Free Museums for Kids in NYC to Visit
Whether kids visit a museum on a school trip or with the family it’s a memorable experience! However, it can also be expensive if you cause a lot of tickets, transportation, and parking. That’s why free admission, Pay-What-You-Wish, free days and free time are so beneficial for NYC parents. In five boroughs, including Long Island, there are many enriching museums to choose from. This list features “free” museums that kids, or the whole family, want to visit and explore!
Looking for more budget-friendly family activities? behold The 6 Best Picnic Spots for Families in NYC!
American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park W, New York, NY 10024-5102
Pay-What-You-Wish for NY, NJ, CT residents
The American Museum of Natural History is one of New York’s most renowned museums, but they have a never -ending devotion to scientific research and education. If you want to visit, then check out the Pay-What-You-Wish option. It allows up to 4 tickets, but does not include special exhibitions. However, their permanent collection is not to sigh. There is the Hall of Biodiversity, Hall of Meteorite, Hall of Asian Mammals, and more. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and time tickets are required. You can find more information about Pay-What-You-Wish HERE.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028
Pay-What-You-Wish for NY residents and students in NY, NJ, CT; Children 12 and under are free
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the main places to go to see art from around the world and 5,000 years ago. The museum encourages the study of fine art and I am sure your children will learn a lot when they visit. In addition to the Met’s extensive collection they have many exhibits open at the moment, ranging from Dutch masterpieces to afrofuturism. The Met is open Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. You can find more information about Pay-What-You-Wish HERE.
Morgan Library and Museum
225 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016
Friday 5 to 7 p.m. free; Children 12 and under are free
As most know the Morgan Library & Museum started as a private collection and grew. It remains open to the public to educate and bring attention to classical materials. Current exhibits include Gwendolyn Brooks: A Poet’s Work in Community, J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, and more. The permanent collection offers pieces from Henry David Thoreau, Mozart, and Johann Gutenberg. The library and museum are open Tuesday through Sunday. It is recommended to purchase tickets scheduled in advance. You can find more information about admission HERE.
2 E 91st St., New York NY 10128
Pay-What-You-Wish every Thursday through Monday from 5 to 6pm; Guests 18 and under are free
Cooper Hewitt is a museum dedicated to promoting design through community discussion and interaction of design, art, and science. Their current exhibitions are Design and Repair, Nature by Design and Duro Olowu Selects. They also offer many educational programs, some virtual. Just look at their calendar! Cooper Hewitt and the garden are open Thursday through Monday and time tickets are required. You can find more information about admission HERE.
The Old Stone House
336 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission is free
The Old Stone House loves to teach national and local history because it has Dutch roots and was the site of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn. They also support the community with native plant gardens, educational programs, and performances by local artists. The current exhibition, on the second floor, is Brooklyn Utopias, where local artists create an ideal venue. The Old Stone House is open Friday through Sunday for walk-ins. Only ten people can enter the house at a time. You can find more information about admission HERE.
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238
Proposed Admission for the entire collection; Children 19 years and under are free for the entire collection; The first Saturday is free
The Brooklyn Museum looks to inform and broaden the minds of its visitors, because they believe that art can make connections to the world around us. If your kids are interested in art then this museum will showcase the true power of artwork. Current exhibits include antiquities, Andy Warhol: Revelation, a Covid-19 memorial, Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Indigenous Americas and more. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and it is recommended that you reserve tickets in advance. You can find more information about admission HERE.
The Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens, NY 11004
Admission is free
The Queens County Farm Museum dates back to the 1600s and is one of the oldest undisturbed parts of the land. Historic farm buildings, greenhouses, and livestock manage the 47 acre site. If your kids are excited about animals and farm-to-table it will be a trip they won’t forget. The farm offers tours, educational programs, hayrides, and field volunteer days. The yard is open 7 days a week. You can find more information about admission HERE.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Building, Queens, NY
The Queens Museum has visual arts and education programs for New Yorkers, especially Queens residents. Some of today’s exhibitions include the work of Christine Sun Kim and Stephanie Dinkins. Their permanent collection offers a panorama of NYC and items from the World’s Fair. Your kids will definitely enjoy these eclectic movies. Don’t forget to check out the drop-in art making sessions! The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and they ask that you book tickets online. You can find more information about admission HERE.
Park the Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, NY 11106
Admission is free
Socrates Sculpture Park believes in supporting artists and the community through public art that can enhance nature and people. Visiting this park can be a fun experience where children can enjoy the time and learn about the sculpture. Current exhibitions include Steel Bodies and Subterranean Tropicalia Projects. They even offer yoga and regular meditation. The park is open 365 days a year. You can find more information about admission HERE.
Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10456
Admission is free
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is a contemporary museum of art with a focus on diversity and urban experience. Current exhibitions include work from Brooklyn -born photographer Jamel Shabazz and artist Bang Geul Han. Visiting can be a great way to open up children’s perspectives to new perspectives. The Museum also offers many virtual opportunities, such as tours and studios. Otherwise, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. You can book tickets, but walk-ins are welcome. You can find more information about admission HERE.
Van Cortlandt House Museum
West 246th St., Bronx, NY 10471
Children 12 years and under are free; Admission is $ 5 for adults, $ 3 for students and seniors
The Van Cortlandt House Museum has a long history with ties to New York. It is hosted by The National Society of Colonial Dames so you can visit and learn about life in the 1700s and 1800s. If you’re in Van Cortlandt Park for a hike or picnic it can be a fun and educational addition to your day. Visitors are kindly requested to call ahead to see if the museum is open. The museum is usually open Friday through Sunday for self-guided tours. You can find more information about admission HERE.
Staten Island Museum
1000 Richmond Terrace, Building A, Staten Island, New York 10301
The Staten Island Museum encourages education with its science, history, art, and nature-related collections. In addition to a large permanent collection, the current exhibit is Magicicada which uses the museum’s collection of cicadas. They also have an online exhibition celebrating the museum’s 140th anniversary! Making this trip with small children is perfect for a fun, well -rounded adventure. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and you have the option to purchase tickets online. You can find more information about admission HERE.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Outdoor Grounds and Gardens are free; The first Friday is free; Children 5 years and under are free
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden combines history, art, agriculture and architecture to form an enriching educational experience. It is the main campus for other museums such as The Staten Island Museum. However, for Snug Harbor especially the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and Chinese Scholar’s Garden need admission. However, there is a lot to do in the yard, such as visiting different gardens and attending weekend activities. They are open Wednesday through Sunday and you are asked to book tickets in advance. You can find more information about admission HERE.
The Heckscher Museum of Art
2 Prime Ave., Huntington, NY 11743
Children 13 and under are free
The Heckscher Museum of Art has many dedicated members who contribute and still support the museum’s art collection. The museum is heavily involved in art education for K-12. If you’re planning a fun visit, current and future exhibits include Lunar Art, art from Long Island’s top art students and contemporary Asian and Asian American art. They are open Thursday through Sunday and ask guests to book tickets on time. You can find more information about admission HERE.