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

Kids, Toddlers Get in Free to New York City Institutions

How's the old adage go? The best things in life are free. But for families in NYC, that may sound like crazy talk. From housing to classes to entertainment, everything here seems to cost so much money...or does it?

The fact is, there's plenty of FREE fun 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, and those savings can really add up, especially when you have preschoolers or toddlers

So, we decided to make a list of when the freebies end for kids 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. Yet another reason to wish your children could stay young forever! We've even included a few of our favorite picks in nearby locales, too.

Note: The cut-off ages imply that once kids reach that age, they no longer qualify for free admission, and 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
Staten Island Children's Museum
Westchester Children's Museum
Staten Island Museum
Liberty Science Center

Free Under Age 2

American Museum of Natural History
Museum of Mathematics
New York Botanical Garden
New York City Fire Museum
New York Hall of Science
New York Transit Museum
Rye Playland

​RELATED: 50 Free Things to Do with Toddlers This Summer in NYC

See the Madagascar exhibit for FREE at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Jeffery DelViscio via Flickr.

Free Under Age 3

Bronx Zoo
Central Park Zoo
Legoland Discovery Center Westchester
Museum of the Moving Image
New York Aquarium
Prospect Park Zoo
Queens Zoo
Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari
Staten Island Zoo

Free Under Age 4

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

Free Under Age 5

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

Free Under Age 6

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

Free Under Age 7

Museum of American Finance

Free Under Age 9

Sugar Hill Museum of Art & Storytelling

RELATED: 100 Free Things to Do with Kids This Summer in NYC

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

Free Under Age 12

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
El Museo del Barrio
Guggenheim Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Cloisters
The Met Breuer
The Studio Museum in Harlem
The Museum of Jewish Heritage
Morris-Jumel Mansion

Free Under Age 13

The Morgan Library & Museum

Free Under Age 17

Museum of Modern Art

Free Under Age 18

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

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

Free Under Age 19

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

Free Under Age 20

Brooklyn Museum
Museum of the City of New York

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 for All Ages

American Folk Art Museum
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Lowline Lab
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 but has since been updated.

Top photo of the Bronx Zoo by Nick Amoscato via Flickr.