Kids 8 and under can enter The Sugar HiIl Museum for free. Photo by Janet Bloom
Kids 8 and under can enter The Sugar HiIl Museum for free. Photo by Janet Bloom

What Ages Get in Free to NYC Museums, Zoos, Amusement Parks

The best things in life may be free—but for families used to the high cost of living in NYC, that sounds like crazy talk. From housing to classes to entertainment, everything here seems to cost so much money...or does it?

The truth is, there's plenty of FREE fun to be had for kids in New York City. And even top family attractions that charge entry fees—like museums, zoos, amusement parks, and water parks—offer no-cost admission for children under certain ages. Those savings can really add up, especially when you have preschoolers or toddlers

Bookmark this list of when your kids are eligible for freebies at New York City's best family destinations, from tourist hot spots like the Statue of Liberty to all of the children's museums and zoos and gardens. We've included a few of our favorite picks in nearby locales, too.

Note: Some places may ask for proof of age. Looking for a 100% FREE outing? Check out our roundup of no-cost admission hours at NYC museums.

Free Under Age 1

Brooklyn Children's Museum
Children's Museum of Manhattan
Children's Museum of the Arts
Liberty Science Center
Staten Island Children's Museum
Westchester Children's Museum


Photo courtesy of the New York Transit Museum

Free Ages 23 Months and Under

American Museum of Natural History
Legoland Discovery Center Westchester
Liberty Science Center
Museum of Chinese in the Americas
Museum of Mathematics
New York Botanical Garden
New York Hall of Science
New York Transit Museum
Staten Island Museum

RELATED: Best Places for Family Playtime in NYC


See the marine life at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Christopher Postlewaite for NYCgo

Free Ages 2 and Under

Bronx Zoo
Central Park Zoo
Museum of the Moving Image
New York Aquarium
New York City Fire Museum
Prospect Park Zoo
Queens Zoo
Rye Playland
Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari
Spyscape: New York's Spy Museum
Staten Island Zoo


Statue of Liberty museum on Liberty Island offers visitors a new way to engage with the Statue of Liberty. Photo by Jody Mercier

Free Ages 3 and Under

Historic Richmond Town
Queens Botanical Garden
Statue of Liberty 
(Includes ferry ride, but only children taller than 4 feet are allowed to access the crown!)

Free Ages 4 and Under

Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum
New-York Historical Society and Dimenna Children's History Museum

Free Ages 5 and Under

Empire State Building
Museum of Food and Drink
One World Observatory
Snug Harbor
Top of the Rock
Wave Hill


The 9/11 Memorial & Museum offers age-appropriate programs to help children learn more about the events of 9/11 and how people responded in the days and months after.

Free Ages 7 and Under

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
South Street Seaport Museum

Free Ages 8 and Under

Sugar Hill Museum of Art & Storytelling

RELATED: NYC Restaurants Where Kids Eat for FREE


Kids will love the unique shape of the Guggenheim. Photo by Fatboo via Flickr.

Free Ages 11 and Under

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
El Museo del Barrio
Guggenheim Museum
Morris-Jumel Mansion
Mount Vernon Hotel and Museum

Free Ages 12 and Under

The Cloisters
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met Breuer
The Morgan Library & Museum

Free Ages 16 and Under

Museum of Modern Art


The new Whitney Museum also has plenty of outdoor spaces with gorgeous views of the city. Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

Free Ages 18 and Under

Cooper Hewitt Museum
The Jewish Museum
Museum of Arts and Design
The New Museum
Queens Museum
Whitney Museum of Art

Free Ages 19 and Under

Brooklyn Museum
Museum of the City of New York

RELATED: 20 Indoor Places in NYC Where Kids Can Play for Free


Catch some thrills at the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park. Photo courtesy of the park

Free Under 36 Inches

Victorian Gardens Amusement Park  
(Children under 36 inches tall enter the park for free with a paid adult; rides cost extra.)

Free Under 42 Inches

Jane's Carousel  
Pier 62 Carousel
(Adults ride free with children shorter than 42 inches)


The National Museum of the American Indian is always free! Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian

Free for All Ages

American Folk Art Museum
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
National Museum of the American Indian
Queens County Farm Museum  (The museum does charge admission during large public events.)

This article first published in July 2013 and is updated annually.