Check out these museum exhibits at NYC museums—they're new, they're awesome, and they're worth the trip! Your children will love checking out museum exhibits related to play (like at the Children's Museum of Manhattan), history (like at the American Museum of Natural History) and even religious and cultural life through spots like the Jewish Museum and Museum of Chinese in America.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to children's museum picks for families
The best new museum exhibits at NYC museums
Celebrate President's Day for kids with the New-York Historical Society's President-themed events. Get in on the Presidential Scavenger Hunt daily, where you'll search for both objects and images relating to presidential history inside the museum. There are also presidential crafts to try (1–3pm), during which kids will make portraits and a parade bunting to take home. Don't forget to check out "We the People," NYHS's ongoing exhibit! All ages.
Starting on weekend days in February, children will be able to participate in hands-on Wilderness Skills Workshops as part of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Wilderness Camp exhibit. Learn all about tying things together as a “camp ranger” shows attendees how to tie five different kinds of knots (February 4 and 5); a tie-dying workshop shows children how to play with natural dyes made from foods and plants (February 11 and 12); artist Tattfoo Tan offers up a taste of dehydrated treats from the museum’s new mobile kitchen Charlie Cart (February 18 and 19); and you’ll never lose your way again after checking out the DIY compass workshop (February 25 and 26). Workshops are open-ended and no registration is required. At the end of each workshop, a Brooklyn Children’s Museum educator will guide attendees through a tour of Wilderness Camp. All ages.
The sooner kids learn about making healthy choices the more likely they are to stick with it as they grow up - so why not make it a fun journey? Healthyville is a mini version of the Museum of Chinese in America’s touring exhibit of the same name. More than 15 hands-on health and wellness activities will offer children play-based lessons in nutrition, safety, fitness, and hygiene. See how exercise affects the heart with an pulse meter; learn about food groups while shopping for food at the Good Foods Market; take part in physical activities while using an interactive scale; and brush and floss a giant mouth to learn about the importance of taking care of those pearly whites. Fun workshops and bilingual learning programs will complement the exhibit. Ages 5-10.
From the donations of many visitors' used shoelaces comes "We the People," an art installation by Nari Ward. From Feb 20–24, you can see the sculpture as it gets installed, and from February 20–26 you can post a sticky note on the museum's preamble wall to share how the words "We the People" make you feel. All ages.
Looking for a fun and educational projects to keep your child’s interest while they’re off school this winter? Prospect Park has you covered with its family-friendly Wild in Winter programs. Go on a nature exploration to find and seek birds and other nameless on the Prospect Park trails (12pm-3pm). Ready-to-go Discovery Packs filled with nature activities for families will be on hand and blossoming birdwatchers can learn how to use binoculars and field guides to identify birds and make their own naturalist button (1pm). And help the park’s cause by joining the Alliance Naturalists for the Great Backyard Bird Count (3pm). You’ll help the organization keep track of the health of the area birds and how to protect them. If you need a place to warm up from the cold, head to Lefferts Historic House for toys and games (1pm-3pm, $3 suggested donation). All ages.
The exhibit showcases the works of renowned artist LeRoy Neiman and “The Greatest” boxer Muhammad Ali. The program will feature Neiman’s watercolors and sketches of Ali in and out of the ring, including Ali’s important matches “Fight of the Century” and “Thrilla in Manila” Not only did both figures enjoy the art of boxing, but Neiman taught Ali how to do draw and Ali’s own creations will be on display as well. All ages.
Join China Institute for their special Saturday art programs for children. Experienced language teachers will first give a tour of the institute’s exhibition “Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd to 6th Centuries” before guiding kids through various creative projects. The group will have fun while learning about ancient Chinese art and history through hands-on projects, including sculpting, brush painting, and making rubbings. Ages 5 and up.
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. Outside the vivarium, youngsters can read up on the life cycle of butterflies, how to protect their habitats and what kinds of adaptations certain species have. All ages.
The American Museum of Natural History opens a new film exploring the inhabitants of the Arctic. Through stunning footage and stories from scientists and Inuit leaders, kids can learn all about how humans, polar bears, penguins, huskies and whales have adapted to life on—and under—the ice. All ages.
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 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.