New York’s oldest museum was one of America’s first cultural and educational institutions. Today the New-York Historical Society has an interactive children’s museum and library, one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and materials documenting both the history of the United States and New York. Located across the street from beautiful Central Park, it’s a wonderful Day Trip destination for families with elementary aged kids and older.
Before You Get There
Check with your local library to see if it participates in the Museum Pass Program. I reserved a pass online, picked it up the day before our trip, and received free admission for my family of four — that’s a $52 savings!
If you do have to purchase tickets, order them online before leaving home to avoid lines.
New-York Historical Society With Kids
The DiMenna Children’s History Museum, located on the lower level, presents 350 years of New York and American history with interactive installations targeted to kids ages 8-13 and a wide range of family learning programs.
You can explore the character-based pavilions for historic figures such as Alexander Hamilton (if you can’t score tickets to the show, at least you have this!), New York Newsies (also a musical, although not as popular as Hamilton), James McCune Smith, and many more. Families can play along with interactive exhibits and digital games, and sit and read one of the many books in the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library.
The museum also offers various family programs, such as weekly Sunday Story Hour, Family Learning Labs, Scavenger Hunts, and meet and greets with some of our nation’s historic figures — we talked with our fellow NJ native Thomas Edison at our visit.
Kid Pleasing Exhibits On View Now
The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems
Fans of author / illustrator Mo Willems and his beloved Trixie and Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, and Elephant & Piggie will want to see this fun exhibit before it closes on September 25, 2016.
Kids can check out Willems’ original art, sketches, and inspirational drawings (did you know that Knuffle Bunny was originally going to be a bear?); hop on the bus that Pigeon should NOT be driving;browse through Willems’ collection of books; and grab an audio player to learn all about Willems’ career.
And of course, there’s a cute shop at the end selling adorable stuffed animals (my daughter just had to have her own Ducking), t-shirts, books, and other cute items for Willems fans of all ages. Before you leave, you can also sketch your own character on a large paper covered easel.
There are special programs scheduled throughout the run of the exhibit, such as readings, character meet and greets, a family weekend, and a very special visit by Willems and his daughter Trixie (who is now 14!) for a film screening of a movie made by Trixie on her dad’s career. Check here for all the upcoming events.
Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York
The kids loved this exhibit which shows innovations key to computer development. The rotary phones, typewriters, and real-life Space Invaders arcade game were a real hit.
Hours: Tue–Thu, Sat 10 am – 6 pm / Fri 10 am–8 pm / Sun 11 am – 5 pm
- 203 W 77th Street, (212) 362-2308
- 207 W 76th Street, (212) 496-8553
- 201 W 75th Street, (212) 874-0581
Where to Eat
- Located on the first floor at the New-York Historical Society, Caffѐ Storico offers antipasti, pasta, panini at lunch and brunch and entrees for dinner. You don’t need museum admission to eat at this upscale Italian restaurant, however you do need a reservation.
- You can’t go wrong with Shake Shack and there’s one a few blocks away at 366 Columbus Avenue.
- Gray’s Papaya (2090 Broadway at 72nd Street) offers a classic New York City hot dog.