When school lets out for the midwinter break, the learning doesn’t have to let out with it. Visiting a museum with your children affords them opportunity to discover new information and ideas in a fun and engaging way. Although children have different interests and hobbies, from young science enthusiasts to early sports fans, there’s a museum to pique the curiosity of every child. Pick your child’s favorite or try something new to spark fresh interest. Here are some museum day trip ideas for families with curious youngsters.
NY Transit Museum — Located in a decommissioned Court Street subway station in downtown Brooklyn, this museum boasts an impressive collection of vintage subway cars and retired buses, as well as other bridge, tunnel, and railway artifacts and memorabilia. Any child with an appreciation (or more likely, a fascination) for trains and other forms of transportation will delight in this ride through the history –and future – of New York’s mass transit system.
www.nytransitmuseum.org • Located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn
NYC Fire Museum — The fire house-turned-museum aims to collect, preserve, and present the history and cultural heritage of the fire service of New York and to provide fire prevention and safety education to the public, especially to children. From a horse-drawn ladder wagon and early rescue gear to modern day tools and equipment, museum-goers get a sense of what firefighting was like at different time periods throughout city history. There’s also a special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who were lost on 9/11, featuring a number of firefighting artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site.
www.nycfiremuseum.org • Located at 278 Spring Street, Manhattan.
Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum — The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum lets visitors climb aboard the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, see the space shuttle Enterprise, as well as the world’s fastest jets and a guided missile submarine. Kids will especially love the interactive Exploreum exhibit, where they can climb in an actual Bell 47 helicopter, navigate through a submarine and steer the wings of an airplane. There’s also a 22-foot, 550-pound model of Intrepid crafted from over 250,000 LEGO bricks!
www.intrepidmuseum.org • Located at Pier 86, W 46th St & 12th Ave, Manhattan.
Museum of the Moving Image — Museum of the Moving Image helps visitors understand and appreciate the art, history, technique, and technology behind film, television, and digital media. Families will enjoy exploring the Museum’s hands-on core exhibition Behind the Screen, which features over 1,400 artifacts, from mind-bending optical toys to a real Yoda from the Star Wars films, as well as various interactive experiences in which families can make stop-motion animations, add sound effects and music to famous movie scenes, and star in a personalized flipbook of their own.
www.movingimage.us • Located at 36-01 35 Ave, Queens
Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center — Young baseball fans will find the Yogi Berra Museum both entertaining and inspirational as they tour the life and career of one of the most beloved sports figures of all time. The Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center strives to remind young people that they can be anything they want to be.
www.yogiberramuseum.org • Located on the campus of Montclair State University at 8 Yogi Berra Drive, Little Falls, NJ
The Children’s Museum of the Arts – CMA combines contemporary art exhibitions and hands-on art-making studios for children ages 10 months to 15 years, offering different workshops every day for guests. The popular Clay Bar lets artists mold their favorite creatures out of modeling clay; kids can record a song, speech, or score a soundtrack in our Sound Booth on Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday; the Fine Arts Studio is open for families to paint, draw, sculpt, or sew an original masterpiece. Kids under five can explore creative materials in the WEE Arts early childhood studio.
www.cmany.org • Located at 103 Charlton Street, Manhattan.
Insectropolis – View thousands of beautiful and bizarre exotic insects from all over the world at this bug enthusiast’s utopia. Touch a live tarantula, scorpion, millipede, and a hissing cockroach before you leave, crawl through a mudtube like a termite, and explore the world of insects up close. The museum isn’t huge, but worth the trip for any budding entomologist.
www.insectropolis.com • Located at 1761 U.S. 9, Toms River, NJ.
Dimenna Children’s Museum - This children’s wing of the New York Historical Society makes history fun for kids. Targeted toward children ages 8–13, the museum focuses on the life stories of a diverse selection of youngsters who lived in New York City from the late seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. Each character has its own pavilion within the museum combining objects, games, and information that help tell the story of each person’s childhood and adulthood. Another exhibit allows families to choose a borough and peer through an engaging viewfinder to see then-and-now photographs of selected locations in New York City.
www.nyhistory.org/childrens-museum • Located at 170 Central Park West, Manhattan.
New York Hall of Science – NYSCI boasts over 450 interactive displays that explain science, technology, engineering, and math (popularly known as STEM) to young audiences. Kids learn through hands-on displays and demonstrations. The 60,000 square-foot outdoor Science Playground and Rocket Park lets visitors get an up-close view at vintage Atlas and Titan rockets, and experience a nine-hole miniature golf course that shows how mini-golf really is rocket science. There’s also a special section designated for the preschool crowd.
www.nysci.org • Located at 47-01 111th St., Queens.
The National Museum of Mathematics - Arguably one of the most useful subjects a child learns in school is math. The National Museum of Mathematics, or MoMath, features exciting, interactive displays and exhibits that provide a place for children and adults of all ages to experience the excitement of math — with a special emphasis on activities for 4th through 8th graders. Ride a bike on square wheels or form your own unique geometric creation; stop by on Family Friday for a workshop that brings families together through engaging mathematical activities. Momath opened its doors just five years ago and is currently North America’s only museum devoted to the wonders of mathematics.
www.momath.org • Located at 11 east 26th Street in Manhattan.