Hudson River Museum: Discover a Planetarium, a Historic House and Beautiful Views in Yonkers
Although New York City is filled with fantastic family-friendly museums that we all know and frequent, we enjoy visiting off the beaten path destinations with kids. That's why we want to put the Hudson River Museum on your radar.
Located in Yonkers in lower Westchester County, this gem of a museum features a historic 19th-century mansion, art galleries, spectacular views of its namesake and, most exciting for children, a planetarium. The Hudson River Museum is just a short Metro-North train ride away and offers family art workshops and other activities every weekend.
The Hudson River Museum is a beautiful institution that celebrates many themes, including art, outer space and the river. While far from a children's museum, there are several activities and attractions that are fun for families.
Red Grooms: The Bookstore is a vibrant, large-scale, cartoony installation that you can actually walk through. (In case you don't recognize Grooms' name, he's the guy who did that awesome subway car filled with paper-mache characters.) For older kids, the interactive Hudson Riverama gives them a crash course in the history of the river and its wildlife, as well as ongoing ecology efforts. The museum also encompasses Glenview, an 1877 mansion overlooking the Hudson, which has been restored to its turn-of-the-last-century grandeur. The Andrus Planetarium is, of course, the highlight, and has star shows every weekend. This was my eight-year-old son’s first planetarium experience and, although geared toward school-age kids, my two-year-old managed to sit through the show too and was still talking about it days later.
The museum's upcoming exhibit Gilded Age Magic highlights famous magicians like Harry Keller, a Yonkers resident who founded an elite organization of American tricksters including Harry Houdini. The exhibit opens Memorial Day weekend and is on view through Labor Day, and there will be a series of live performances throughout the summer by local magician Benjamin Levy and the Yonkers Society of American Magicians Assembly.
The museum offers family art workshops every weekend (best for ages 5 to 10) and special programming during holidays and school breaks. There are also frequent Family Days. The next one is on Sunday, June 10, when kids can enjoy a day of magic shows, arts and crafts, and more.
The Hudson River Museum is best for school-age kids however tots can enjoy the scenery and the galleries are spacious enough for strollers. The gift shop also sells great books, art supplies and toys for kids of all ages. Although there is no cafe, you can bring your own snacks and sit at tables in the main lobby.
The Hudson River Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday noon-5pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-16, free for kids under 5. The Andrus Planetarium is only open on weekends only and costs an additional $2 for adults, $1 for children. The museum is accessible via car or bus, or you can buy a one-day getaway on Metro-North which comes with discount admission.
Read about other must-see museums in New York City and beyond.