As a parent we’re always looking for (cheap) things to occupy our little ones. I have to say Museums are a boon! A children’s museum membership is one of the best investments in my opinion for children of all ages. I also recommend shopping around your surrounding museums comparing the level which includes FREE admission to 300+ science and technology museums around the world and includes all the surrounding children’s museum. I am currently a 2-year member of the Long Island Children’s Museum which gave me a discount for my daughter’s 2nd Birthday party as well as access to all our other favorite children’s museums in the area including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. When it expires I will probably get a membership at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and again redeem discounts on my future kid’s birthday party as well as still be able to access the other museums. Read the fine print and find the one that best fits your family. Most value is found for a family of 4 but expanding families can find a membership that best fits theirs. Most memberships practically pay for themselves after 2-3 visits and over the past year I’ve gone at least a dozen or more times. They make great playdate locations and are versatile enough for all seasons with tons of activities indoors in the winter and beautiful gardens and water activities for the warmer weather.
For the older set and by older I mean grade school age, museums such as the NY Hall of Science and American Museum of Natural History provide a lot of appeal. The New York Hall of Science was a favorite of mine as a kid. I believe it to be the only museum my parents ever took us to and mostly because we got free tickets. I could still probably could count all the visits on one hand. I do have fond memories of playing with the bubbles there. It has obviously under gone quite a few changes since my days, definitely expanded as I don’t remember, even in my small stature back then, it being that huge. It now boasts over 450 hands-on exhibits, a miniature golf course, “science” playground even a Pre-School place equipped with a puppet theater. Classics like the Bubble area still remain as well and I had fun introducing my little ones to my old friend. Neighboring Cit Field Stadium and Flushing Meadow Corona Park, it conveniently has its own parking lot as well as 7 train access at the 111th Street station.
I already know that the American Museum of Natural History is going to be a favorite of ours as the kids grow up. They have something for all age groups, even the adults and a trip to the city is always a treat. I recently had a chance to attend one of their most popular events, Dr. Nebula’s Laboratory. This event is perfect for the 5-10 age set. It is a one-hour interactive event staged in an auditorium with the lights on. The kids are encouraged to help Scooter. Dr. Nebula’s trusty apprentice, this time on an adventure to identify and get to know our hominid relative, Lucy. My 6 year old nephew had a blast and even got a chance to be center stage and helped Scooter one on one. Not to be left out, my precocious 2 and a half year old made sure to interject herself in all group activities and make her print on the “fossil” wall. The AMNH plays host to many events such as Dr. Nebula’s Laboratory every month and you can check out their Family & Kids calendar on their website. Coming up on May 16th is Dr. Nebula’s Laboratory : Water Works where kids can join Scooter as she follows the story of Drop to learn about the water cycle, conservation, and how to become a steward of this precious resource. You can make an entire day of it starting with a morning at Central Park and lunch at the famed Shake Shack before heading off to the laboratory.