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New and upcoming exhibits at NYC museums for kids

Keep these new and upcoming kid-friendly exhibits at NYC museums in your back pocket for a cultural afternoon or 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—these exhibits make the perfect indoor activities for kids. If you time it right, you can even get in at no cost on free museum days throughout the city! Click through the slideshow to see 'em all.

RECOMMENDED: More NYC museums for families

Photograph: Murray Close

"The Hunger Games: The Exhibition"

July 1, 2015–Jan 3, 2016 at Discovery Times Square

The odds are definitely in your favor at this super–interactive, totally immersive exhibit insipired by The Hunger Games. Kids will learn about science, technology and problem–solving as they follow Katniss Everdeen's inspiring and action–packed journey through seven different galleries, including Tribute Train, District 12 and The Capitol. Super fans will flip for the authentic costumes and artifacts from the films on display, as well as the interactive map of Panem and stunt choreography feature. Tickets go on sale April 21; prereregistration is recommended. Ages 6 and up.

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Discovery Times Square, Midtown West Until Sunday January 3 2016
Photograph: Steven H Crossot/The Morgan Library & Museum

"Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland"

June 26–Oct 11 at The Morgan Library & Museum

After a century and a half, the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland manuscript has made its way from the British Library in London to NYC, where it sits surrounded by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs and other mementos from the story’s early days. Fans will adore seeing  Sir John Tenniel’s colorful pen-and-ink illustrations, Carroll’s personal puppet theater and the desk used by Alice Liddell (the story’s namesake), which holds a letter she wrote to her father when she was 10. In the gallery, catch screenings of the first Alice film adaptation (from 1903) and hang out in reading areas to page through copies of the manuscript. Ages 4 and up.

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The Morgan Library & Museum, Murray Hill Until Sunday October 11 2015
John Taylor

"Inspired by Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot"

Now through July 19 at Asia Society

Several New York City public-school students explored an exhibition devoted to the late Korean artist Nam June Paik that included such unique works as a life-size robot made from old-school TV sets to portray the evolution of robotics. Now the pupils become the artists, displaying their response to the exhibit through work of their own. Four schools collaborated on original pieces, which include an interactive origami-teaching robot and child-sized robot suits (worn by the students and shown in a video) and a robot family comprising a mom, dad, baby, butler and dog. All ages.

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Photograph courtesy CMOM


Now through Dec 31 at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

Frolic!, a family-favorite play space in Williamsburg, brings a rock & roll–themed pop-up playspace to CMOM, inviting youngsters to enjoy hands-on musical exploration in the 1,500-square-foot space. Climb inside a paint-splattered replica of a 70s Volkswagen minivan, slip down the Rolling Stones–inspired tongue slide and play with an interactive video music wall. Daily programs and storytimes combining music, language and movement games will get them singing and dancing. Don't miss live performances on select Saturdays (11am and noon), featuring professional and student musiciansAges 5 and under. 

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Children's Museum of Manhattan, Upper West Side Until Thursday December 31 2015

"Pattern Wizardry"

Now through September 6 at the Brooklyn Children's Museum

Kids become "apprentice wizards" for a day when they visit this hands-on exhibit at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. They'll explore repetition in patterns, use special wands to play rhythmic beats, walk inside a 360-degree mirror and create electronic patterns using virtual borders, quilts and kaleidoscopes. All ages.

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Crown Heights Until Sunday September 6 2015

"Far, Far Away..."

Now through Sept 16 at the Children's Museum of the Arts

Arty kids can let their imaginations run wild while browsing this otherworldly exhibition of creative artworks that evoke dreamed-up realities. Striking visual elements such as bright colors, stunning landscapes, and outdoor materials like tree stumps bring viewers into worlds of fantasy and illusion. Kids will see a series of lighthouses from Meghan Boody, fairy-tale landscapes from Julie Heffernan and other works that address transitioning from childhood to adulthood, changing identities and venturing into the unknown. Pop into hands-on gallery workshops to explore some of the techniques used in the exhibit, including positive-negative cutouts, symbolic drawings and magazine collages. Ages 5 and up.

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Children's Museum of the Arts, Downtown Wednesday September 2 2015 - Sunday September 6 2015
© 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

"A Year With Children"

Now through June 17 at the Guggenheim Museum

Close to 100 imaginative, carefully crafted works of art make up this exhibition, all created by kids at 10 NYC public schools as part of the Guggenheim's Learning Through Art program. Mini museumgoers will no doubt be inspired by the work—photographs, drawings, painting, sculpture and site-specific installations—their peers in grades 2–6 have executed. This year's program surrounded themes of culture, identity, nature, space and the passage of time. On Sundays, stick around for drop-in projects from 1–4pm with museum educators (ages 3–10). All ages.

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"City Splash"

Now through Sept 27 at the Children's Museum of Manhattan

Embrace the warmth at this splashable outdoor play center. Hands-on learning stations let tykes play with floating objects, tinker with an Erosion Table, race boats down a 16-foot zigzagging stream, try out "evaporation painting" and operate waterwheels.

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Children's Museum of Manhattan, Upper West Side Until Sunday September 27 2015
© AMNH/D. Finnin

"Life at the Limits: Stories of Amazing Species"

Critics' pick

Now through Jan 3, 2016 at the American Museum of Natural History

Prepare to be amazed by the sophisticated strategies and unique adaptations animals and plants use to survive, from elephant seals that can hold their breath for two hours to beetles that defend themselves by shooting explosive chemicals at their enemies. This educational and engaging gallery includes both live animals and models, as well as videos and interactive features. All ages.

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American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side Until Sunday January 3 2016

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

Now through Aug 9 at the American Museum of Natural History

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.

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Until Sun Aug 9
Photograph courtesy National Museum of Mathematics

Robot Swarm

Now through Dec 14 at the Museum of Mathematics

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.

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Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), Midtown Until Monday December 14 2015