Don't miss new and upcoming exhibits at the very best NYC museums for kids! There's so much to see if you know where to look, so you'll certainly want to keep checking back for the latest and greatest lineup of exhibit information. This year, you'll find "The Jim Henson Exhibition" at Museum of the Moving Image, in addition to fun seasonal picks like "Dynamic H20" and other rotating offerings. National Geographic Encounter will also open in Times Square in the fall! We can't wait.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to children's museum picks for families
Looking for even more fun beyond our top museums for kids and new children's exhibits? Be sure to browse our other favorite family attractions, kids' playgrounds and cool indoor activities for kids. While you're at it, explore our favorite outdoor activities for kids as well!
Best new museum exhibits at NYC museums for kids
The Museum of the Moving Image finally unveils its new permanent exhibition on Jim Henson’s work. Head up to the second floor to find nearly 300 items from the Henson’s career in film and television, including sketches, storyboards, scripts, photos, costumes, behind-the-scenes video footage and 47 puppets (Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo and Big Bird just to name a few). Kids can even try their hand at puppeteering on screen and designing their own puppet characters. All ages.
Ocean life and virtual reality...what's not to like? Explorers of all ages will venture through a 60,000-square-foot space—even larger than Gulliver's Gate, also new to TSQ—to enjoy virtual interaction with sea lions, rays, dolphins and see virtual humpback whales, great white sharks and Humboldt squids. You'll experience photo-real animation, huge projection screens, immersive sound and an area where guests can engage with interactive technology (photo areas, touch screens, holograms and games involving ocean conservation/research).
Travel to Hawaii through Georgia O’Keeffe’s art created during a visit to its lush landscapes in 1939. More than 15 of O’Keeffe’s paintings, which haven’t been seen together in New York since their debut in 1940, will be on display in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Art Gallery. Film screenings, lectures, readings, and an interactive guide will round out the exhibit and cultural activities—live music, hula and chant performances and artisan demonstrations—will take place on weekends throughout the garden. Kids will learn about the plants captured in O’Keeffe’s paintings, receive field notebooks to draw in as they follow a trail and create their own botanical works of art. All ages.
Learn all about NYC’s water system at Dynamic H2O, an outdoor interactive exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that follows water’s journey from the clouds to the city. Along the way tikes can pretend to fish, use a fountain to experiment with water pressure and build waterfront Lego hi-rises to add to the exhibit’s miniature replica of NYC, which includes tiny Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, of course. All ages.
Put some of the world's quirkiest myths to the test with this Mythbusters-themed exhibit! Kids will learn if you can really huff, puff and blow a house down, pull a tablecloth off a fully-set table or if your toast lands butter-side down every time. You'll experience live demos that include visitor participation, plus cool sets and props from the show. Available with Premium Pass or Combination Pass. All ages.
Explore a magical world of interactive miniatures at Times Square's newest attraction, which contains almost 50,000 square feet of the world's most magnificent landmarks. Visitors can walk by the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, Buckingham Palace—even the pyramids! Have tiny train, truck and car-lovers on your hands? Expect almost 1,000 trains, 12,000 wagons and a total of about 10,000 cars and trucks on display. The longest track is almost eight miles long! Gulliver's Gate opens for previews April 4. All ages.
Learn about pilotless aircraft in this 6,000-square-foot pavilion on the Museum's Pier 86! The exhibit covers topics such as drone history, new drone technology and the role drones play in helping to solve large-scale humanitarian challenges. You'll see drones small and large, plus things like computer renderings, model airplanes, historical artifacts and even the world's first flying dress (worn by none other than Lady Gaga). All ages.
If you’ve ever wanted to feel what it’s like to train for a professional football league, you'll definitely want to check this new NFL-themed attraction out. The NFL Experience, which will be debuting in Times Square in November, will guide visitors through an immersive journey as they train for the faux pro leagues and emerge a reigning champion. Football fans will take on various challenges to prove they can properly handle the pigskin. Test your passing skills as a quarterback and see how your speed and accuracy compares to the actual quarterback on your selected team. Photograph: Courtesy NFL Experience Want to imagine yourself suited up as a part of your favorite team’s roster? An installation will film your image and display it on a screen in front of you. Afterwards, select your team of choice to have your live image rock that team’s uniform. Now strike a pose! Photograph: Courtesy NFL Experience A digital whiteboard will grant those who live to coach from the couch a chance to prove they’ve got the know-how to win the game. Watch as the moves drawn out in X’s and O’s play out on the computerized match. If you start doubting the strategies in your playbook, don’t worry. A digital coach will chime in with tips to beat the opponent and special moves to try. Photograph: Courtesy NFL Experience The space will feature other interactive displays with multimedia touches, artifacts and a 4D cinematic experience offering up exclusive content from NFL Films.
The museum's star permanent exhibit consists of a maze of kid-sized shops, each containing a fun activity. The boutiques—a Chinese stationery store, a Mexican bakery and a West African import store, to name a few—are modeled after real Brooklyn businesses. The miniaturized community also houses an international grocery store equipped with conveyer belt–propelled wares that tykes can use to restock the shelves, and a theater where children watch recorded performances by Brooklyn dance troupes, then step onstage themselves to replicate the steps.
Learn about the Caribbean island’s diverse ecosystem through this bilingual exhibit that introduces its forests, caves, wetlands, and reefs. Live animals, specimens, artifacts, and models of animal species found only in Cuba will be on display in a variety of recreated habitats. And because Cuba is about so much more than fascinating wildlife, the exhibit also dives into the life and culture of the country. Stroll along an open boulevard that’ll plop you right in the middle of a vibrant Cuban street that’s come alive with music, dance, and performances. Learn about the spiritual teachings of Santeria and how to grow Cuba’s most important cash crop tobacco. If you were ever curious about what the island is about, then grab the family for an interactive lesson. You might just be booking a plane ticket right as soon as you arrive home. All ages.
The Met celebrates David Hockney’s 80th birthday with a retrospective on the British painter’s work from 1960 to now. The exhibit will include pieces from Hockney’s career as he’s explored perception, space and time and across various media, including painting, drawing, photography and video. All ages.
The Museum of the City of New York’s new permanent exhibition “New York at Its Core” will present the full 400-year history of the city. From its beginnings as a Dutch settlement to the urban force it is today, the exhibition will guide viewers through the evolution of one of the greatest cities in the world. The attraction features three interactive galleries based on four themes - money, density, diversity, and creativity - and more than 400 significant objects from NYC icons, including Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, “Boss” Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello LaGuardia, and Jay-Z. The museum will celebrate the opening of the exhibit with a weekend-long public festival Gotham Groove (Nov 19 10am - Nov 20 6pm) with 32 hours of live music, spoken word performances, films, dance, and interactive activities for the whole family. All ages. Advance registration required for Gotham Groove.