Free Times at NYC Museums: When to Visit at No Cost

Free Night, Hours at Children's Museum of Manhattan, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Children's Museum of the Arts and More

Many of New York City's top museums, zoos, gardens and cultural institutions offer FREE or reduced admission on certain nights, days or hours at least once a month—a city perk that no busy parent should miss out on! Plus, many of the "grown-up" museums let kids in for free year-round.

It can be hard to keep track of when and where these freebies are available, so we've compiled an exhaustive list of 2016 reduced or FREE admission days at all of your favorite NYC cultural spots from The Bronx Zoo to the Brooklyn Children's Museum. 

As always, you can check our Event Calendar for more budget-friendly kid activities every day or peruse our Free in NYC Guide. Try our Museum Guide for more on the latest kid-friendly art in NYC.

Children's Museums, Zoos and Gardens with Free Times

The Bronx Zoo – General admission is free on Wednesdays. Visitors are asked to donate what they wish to support the zoo's mission. Total Experience activities cost extra.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Free all day on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10am-noon. Free on winter weekdays November-February.

Brooklyn Children's Museum – Free Thursday afternoons from 2-6pm.

Children's Museum of the Arts – Pay-what-you-wish Thursdays, 4-6pm.

Children's Museum of Manhattan – Free the first Friday of every month, 5-8pm.

New York Aquarium – Pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 3-3:30pm, during the fall, winter and spring; in the summer, free Friday hours run from 4pm-5pm.

New York Botanical Garden – Free grounds admission all day on Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 9-10am. Special exhibits cost extra.

New York Hall of Science – Free admission on Fridays, 2-5pm, and Sundays, 10-11am.

New-York Historical Society – Pay-what-you-wish Fridays 6-8pm, which includes the DiMenna Children's History Museum.

Queens Botanical Garden – Free admission daily November through March. Free admission Wednesdays, 3-6pm, and Sundays, 9-11am the rest of the year. Festival days are excepted.

Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling – Admission for children 8 and younger is always free. Children ages 9-17 enter for $4; adult admission is $7.

The Staten Island Children's Museum – Although this museum doesn't have regularly scheduled free times, it often hosts "Cool School Holiday" free admission days during public school holidays. Check the calendar for more info.

Staten Island Zoo – Free Wednesdays, 2-4:45pm.

Wave Hill – Free Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9am-noon. The garden also hosts special free arts events throughout the year. Check the calendar for more info.

RELATED: 20 Indoor Spots Where NYC Kids Play for Free


Kids under 12 are always free at the Met, which also follows a "suggested admission" policy. Photo by Mommy Poppins staff.

Free Family Programs at Museums

Several museums offer regularly scheduled free programs. In addition to no-cost admission, visitors are treated to special tours and activities. Sometimes these events require tickets (which are free), and they're all either aimed at families or are kid-friendly.

Brooklyn Museum First Saturdays – First Saturday of every month, 5-11pm, and every Thursday from 6-10pm beginning January 21. But kids ages 19 and under are always free.

El Museo del Barrio Super Sábado – Free at all times for children under 12 and for everyone on the third Saturday of every month, 11am-6pm. A visit here also gets you free admission to the Museum of the City of New York.

Museum of Modern Art – General admission is always free to ages 16 and under and parents can score a free pass on Friday nights from 4-8pm. MoMA also offers multiple free programs for families, including Tours for Fours, A Closer Look for Kids and Family Films. Tickets are required and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Education and Research Building entrance at 4 West 54th Street. 

New Museum First Saturdays for Families – Children under 18 are always free. In addition, on the first Saturday of every month, from 10am-noon, the museum offers free admission for up to three adults per family. On Thursdays from 6-9pm, it's pay what you wish for all visitors.

Studio Museum Free Sundays – Sundays, noon-6pm

​RELATED: 50 Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day


The Brooklyn Museum hosts a popular "First Saturday" free admission night that includes loads of family programming. Photo by Mommy Poppins staff.

Museums with Suggested General Admission

American Museum of Natural History – Special exhibits and experiences cost extra. 

Brooklyn Museum

The Cloisters

El Museo del Barrio

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Museum of the City of New York

Queens Museum

SculptureCenter

Staten Island Museum

Studio Museum Harlem

Museums That Are Always Free

American Folk Art Museum

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Lehman College Art GalleryAdmission is always free. The gallery also hosts educational workshops and family art workshops free of charge.

MoMA PS1 – NYC residents receive free admission to all galleries through October 15, 2016.

The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology

National Museum of the American Indian

Sony Wonder Technology Lab – Certain workshops cost extra.

Queens County Farm Museum – The museum does charge admission during large, public events.

Grown-up Museums with Free Hours

9/11 Memorial and Museum – Free on Tuesdays from 5-8pm.

Asia Society Museum – Free on Fridays, 6-9pm, from Labor Day through June. Children under 16 are always given free admission.

Cooper Hewitt Museum – Pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays from 6-9pm. Kids 18 and under are always free.

The Frick Collection – Pay-what-you-wish on Sundays from 11am-1pm. Must be 10 years old and up to visit.

Guggenheim Museum – Pay what you wish Saturdays, 5:45-7:45pm. Children under 12 are always free.

Historic Richmond Town – Free Fridays, 1-5pm. Ages 3 and under are free.

The Jewish Museum – Free on Saturdays, 11am-5:45pm; pay-what-you-wish on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm. Children 18 and under are free.

The Morgan Library & Museum – Free on Fridays, 7-9pm. Children 12 and under are free.

Museum of Arts and Design – Pay what you wish Thursdays, 6-9pm. Children ages 18 and under are free.

Museum of Chinese in America – Free on the first Thursday of the each month, 11am-9pm. Children under age 12 are free.

Museum of Jewish Heritage – Free on Wednesdays, 4-8pm. Ages 12 and under are always free.

Museum of Modern Art – Free on Fridays, 4-8pm. Ages 16 and under are always free.

Museum of the Moving Image – Free on Fridays, 4-8pm. Children under age 3 are free.

The Noguchi Museum – Free on the first Friday of every month, 10am-5pm. Children under 12 are free.

Rubin Museum of Art – Free on the first Monday of every month, 11am-5pm. Children 12 and under are free.

Whitney Museum – Pay what you wish Fridays, 7-9:30pm. Children under 18 are always free.

Top photo: Kids paint at the Children's Museum of the Arts where admission is waived every Thursday afternoon. Image courtesy the museum.

This post originally published in September 2012.

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location: 
Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse
10456 Bronx , NY 40° 49' 51.4884" N, 73° 55' 12.3168" W
New York
Children's Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 38.694" N, 74° 0' 28.7676" W
New York
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue
10128 New York , NY 40° 47' 7.5012" N, 73° 57' 25.92" W
New York
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue
10029 New York , NY 40° 47' 33.0144" N, 73° 57' 7.0668" W
New York
Studio Museum Harlem
144 West 125th St.
10027-4423 New York , NY 40° 48' 31.0176" N, 73° 56' 50.8992" W
New York
MoMA PS1
22-25 Jackson Ave.
11101 Long Island City , NY 40° 44' 43.9584" N, 73° 56' 46.9212" W
New York
SculptureCenter
44-19 Purves St.
11101 Long Island City , NY 40° 44' 49.38" N, 73° 56' 28.3452" W
New York
New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
10024 New York , NY 40° 46' 44.562" N, 73° 58' 26.058" W
New York
The Forbes Galleries
62 Fifth Ave.
10011 New York , NY 40° 44' 5.9676" N, 73° 59' 39.6276" W
New York
The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road
11106 Long Island City , NY 40° 46' 0.3072" N, 73° 56' 18.2724" W
New York
New Museum
235 Bowery
10002 New York , NY 40° 43' 20.2116" N, 73° 59' 35.538" W
New York
Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
10128-0173 New York , NY 40° 46' 58.7244" N, 73° 57' 31.9212" W
New York
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
10021 New York , NY 40° 46' 12.0504" N, 73° 57' 52.1136" W
New York
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
10016 New York , NY 40° 44' 57.1776" N, 73° 58' 53.4936" W
New York
Whitney Museum
945 Madison Avenue
10021 New York , NY 40° 46' 24.0348" N, 73° 57' 48.9528" W
New York
Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th St.
10011 New York , NY 40° 44' 24.0324" N, 73° 59' 51.9324" W
New York
The Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Boulevard
10460 Bronx , NY 40° 51' 2.502" N, 73° 52' 56.7336" W
New York
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Avenue
11225 Brooklyn , NY 40° 40' 3.8136" N, 73° 57' 42.5844" W
New York
Brooklyn Children's Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue
11213 Brooklyn , NY 40° 40' 28.0344" N, 73° 56' 38.3856" W
New York
Children's Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street
10024 New York , NY
Phone: 212-721-1234
40° 47' 9.2904" N, 73° 58' 37.6104" W
New York
New York Aquarium
Surf Avenue and West 8th Street
11224 Brooklyn , NY 40° 34' 31.0656" N, 73° 58' 35.2236" W
New York
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
10458 Bronx , NY 40° 51' 42.1344" N, 73° 52' 49.2312" W
New York
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th Street
11368 Queens , NY 40° 44' 52.4436" N, 73° 51' 6.6312" W
New York
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street
11355 Flushing , NY 40° 45' 5.5368" N, 73° 49' 34.1868" W
New York
Staten Island Children's Museum
1000 Richmond Terrace
10301-1181 Staten Island , NY 40° 38' 28.014" N, 74° 6' 10.9836" W
New York
Staten Island Zoo
614 Broadway
10310 Staten Island , NY 40° 37' 32.9448" N, 74° 6' 53.1072" W
New York
Wave Hill
West 249th Street and Independence Avenue
10471-2899 Bronx , NY 40° 53' 52.1268" N, 73° 54' 40.7772" W
New York
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
11238 Brooklyn , NY 40° 40' 16.2192" N, 73° 57' 48.6684" W
New York
The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon Park
10040 New York , NY 40° 51' 53.4528" N, 73° 55' 54.5088" W
New York
El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Avenue
10029 New York , NY 40° 47' 35.1348" N, 73° 57' 4.9248" W
New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
10028 New York , NY 40° 46' 44.9184" N, 73° 57' 45.972" W
New York
Museum of Biblical Art
1865 Broadway
10023 New York , NY 40° 46' 12.684" N, 73° 58' 56.9316" W
New York
Queens Museum of Art
New York City Building Flushing Meadows Corona Park
11368 Queens , NY 40° 45' 0.7632" N, 73° 50' 46.176" W
New York
Staten Island Museum
75 Stuyvesant Place
10301 Staten Island , NY 40° 38' 39.4908" N, 74° 4' 40.3932" W
New York
American Folk Art Museum
2 Lincoln Square
10023 New York , NY 40° 46' 23.7468" N, 73° 58' 53.8392" W
New York
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
10001 New York , NY 40° 44' 47.868" N, 73° 59' 37.8132" W
New York
National Museum of the American Indian
1 Bowling Green Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
10004 New York , NY 40° 42' 15.984" N, 74° 0' 49.4388" W
New York
Sony Wonder Technology Lab
550 Madison Avenue
10022 New York , NY 40° 45' 40.4604" N, 73° 58' 23.232" W
New York
Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue
10306 Staten Island , NY 40° 34' 11.6868" N, 74° 8' 41.37" W
New York
International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas
10036 New York , NY 40° 45' 21.6612" N, 73° 59' 1.842" W
New York
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
10019 New York , NY 40° 46' 2.568" N, 73° 58' 54.9264" W
New York
Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 9.6204" N, 73° 59' 56.5296" W
New York
Museum of Jewish Hertiage
36 Battery Place Edmond J. Safra Plaza
10280 New York , NY 40° 42' 21.33" N, 74° 1' 5.808" W
New York
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
10019 New York , NY 40° 45' 39.5136" N, 73° 58' 38.1036" W
New York
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Avenue
11106 Astoria , NY 40° 45' 23.2056" N, 73° 55' 25.6728" W
New York
Amercian Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park West
10024 New York , NY 40° 46' 55.3044" N, 73° 58' 18.138" W
New York
Cooper Hewitt
2 East 91st Street
10128 New York , NY 40° 47' 3.6744" N, 73° 57' 27.9468" W
New York
9/11 Museum and Memorial
180 Greenwich Street
10007 New York , NY 40° 42' 41.094" N, 74° 0' 44.9244" W
New York
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
11004 Floral Park , NY 40° 44' 53.43" N, 73° 43' 16.4604" W
New York
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
10014 New York , NY 40° 44' 21.6312" N, 74° 0' 35.964" W
New York
Lehman College Art College
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
10468 Bronx , NY 40° 52' 29.604" N, 73° 53' 35.4336" W
New York