6 Cool Exhibits for Kids in New York City: Culture Guide Spring 2011

Best Museum Exhibits for NYC Kids Spring 2011

Last week we told you about 11 great stage shows for families. Today, our spring culture roundup continues with six new exhibits that kids will love. (In a couple of cases, they may actually beg you to bring them!) 

From Harry Potter relics to an in-depth look at how Dinosaurs lived to ancient brain teasers from China, these half dozen museum shows will educate and entertain your family.

The World’s Largest Dinosaurs - American Museum of Natural History
April 16–January 2
Ages 3 and up.
Must purchase timed tickets: $24 for adults, $14 for kids.
We're all really excited about this exhibit, which delves into how (versus when) the biggest dinos lived. The interactive installation focuses on the long-necked, long-tailed sauropods, which grew up to 150-feet in length. There will even be a life-size model of a 60-foot-long, 11-foot-tall female Mamenchisaurus with a 30-foot neck! Click here for our review!

Harry Potter: The Exhibition - Discovery Times Square Exposition  
Through September 5
Ages 8 and up.
Must purchase timed tickets. $25 for adults, $19.50 for kids ages 4-12, under 4 free.
Most tweens and teens (not to mention adults!) will be super-curious about this collection of props, costumes and other artifacts from the blockbuster Harry Potter movies, including items from the soon-to-be-released Deathly Hallows: Part II! Hundreds of objects, like Harry’s specs, Quidditch robes and Death Eater Masks, will be on view in beautiful displays recreating key Potter locales such as the Great Room at Hogwarts, Hagrid’s Hut and the common room at Gryffindor. This is the last stop on the exhibit's U.S. tour before it heads overseas. We actually just posted our review.

The Changing Face of William Shakespeare - The Morgan Library & Museum
Through May 1
Ages 10 and up.
Free with museum admission: $15 for adults, $10 for kids under 16.
Did your kids dig Gnomeo & Juliet? Then use their burgeoning interest in the Bard as an excuse to go to the Morgan, which is displaying various Shakespeare treasures including the famous Cobbe portrait that is alledgedly the only known painting of the playwright done during his lifetime. This Saturday, April 9 at 2pm, the museum is running a family program in conjunction with the exhibit, Tonight, Tonight: Romeo and Juliet Meet on the West Side, a special interactive workshop exploring how the iconic romantic tragedy inspired West Side Story. Kids will compare key scenes, hear musical performances and even get a chance to belt out some of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's classic songs. Tickets are $8 for adults, $2 for kids.

Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) - The Jewish Museum
Through July 31.
Ages 5 and up.
Free with museum admission: $12 for adults, kids under 12 free, free for all on Saturdays.
Most adults are familiar with Kalman’s whimsical work from The New York Times and her famous New Yorkistan cover for The New Yorker. But the author/illustrator/designer has penned a dozen books for children, too, including Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey. This retrospective showcases her well known drawings as well as her more obscure creations in textiles and performance. Consider visiting on Sunday, April 17 at 10:30am for the museum's Art Workshop + Gallery Tour: Family Stories in Paper, during which kids can make dioramas inspired by the works on display. $12 for adults, $10 for kids.

Chinese Puzzles: Games for the Hands and Mind
- Museum of Chinese in America
Through September 5.
Ages 3 and up.
Free with museum admission: $7, kids under 12 free.
OK, so this exhibit isn't new. However, it just got an extension through the end of summer, and additional puzzles have been added. Thousands of stunning, antique and modern brain teasers are on display. The best part for kids is that they can play with the reproductions. The museum hosted quite a few events in conjunction with the exhibit during its initial run. So far none are scheduled for the extension, but if they do add any, they will be found in the calendar.

Guitar Heroes - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through July 4.
Ages 12 and up.
Free with museum suggested admission: $20, kids under 12 free.
Gorgeous guitars and mandolins fashioned by three master craftsmen are showcased in this exhibit. Although it's not interactive (and as such, may not be of much interest to younger kids), tweens should appreciate the amazing workmanship, and there are a lot of musical performances in conjunction with the show, including free multi-genre guitar concerts in the gallery most Thursday afternoons, as well as a special tour, talk and performance for teens about the archtop guitar on May 13. Registration required.

And it's your last chance to catch four amazing exhibits we've enjoyed over the past several months.

1001 Inventions at the NY Hall of Science closes April 24. Click here to read our review.

Night Journeys at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum closes May 1. Click here to read our review.
The Wizard of Oz exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan closes May 8. Click here for our review.

The Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains at the Brooklyn Museum closes May 15. Click here for our review.

Find out about other awesome exhibits at NYC museums in The Mommy Poppins Museum Guide.

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 77th Street
10024 New York , NY
Phone: 212-769-5000
40° 46' 46.1208" N, 73° 58' 24.8556" W
New York
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
10016 New York , NY
Phone: 212-685-0008
40° 44' 57.1776" N, 73° 58' 53.4936" W
New York
Discovery Times Square Exposition
226 West 44th Street
10036 New York , NY
Phone: 866-987-9692
40° 45' 28.2888" N, 73° 59' 14.8632" W
New York
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue
10128 New York , NY
Phone: 212-423-3200
40° 47' 7.3752" N, 73° 57' 27.4356" W
New York
Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
10013 New York , NY
Phone: 212-619-4785
40° 43' 9.6384" N, 73° 59' 56.5188" W
New York
The Metropolitian Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
10028 New York , NY
Phone: 212-535-7710
40° 46' 44.9544" N, 73° 57' 45.7092" W
New York