One of the wonderful things about raising kids in New York City is the scope of cultural activities the city offers. From art to music, they are so many options to choose from. But which ones are kid friendly? Here are what PSP members and their kids have recently enjoyed.
Chocolate Chip Chamber Music
What parents say: “plays occasionally and is geared to kids.”
The Brooklyn Philharmonic
What parents say: “Try the Brooklyn Philharmonic, or a local community orchestra concert. There are lots going on all the time. Also the free Philharmonic concerts in the parks in the summer are wonderful.”
What parents say: “Carnegie Hall have a program for kids that's unbelievably cheap - I think tickets are 9 bucks!!!
What parents say: “DiCapo has an Opera for Kids program!”
Freestyle Repertory Theatre at the Gallery Players
What parents say: "I would like to make the highest recommendation for Freestyle Repertory Theatre at the Gallery Players located at 199 14th street here in Park Slope. They do a show one Sunday a month during the year in addition to their improv work in the schools. I have no affiliation, my kids and I are just happy attendees and participants."
Jazz Standard- Jazz for Kids on Sundays
What parents say: "Jazz for Kids at the Jazz Standard is fungreat brunch, jazz, and beer at a kids' event, hallelujah."
Kaufman Music Center
What parents say: “they have lots of wonderful concerts and some are geared towards families and children. Both of my kids attended the Special Music School at the Kaufman Center and also participated in some of their productions.”
What parents say: “Also, the atrium at Lincoln Center has free Saturday morning family events like the first Sat of every month - this Sat we're seeing Harlem Gospel Choir.”
Manhattan College of Music
the Mannes School
The New York Philharmonic
What parents say: "Concerts are kid-focused and cheaper.
What parents say: "It’s a great way to allow the kids to experience productions without paying huge prices for Broadway shows."
Schimmel Center for the Arts
Tada! Youth Theatre
What parents say: "Not expensive and played by very talented kids!"
The Yacht Club
Cost: Tickets are $45 each.
Cost: free/ suggested admission
What parents say: “As for art, I know the Met has a current exhibit linked to the Percy Jackson series of books. It may just be their regular Greek exhibit, but they have connected the art to characters in the books. And they are free. Or pay what you want. Really. Don't be scared by their "suggested admission" sign -- just pay what you want! That goes for the Cloisters, which I love, too.”
“We went to see Matisse at the Met and it was great for kids. Some naked boobies and the like, just as an FYI. The interesting thing for kids w/ Matisse is that he often re-did his paintings. So there are several versions and you can point out the differences between them. My son really got into that. Then we went to see the armor and swords and of course my 7 yo loved that! I enjoyed it too.”
“I also find that kids of all ages seem to really enjoy the Ancient Egypt section of the Met.”
6 yo approved! "I'll add another vote for the Met. The Egyptian collection is really extensive and full of cool mummies, pharaohs, statues, jewelry etc. I've taken elementary school groups there for tours and that is often their favorite section of the museum. Plus the Met is "pay what you wish" so the museum can be pretty economical, depending on what you wish to contribute."
6 yo approved! "There's a "kids part" and so many big rooms and weird things to look at. Same with the Met -- armor and instruments and the Temple of Dendur. My daughter's three and we take her to museums all the time (which is how I was raised too). My artist mom used to bring a sketchbook for each of us to draw paintings or sculptures. At the Met's family entrance, they have packets of stuff for kids to do and look for, like a scavenger hunt. Have fun!"
"The Met has really good family art tours called art treks. we did one with my 5YO in June. she was really engaged and actually so was i! The Met also has great playgrounds right nearby in central park. so you can see the museum, go out and run around, eat something and maybe (maybe) go in and see a little more."
6 yo approved! "Our daughter loves exploring The Met (FYI the $25 donation is only a suggested amount, if you can't afford it you can give what you can and still come in)."
"We recently took our boys (5 and 6) to the Met. They were really into Armor and ancient Egypt. Tickets have a suggested donation price. We paid less because we knew we would not last that long!"
6 yo approved: "My son (almost 6) really loves the Met - he especially likes the knights and armor section, and the weapons (sigh), as well as the Ancient Egypt and Japanese areas. Also, in general, I've found that he is much more interested in museums when I give him a camera to find interesting things to take pictures of by himself (I have an old digital camera that I'm comfortable with him using independently). And, for warmer days, the Met is right next to a really cool playground!"
Brooklyn Children's Museum
What parents say: 6 yo approved! "At that age my daughter loved the Brooklyn Children's Museum."
What parents say: 6 yo approved! "She also enjoys going to MOMA."
"MOMA is great for kids. There's a "kids part" and so many big rooms and weird things to look at."
What parents say: 6 yo approved! "My 5 year old son (as well as my 9 year old) LOVE Momath (http://momath.org). It’s super interactive. Depending on the exhibits (which you can check online) he also usually digs what’s going on at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Guggenheim ( and the museum itself is super cool for him)."
What parents say: “the Whitney has neat kids' programs. We were there this weekend for a program for 4- to 5-year-olds involving the American Legends show. They made a Calder wire head sculpture out of pipe cleaners, ha! Ten bucks for the whole family, and you get to stay after to tour the galleries on your own.”
“I know that some of the museums have programs specifically for kids (usually on weekends), like Whitney.”
What parents say: The Brooklyn main library has interesting free concerts on the weekends.
Liberty Science Center (in Jersey City)
What parents say: 6 yo approved! "Liberty science center. Join and it becomes affordable for a year."
"not sure how far you want to go but I would say hands down Liberty Science Center in Jersey City."
The Children’s Museum of Arts
What parents say: “If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to check out the Children's Museum of Arts in Manhattan. They recently reopened in a beautiful new space. It's full of age appropriate exhibits and lots of hands on experiences for kids. Check out their calendar too. It seems like they always have some kind of wonderful workshop or special event happening!”
92nd street Y
What parents say: “the 92nd street Y has concerts for kids sometimes - usually with cellist Stephen Isserlis, violinist Joshua Bell, pianist Jeremy Denk and others.”
Merkin Concert Hall
What parents say: “There's also a terrific series of concerts at Merkin Concert Hall given by Bruce Adolphe who is an absolutely brilliant composer and pianist. He's hilarious, and his concerts usually have some sort of theme that sometimes allow him to dress up as Mozart or other characters like "Inspector Pulse". (By the way, if you ever listen to WQXR, he's the "Piano Puzzler" guy.) And of course, the Young People's Concerts at the NY Philharmonic. Pricier, but really wonderful stuff - I went to Young People's Concerts when my parents used to take me... when Leonard Bernstein was conducting them!!!!!
“I'd also recommend taking a trip out to Long Island City to visit the Noguchi Museum if you think your son would be into it. The space itself is very inspiring and peaceful.”
Queens Museum of Art
What parents say: “Your son might be fascinated by the big panorama of NYC at the Queens Museum of Art.”
The Morgan Library
What parents say: “Also, the Morgan Library/Museum has a Drawing Surrealismexhibit that looks pretty interesting:
What parents say: “I know that some of the museums have programs specifically for kids (usually on weekends), like the Brooklyn Museum.
The Transit Museum
What parents say: "My son loves the transit museum."
6 yo approved! "Not sure if this is what you were thinking or if you you've been, but I went to the Transit Museum (in downtown Brooklyn near Borough Hall stop) recently with my 2 year old son and my 6 year old nephew. Both boys loved it and I thought it was pretty interesting myself, having not been before. Best part is all the way downstairs, an exhibit of subway cars from different eras. It is not too big and not terribly expensive, so might be a good start!"
New York Hall of Science
What parents say: "Don't forget the New York Hall of Science in Queens! 7 train or car will get you there."
"The Hall of Science was always a favorite-- lots of gizmos to play with, though the truth is i doubt my kinds learned much about science there. But there are shells of actual rockets and a capsule that actually did fly into space, which might be exciting to a child of a certain frame of mind."
Dia Art's Earthroom
What parents say: 6 yo approved! "They never tire of the odd earth room in Soho. It literally takes 3 minutes (including the walk up the flight of stairs to see this exhibit. It’s free and I have fun memories of going there once as a child and tossing around the notion of Is this art? What is Art? for the first time! If he’s never been tell him it’s exhibit that’s been around for many many years (since 1977) and then ask him what he thinks an exhibit called the earth room would be. He’ll probably have tons of questions about it when he sees it. I always do…and chatting with the one person who oversees the exhibit and asking questions is always fun."
Natural History Museum
What parents say: 6 yo approved! "Museum of Natural History is always a winner."
"You should consider the Museum of Natural History with its dinosaur skeletons and gem collection."
The Subway, Times Square and more
And don't forget all the wonderful street musicians you hear in the subways. Last night my son and I stopped short when we came across three stellar opera singers right in the Times Square subway station. It made us late, but we didn't care!
"We take him [our 5 yo] to all the museums with us and even if he’s not crazy about a particular exhibit or museum he tends to find some stuff that is interesting (Whitney, MOMA, The New Museum)."
"Kids like art if you make it interactive and fun. I Iet my daughter wander toward what attracts her rather than trying to show her stuff and I ask her things like how do you think the person (in the painting or sculpture) is feeling, what do you think is happening the painting. how does it make you feel? To help her understand what she's looking at. I try to find the Target free days or museums that are donation rather than admission because you won't spend 2 hours at the museum. you'll spend 30 minutes to an hour. Sometimes kids like very straightforward things that they can look at and understand (degas' dancers). But sometimes my daughter really gets a kick out of modern art like picasso or Warhol."if you have a Bank of America account, they have a program called Museums on Us that gives you free admission on the first weekend if every month.
"One problem with museums is that what is interesting for 20 minutes can become boring and overwhelming after 1 hour. I can only take so much of a museum myself, forget about young children. This is ameliorated by the fact that admission prices for some museums are actually suggested contributions. They would be top of my list because you can take your children for a brief visit without paying a fortune. Just tell the person at the admission desk, EG "I'd like to pay $15 for the 3 of us".