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NYC museums and zoos offer free and discounted admission to students this week

Time to take advantage of the perk!

Written by
Danielle Valente

Summer vacation is practically in the rearview mirror, so now is the time for kids to soak up that last bit of freedom. 

Plus, there are a few end-of-season perks to enjoy. Some of NYC's best family attractions are offering free and discounted admission for students before the first day of school on Sept 21. Count us in!

“Arts and culture are a critical part of New York City’s social fabric, and we thank these organizations for providing our kids with safe, educational activities before schools open next week,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his Sept 14 press briefing. 

Making day trip plans? Here are the participating institutions, according to the city's website

  • American Museum of Natural History: The museum welcomes NYC schoolchildren and their caregivers back, with a hall to visit for every grade and every age. Tickets are pay what you wish for NYC residents. Reserve on their website:
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met is welcoming students and caregivers back to both their main building on Fifth Avenue, and to The Cloisters. For NYC residents, admission is pay what you wish. Closed to the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Reserve a timed ticket on their website:
  • Morgan Library and Museum: The Morgan Library & Museum is providing free tickets to school-aged kids aged 18 and younger and their caregivers on September 16, 17 and 18. Advance reservation required. Families can email with desired date and time of visit. To plan your visit go to
  • Museum of Arts and Design: Children under 18 are always free, and the museum is extending a special $5 ticket to caregivers with the promo code: NYC20. Reopening to the public September 17. Tickets may be reserved on MAD's website:
  • The Museum of Modern Art: MoMA has reserved a number of tickets for students and their caregivers this week. Interested families should email with their preferred day and time. All tickets will be free of charge. Open to Members only on Mondays. Visitors guide: (note: families should email to book tickets).
  • National September 11 Memorial Museum: The Family Pass is intended for families or small groups up to five people exploring the city together. The package includes two adult and up to three child/young adult (ages 7-17) admission tickets to The Museum at a discounted price of $82. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Book on their website:
  • New Museum: Tickets are available for the museum’s first two weeks, starting September 15. Closed Mondays. Admission is free through September 27. Book on their website:
  • South Street Seaport Museum: The Tall Ship Wavertree is open to guests on upcoming Saturdays, free of charge. Book timed tickets on their website:  
  • Staten Island Museum: The museum will reopen on Saturday, September 19, and will offer visitors take away bags with activities from the Women of the Nation Arise! suffrage exhibit. Purchase your tickets through the museum’s website:   
  • Whitney Museum of American Art: Admission is Pay What You Wish through September. The Whitney is operating at a significantly reduced capacity for your safety, and same-day tickets may be extremely limited. All visitors must book timed tickets in advance. Tickets, visitor policies, updated hours and online events are available on the Whitney's website:
  • Wildlife Conservation Society: The Wildlife Conservation Society is offering preferred admission access to WCS zoos and aquarium parents and guardians with children during the week of September 14. All tickets are date-specific and must be purchased in advance online at the individual parks’ websites – Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo. Additional community access included the traditional free Wednesday admission at the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium and those tickets are released on the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium websites on Tuesday of each week. Visit the zoo’s Know Before You Go page:

Be sure to also take advantage of this gorgeous early-fall weather with a few fun outdoor activities like playground and park visits! 

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