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Summer 2013: New exhibitions for families at NYC museums

When it rains it pours—at least it does at NYC museums. A wealth of fun new exhibitions have hit town, with dinos, unicorns and yes, even rain to explore.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Rain Room by rAndom International at the Museum of Modern Art

  • Photograph: Luciana Golcman

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Dino Safari at the Bronx Zoo

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors" at AMNH

  • Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    The Unicorn in Captivity South Netherlandish, ca. 1495–1505 Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts 368 x 251.5 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)

  • Courtesy Odyssey Marine Exploration

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Odyssey's "Shipwreck!: Pirates and Treasure" at Discovery Times Square

  • Courtesy MoMA

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    "Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store" at the Museum of Modern Art

  • Photograph: Fiora Watts

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    "A Year with Children 2013" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  • Image: Sabrina Brady

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Doodle 4 Google 2013 prize winner: Coming Home by Sabrina Brady

  • Courtesy Liberty Science Center

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    "Block Party" at Liberty Science Center

  • Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    "Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body" at Liberty Science Center

  • Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya

  • Red Grooms

    Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Rockefeller Center (1995. Mixed media: painted wood, plastic, foam, toy trees and shrubbery in a Plexiglas case with electrical components. 60 x 56 1/2  x 28 1/2 in. On loan from Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

  • Courtesy MoMA PS1

    New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

    Rendering of Party Wall by CODA, PS1's summer 2013 courtyard installation

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Summer 2013: New family-friendly exhibitions at NYC museums

Rain Room by rAndom International at the Museum of Modern Art

Summer 2013 is nearly upon us, and we're reeling from all the family-friendly new exhibitions that have opened in the past few weeks—or are poised to open in June—at NYC museums. From the Cloisters' 75th anniversary show on unicorns and MoMA's Rain Room to AMNH's "Frogs" and Discovery Times Square's show on Nathan Sawaya's artful Lego creations, there's something for everyone. True, we can't get enough of the city's best playgrounds, summer movie hits, and outdoor fairs and festivals, but summer shows at NYC museums rock too: They're usually air-conditioned, they're often free for kids, and you get to learn and see something new. Plus, you'll prevent your kids from succombing to that most dreaded of summer afflictions: learning lag. Happy museumgoing—and happy (almost) summer!

New exhibitions for summer 2013

Rain Room

Part of PS1 MoMA's new, environmentally focused show "Expo 1,"  Rain Room by rAndom International, which opened at MoMA on Friday, May 10, is bound to make a splash with kids. The immersive, interactive installation allows viewers to walk right into the rain—after a wait; be prepared to stand in line—which ends up stopping right over your head, even as you walk through it. The effect: You get to enjoy everything you love about rain without actually getting wet. Click through our slide show, above, for a peek at the inventively poetic work. All ages.

"Dinosaur Safari"

  • Price band: 2/4

Just in time for summer zoo visits, the Bronx Zoo debuts Dinosaur Safari, a guided wagon tour past life-like, animatronic dinosaur species—from the vegetarian, long-necked Brachiosaurus and imposing Tricerotops to the iconically scary Tyrannosaurus Rex—that illuminates the phenomenon of adaptation. Accompanying the exhibit is a new theatrical show, Adaptations! A Dinosaur Musical, which debuts on opening weekend at the Asia Theater (May 25–27 at 12:30, 1:15, 2:30, 3:30pm); various meet-and-greets throughout the summer (including Ice Age's costumed characters Sid and Scrat May 25–26 at 1, 2:30, 3:30pm); fossil impressions, Ice Age crafts or dinosaur-themed projects; and "Dinosaurs Rock," an exhibit of life-size dinosaur artifacts and fossils at Grizzly Corner (July 27–Aug 11 11am–4pm), with special presentations on weekends (Sat, Sun 1, 2,:30, 3:30pm). All ages.

  1. Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society 2300 Southern Blvd, at Fordham Rd, 10460
  2. Until Sun Nov 2
More info

"Frogs: A Chorus of Colors"

  • Price band: 2/4

Re-created habitats contain more than 200 live frogs from such diverse locales as Bolivia, Vietnam, Mexico and Russia. Amphibian fans can search for diverse species like the the golden mantella frog, which is less than an inch long, learn about frogs' evolution and biology, and get hands-on at interactive education stations. All ages.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Sun Jan 5
More info

"Search for the Unicorn"

To celebrate the 75 years since the museum's founding, the Cloisters presents an exhibition based on one of its most famous collections: the Unicorn Tapestries, seven individual wall hangings that depict a hunt for a magical unicorn. The tapestries will be the centerpiece of a larger exhibition featuring diverse media from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance related to the magical and little-understood creatures. During the opening weeks, several of the plants depicted in the tapestries will be featured in the museum's Bonnefont garden. All ages.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Sun Aug 18
More info

"Shipwreck: Pirates & Treasures"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This pirate-themed show presents more than 500 artifacts found by deep-ocean expeditions the world over—from ancient bottles to stashes of silver—and gives kids the chance to explore virtual shipwrecks with various interactive exhibits. A highlight of the exhibition is the shipwreck of the Civil War–era SS Republic, found by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (the show's producer), in 2003; it conveys much of what daily life was like back in the late 1800s. Ages 4 and up.

  1. Discovery Times Square 226 W 44th St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Until Sun Jan 5
Buy tickets

"Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store"

Introduce the next generation of art-loving kids to the work of a modern master by checking out the new Claes Oldenburg show. Though the Swedish-born artist is best known for his giant public installations, this exhibition, located on the sixth floor, showcases two of his earliest series: The Street, an installation inspired by New York City street life that was first shown at Greenwich Village's Judson Memorial Church in 1960, and The Store, a collection of commercial wares, including such comestibles as sandwiches and hamburgers, that the artist worked on between 1961 and 1964. All ages.

"A Year with Children 2013"

  • Price band: 1/4

Close to 100 imaginative, carefully crafted works of art make up this exhibition, all created by kids at 11 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 have executed. All ages.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St, 10128
  2. Until Wed Jun 17
More info

"Doodle 4 Google"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The annual nationwide contests asks students (grades K-12) to submit their own version of the Google logo based on the 2013 theme: "My Best Day Ever." In addition to seeing the winning design on the Google homepage for 24 hours on May 23, the top submissions from each of the 50 states, judged on such criteria as artistic merit, creativity and ability to communicate, are on view at AMNH through July 14. This year's winner: Sabrina Brady from Wisconsin. All ages.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Sun Jul 14
More info

"Block Party"

  • Price band: 2/4

Foam, cardboard and wooden blocks make up this enormous interactive exhibit in which kids of different ages act as imagination engineers. At the Building Blocks station, the littlest kids can play with wooden columns, arches, mini vehicles and human figures to create their own world, while their older siblings can build life-size foam houses, dinosaurs, moats and robots at Imagination Playground or hitch together notched wooden shapes—fabricating the likes of animals, forts or furniture—in the Thinker Linkers area. Finally, at Creative Cardboard, youngsters of all ages put together cardboard boxes and tubes to design anything from space stations to skyscrapers. Ages 2 to 12.

  1. Liberty Science Center 222 Jersey City Blvd, between Philip and Wilson Sts
  2. Tue Sep 10 - Sun Sep 15
More info

"Inside Out/Outside In"

  • Price band: 2/4

This fifth annual exhibition celebrates artwork created by NYC students and teaching artists. Various techniques and materials are on display in the works, which include paintings, drawings, sculptures and stop-motion animation. Stop in during regular museum hours to visit the showcase or attend the opening reception (Thu June 13 4–6pm) during CMA's "pay as you wish" hours. All ages.

  1. Children's Museum of the Arts 103 Charlton St, between Greenwich and Hudson Sts, 10014
  2. Until Sun Jul 21
More info

"Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body"

  • Price band: 1/4

Based on the best-selling book, this summertime exhibition answers the questions that only kids could come up with. What's lodged in blisters and zits? What causes gas? Using animatronic exhibits peppered with interactive games, kids can explore all the disgusting details to their hearts' delight. All ages.

  1. Liberty Science Center 222 Jersey City Blvd, between Philip and Wilson Sts
  2. Until Mon Sep 2
More info

"The Art of the Brick"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This exhibition showcases the work of artist Nathan Sawaya, whose intricate sculptures are made entirely of Lego bricks. From swimmers in the water to detailed skulls, the works are imaginative, curious and sometimes funny, and are bound to appeal to kids on multiple levels. All ages.

  1. Discovery Times Square 226 W 44th St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Until Sun May 11
More info

"Red Grooms' New York City"

  • Price band: 1/4

Each of the eight pieces in this show of work by Red Grooms portrays Grooms's design techniques, from mixed media to paint. Among the highlights is the 3-D piece Rockefeller Center, which pulsates with that famous corner's energy. Workshops inspired by the show, such as Pop-Art Construction (3-D model making), Get Groomed! (creating a Groomsesque "Sculpto-Pictorama") and Double Decker New York: Above and Below (building a two-tiered NYC sculpture). Kids can also contribute to an ongoing, NYC-themed mixed-media installation. All ages.

  1. Children's Museum of Manhattan 212 W 83rd St, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway, 10024
  2. Wed Apr 30
More info

Party Wall

  • Price band: 1/4

The winning project of MoMA's prestigious Young Architects Program must provide three things for visitors to PS 1's outdoor courtyard: shade, seating and water. For its 14th year, the museum has selected an installation by CODA (Caroline O'Donnell of Ithaca, New York) as its temporary urban landscape, on view in the courtyard throughout the summer. The enormous steel frame, balanced with recycled wood from old skateboards and fabric containers full of water—which is projected into a fountain below and produces a luminous effect at night—will serve as a backdrop for the outpost's summer events, like the Warm Up concert series and other lectures, performances and film screenings. All ages.

  1. MoMA PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave, at 46th Ave
  2. Sat Aug 31
More info


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