Sure, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the NY Hall of Science are great places for kids to run around and blow off some steam and learn a lot in the process, but if you know where to look, you can find great interactive spaces for kids right inside your favorite grown up museums.
For modern art lovers, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has an interactive space for kids called The Material Lab where little ones can create digital paintings using Microsoft program. For littler ones there are tons of wooden puzzles, books and comfy seats to lounge on. Finding the lab is tricky, you have to exit from the first floor and walk across the outdoor sculpture garden into a building that is separate from the main museum. The Lab is on the first floor, to the left when you walk in. Its open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:30 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.; on Fridays, from 10:30 a.m.to 8:00 p.m. and on the first Thursday of the month, 10:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and is free with admission. If you and your partner are out for the day, you could take turns spending time with your little one in the Lab while the other one browses the MOMA. Everyone wins!
If science is your thing, The American Museum of Natural History, or “the dinosaur museum!” as your kid probably refers to it is actually home to one the coolest hands on spots for kids in all of New York City. Hiding in plain sight on the first floor is the Discovery Room where kids can live out their paleontology fantasies by excavating dinosaur fossils and putting skeletons together. They even get their own safety goggles, tool set and a little knee pad to kneel on. In addition to the fossils, the Discovery Room has a number of terrariums filled with frogs, lizards, snakes and other creepy crawlers. There are also traditional pieces of clothing from cultures all over the world that children are allowed to touch and explore. The Discovery Room is open Mondays through Thursdays from 1:30 to 5:10pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am to 1:30pm and 2:15-5:10pm.
So put on your comfortable sneakers and go be a tourist in your own city!
Christine Concetta Gibson