Big City Family Fun

13 Museum Musts for Kids in NYC

Visit the Intrepid during your 4 day NYC itinerary, a top museums for kids in NYC.
With a retired Space Shuttle and the Concorde along with a submarine, the Intrepid offers all kinds of kid fun. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Top Museums for Kids in NYC

New York City tops my list for urban getaways for families. Whether it’s visiting as a family orwith a school trip, NYC offers tweens and teens a cultural excursion.Packed with museums and parks to explore, New York City teaches kids lots of traveling skills that are necessary before backpacking across Europe or Asia. NYC even packs in the cheap eats alongside some of the top restaurants in the world.

Intrepid Sea Land Space Museum

Pier 86 W.46th St. at 11th Avenue
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission based on age.

As one of the top museums for kids in NYC it’s a must for school-age kids. Don’t let the aircraft carrier throw you off, I found more than military aircraft.

Clamber across the deck of the USS Intrepid to see a retired Concorde, the supersonic jet. Then see one of the retired space shuttles, the Orbiter Enterprise, one of several on display across the U.S.

Tour the Natural History Museum during your 4 day NYC itinerary. A top museum for Kids in NYC.
A trip to the American Museum of Natural History will keep the kids engaged for hours. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

American Museum of Natural History

The Hayden Planetarium

Central Park West At 79th St.
Open from 10 a.m. To 5:45 p.m.
Admission based on age, separate tickets required for Planetarium. Babies under 2 free.

A must for families since it’s one of the top museums for kids in NYC, my teen daughter spent hours exploring. A sprawling museum that could take all day so hit the highlights, like “Lucy” the early human, the giant blue whale, the Hall of Dinosaurs, and the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda along with the Hall of North American Mammals.

Carve out a little time for the Hayden Planetarium to learn more about the world beyond our atmosphere.

Best Museums to Learn History

Visit the 9/11 Museum on your 4 Day NYC Itinerary. a top museum for kids in NYC.
Take a moment and remember those who lost their life on that day. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

9/11 Museum

180 Greenwich St.
Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission depending on age, Kids 6 and under free.

As a former American Airlines flight attendant that lived through that horrific day, I visit the 9/11 Memorial to remember my former colleagues. The memorial is a somber space that gives visitors a place to reflect.

Walk though the 9/11 Museum to see the artifacts from the World Trade Center and actual recording of emergency calls. Touring the museum is an emotional experience though the area around the WTC has recovered, experiencing a rebirth.

Visit Ellis Island and learn about immigration. A top museum for kids in NYC.
Learn about the immigrants that crossed an ocean to make a new home in the U.S. at the Ellis Island Museum. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Statue of Liberty

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

New York City Harbor
Hours vary by season.
No Admission to Museum though a Statue of Liberty ferry ticket is required.

As a symbol of liberty and freedom known world-wide, the Statue of Liberty sits on a 12-acre island in the middle of the New York Harbor. Learn about the construction of the statue in the museum under the statue. And it’s one of the top museums for kids in NYC.

From 1892 until 1954, Ellis Island welcomed 12 million immigrants to the United States. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum walks visitors through the facility that processed close to 5,000 people a day.

Visit the East Side Tenement Museum during your trip. A top museum for Kids in NYC.
Walk though the apartment of an immigrant family in NYC. Packed with details, tour guides tell stories of different families from different countries. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

East Side Tenement Museum National Historic Site

Visitor Center at 103 Orchard St.
Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Admission based on age.

Walk through history in a preserved tenement building on the Lower East Side. Tour the building that housed 7,000 working class immigrants from 1863 until 1935.

With specialized tours focusing on Irish immigrants, Jewish immigrants and sweatshop workers along with neighborhood tours, get an understanding of an immigrant’s life over a hundred years ago.

Visit Federal Hall during your 4 day NYC itinerary. A top museum for kids in NYC.
Next to the New York Stock Exchange is Federal Hall, a National Park Site. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Federal Hall National Monument

26 Wall Street
Open Monday Through Friday From 9 a.m. To 5 p.m.

The building served as the first Capitol of the United States, the Supreme Court and the Executive Branch offices. George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States at Federal Hall as well.

Visit the MoMA during your 4 day NYC itinerary. A top museum for kids in NYC.
Take in the art at the MoMA, like “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Museum of Modern Art MoMA

11 W. 53th St.
Open from 10:30 a.m. To 5:30 p.m.
Admission based on age, Kids Under 16 Free

If your kids have short attention spans, head straight for the Fifth Floor. That’s where I found Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Dance by Henri Matisse along with works from Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso.

Kids under 16 get in free and the MoMA hands out family guides for kids. Walk through the gift shop for unique souvenirs.

Visit The Met during your 4 day NYC itinerary. A top museum for Kids in NYC.
As the largest art museum in the U.S. The Met is a must for art lovers. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 5th Ave.
Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Admission based on age and kids 12 and under free.

As the largest art museum in the U.S. you can explore all day and still not see it all. So check out the map when you enter and concentrate on your interests.

My favorites are The Temple of Dendur, the Medieval Art for its imposing display and the American Wing. Don’t miss the extensive collection of European Masters.

Visit the Guggenheim Museum, a top museum for kids in NYC.
On the edge of Central Park, The Guggenheim Museum offers top art and architecture. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 5th Ave.
Open Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Closed Thursday.
Admission based on age, Kids Under 12 Free

I love the Guggenheim for its architecture. Originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, head to the top floor and explore the exhibits on your way down.


The Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort St.
Open Monday, Wednesdaythrough Sunday various hours. Closed on Tuesday.
Admission based on age, kids under 18 are free.

Anchoring the southern end of High Line Park, The Whitney showcases contemporary art from the 20th and 21st century with a focus on living artists.

Visit the Morgan Museum and Library, a top museum for kids in NYC.
The Morgan Museum and Library reminds me of Hogwarts. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Morgan Library and Museum

225 Madison Ave.
Open Tuesday though Sunday various hours. Closed Monday.
Admission based on age, kids under 12 are free.

My favorite space to explore is Pierpont Morgan’s three-story library, rotunda and study. The opulent interiors have to be visited to appreciate. A must for readers and even Harry Potter fans since it reminds me of Hogwarts.


New York City is a frequent cruise ship port-of-call, like Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

More Information

I recommend the following guides and maps.

Know Before You Go

  • Travel like a New Yorker and take the subway. I’ve got the directions for you. Or grab a cab or other car service.
  • Free public restrooms are hard to find. Pack hand wipes, bleach wipes and hand sanitizer to clean up. McDonald’s is reliable but be prepared to buy a dink to get the key.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and pack the FitBit to track those steps.
  • The streets of New York are safe but be aware who and what is around you at all times.

Consideration for brands mentioned. This post contains affiliate links.

Add a museum to your NYC getaway. Here's 13 of the best in New York City from top art museums like the MoMA to history museums and museums on air craft carriers. #NYC #NewYorkCity #TopMuseums Best Museums in NYC | Museum Musts in New York City | Top Art Musuems in NYC | Where to learn about immigration in New York

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