The Children's Museum of Manhattan features five floors of educational fun for children ages six months to 12 years. There's pretty much something for everyone at this Upper West Side institution. The museum also offers lots of classes and special programs throughout the day. This makes it easier to visit with children of different ages because you can drop older kids off in a class and go visit the little kid areas that would bore more mature children.
The third floor is completely for little kids. It has activities appropriate for children as young as six months with a "crawling obstacle course" and board books. There's a cool fire department with real firefighter costumes, a truck that flashes lights and a fireman's pole. There's even a little game where kids have to put out fires with laser hoses.
Other attractions include a play market/bodega, a physics area where kids can experiment with different cause and effect puzzles, and a neat phonics section that speaks the sounds of lettered tiles when you feed them to a crocodile or place them on special racks to form words.
The ground floor hosts rotating exhibits. The current installation is Eat Sleep Play, which we reviewed when it opened.
I wouldn't put the Children's Museum of Manhattan in the world-class category. I think the staff could work a little harder on making the exhibits truly outstanding and the classes are kind of run-of-the-mill. My kids once took a Greek Theater Mask-making class and they were not told anything about the significance of the mask, they were just shown how to do it.
So it doesn't compare with taking a free kids' art class at MoMA that's for sure. Still CMoM is a great place to go during the week, either during the day with babies and toddlers, or after school with older children. On the weekends it gets so crowded that it's hard to really enjoy. Admission is $11 per person so it's not cheap, but you can spend many hours here on a cold winter day and get your money's worth.
Find more great activities like this in our Indoor Activities Guide.
Find more must-see museums in our Museum Guide.