Timeout New York Kids

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Best permanent museum exhibits for NYC kids

These awesome displays aren't coming down, so take your kids to see them again and again.

<p>Photograph: Courtesy of the Queens Museum of Art</p>

Photograph: Courtesy of the Queens Museum of Art

Fossil Halls
American Museum of Natural History
Home to one of the American Museum of Natural History's most beloved attractions—huge, reconstructed dinosaurs—the space also includes the world's largest collection of vertebrate fossils (that's nearly a million specimens). The displays are grouped by evolutionary relationships rather than by age.

"The Temple of Dendur"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tots can step right into the compact structure to eye the inscriptions on its 15 B.C. sandstone columns and walls (and the graffiti left by 19th-century European explorers). Off to one side, they ogle the majestic, 11-foot-long granite sphinx of Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt's premier female pharaoh and possibly the world's first woman head of state.

"World Brooklyn"
Brooklyn Children's Museum
In an incredible child-sized village, families can explore re-creations of real borough stores, dance on a play stage and shop at an international supermarket.

"Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece"
Children's Museum of Manhattan
CMOM devotes both its lower level and fourth floor to an impressive exhibit on Hellenic culture, with terrific interactive displays and real archaeological finds. In the exhibition's largest section, "The Odyssey: A Hero's Journey," youngsters follow a route based on that of the Homeric voyager.

"Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces"
The Jewish Museum
Youngsters learn about the tools and procedures used by archaeologists after they bring home their loot. Teaching kids why and how cultures develop, the exhibition spotlights a dig's worth of interactive elements. Tots can piece together vessels, weigh and examine replicas of artifacts, decipher the meaning of symbols in a mosaic and don a costume reminiscent of Indiana Jones's garb. Exhibit only open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun.

"Our Hudson Home"
Liberty Science Center
Prepare to get wet! Large fish tanks, hands-on dredging exhibits and container-ship simulations examine the impact of human activity on local marine life.

"New York Toy Stories"
Museum of the City of New York
The playful display features childhood artifacts dating from the past 200 years, including antique toys, teddy bears and the Stettheimer Dollhouse, all of which were once owned by real New Yorkers.

The Panorama of NYC
Queens Museum of Art
When taking in this outstanding replica of the five boroughs, the vastness of the city is what first strikes you—ironically, it's easier to wrap your brain around when viewed in miniature, laid out in a single room. Then the major landmarks catch your eye: parks, bridges, airports, lesser-known islands. The Empire State Building leads you to search out other skyscrapers, followed by less-imposing structures and architectural details. Watch your child's face closely for the inevitable moment when he realizes...your apartment must also be represented here! Now for the coup de grace: Blow his little mind by wondering out loud what's inside all these buildings.

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