with found objects and digital installations. Stop in for hands-on gallery workshops inspired by the exhibit including mega collages, found-object frames, rolled-paper mosaics and Minecraft masks, all led by one of the museum’s Teaching Artists. Ages 6 and up.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    "The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter"

    through May 25

    It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which holds up to 500 tropical lepidoptera. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with the ethereal creatures. All ages.

  • "Nature's Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters"

    Nov 15–Aug 9

    If Superstorm Sandy has taught New Yorkers anything, it’s that no one is safe from the forces of nature. Now your family can learn more about natural disasters through an interactive exhibit, opening Nov 15. Kids explore the geological causes of these catastrophic events, seeing their devastating impact on the planet and learning how we predict future disasters. Hands-on activities allow them to monitor earthquakes around the world in real time, stand at the center of a roaring tornado, manipulate geological fault lines, generate a virtual volcano and check out an interactive map of NYC during the 2012 hurricane. All ages.

  • Photograph courtesy National Museum of Mathematics

    "Robot Swarm"

    through Dec 14

    Kids will marvel at the Museum of Mathematics' futuristic new exhibit, featuring more than 20 small, light-up robots. The 'bots zoom across the floor, interacting with museum-goers and communicating with each other thanks to high-tech motion control and positioning systems. Families can learn all about the exciting field of swarm technology in robotics and explore the mathematical rules that make the robots work. All ages.

     

  • Courtesy MoMA

    MoMA, "The Paris of Toulouse Lautrec: Prints and Posters"

    Jul 26–March 1

    MoMA takes viewers back to La Belle Époque in this survey of the graphic art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), surely one of the best-known and beloved names in art history. All of his iconic images are here, along with the landmarks of late-19th-century Parisian nightlife referenced therein. Bring the whole family and get transported to Paris. 

  • Photograph: Jael Marschner

    "Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection"

    Nov 21–Feb 22

    Take a journey back in time as you peruse this vintage collection of European toys and trains. In the premiere museum exhibition of the Jerni collection, a display of model trains, bridges, carousels and Ferris wheels, as well as the first ever model of an elevated train station, creates a diorama populated by figurines in colorful 19th-century garb. All toys are hand-crafted and hand-painted, giving each piece a unique flair. This year, the display will be transformed with theaterical lighting, and audio "soundscape" and other visual effects, making it seem as though trains are thundering through the museum. All ages.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Robert Lorenzson

    "100 Books Famous in Children's Literature"

    Dec 10–Feb 7

    Little bookworms can take in some literary history at the Grolier Club, America's oldest bibliophile society. "One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" showcases kid-friendly tomes beloved by readers big and small for generations—from time-honored classics like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh and Grimm's Fairy Tales to modern favorites like Harry Potter. The collection includes a number of rare books and early or first editions, as well as a Latin schoolbooks dating back to 1658. Tots can page through reading copies of many of the books on display and families can wander through the exhibit, guided by a cell phone audio tour. All ages.

Photograph: Gary Hodges

"From Here to There"

Feb 6–May 10

Kids will explore the science behind how things move in this hands-on educational exhibit at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. The 1,500 square foot exhibition is divided into three travel categories: land, sea and air. Youngsters can dive into a ball pit in "Earthmovers," learn what powers cars and airplanes in "Start Your Engines!" and send boats across a windy lake in "Set Sail." All ages.  


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