Best Fall Museum Exhibits for NYC Kids

Fall 2015 Family NYC Museum Exhibitions Exhibits

Fall brings school, the harvest and, for New Yorkers, lots of cool new culture. Our city's world-class museums are debuting the latest exhibits, and we've rounded up seven that sound particularly engaging for kids. Some are interactive, others are eye-popping but all make for enriching family outings. Even the more grown-up exhibitions cater to younger children with complementary hands-on workshops.


Loren Munk's funky and colorful map of "The East Village," on view at the Children's Museum of the Arts. (Image courtesy of the artist and Freight + Volume.)

If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home – Hudson Square
Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton Street between Hudson and Greenwich Streets
On view Monday, September 14-Sunday, January 17, 2016
Free with admission: $12 for ages 1 and up
See maps in a whole new way at CMA's latest exhibit featuring contemporary artists' creative takes on cartography. The pieces hark back to a time when maps were considered works of art and included mythical elements. While kids might recognize a few of the NYC neighborhoods depicted, the artists' colorful and political interpretations of areas like Midtown and the East Village should inspire viewers to take a closer look at the world around them. As always, the museum will offer hands-on art activities for kids in conjunction with the exhibition to enhance the experience.


Picasso's "She-Goat" is part of the Museum of Modern Art's exhibit of the artist's sculptures. (Photo courtesy of the museum.)

Picasso Sculpture – Midtown West
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
On view Monday, September 14-Sunday, February 7, 2016
Free with admission: $25 for adults, free for children under 17
More than 100 three-dimensional works by the legendary artist will be on view in MoMA's 4th floor gallery. Though best known for his paintings, Picasso was an avid but untrained sculptor. Visitors can marvel at his whimsical and cutting-edge constructions often made from unconventional materials, and learn about his unconventional process. For kids looking for a more interactive experience, visit when the museum hosts one of its hands-on Putting It Together: Assemblage workshops, which are organized by age and take place on select weekends throughout the exhibit's run.

RELATED: Best Summer Museum Exhibits for Kids


Kids can play police officer or taxi driver at the Children's Museum of Manhattan's new interactive installation. (Photo courtesy of CMOM.)

NYC + Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple – Upper West Side
Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Friday, September 25-mid January 2016
Free with admission: $12 for ages 1 and up
Little New Yorkers can explore their hometown at CMOM's new installation that celebrates what we love (and hate!) about living in the Big Apple. In the 3,000-square-foot immersive gallery, tots can drive taxis and police cars, build mini skyscrapers, make public art, show off their talents on the street, manage a food cart, read iconic Gotham-set stories, run for local government and even try a NYC-themed obstacle course. The museum is also offering a slew of hands-on programming in conjunction with the exhibit sponsored by major NYC cultural institutions like Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio and the 92nd Street Y.

Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea – Crown Heights
Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue at St. Marks Avenue
On view Saturday October 3-Sunday, January 3, 2016
Free with admission: $9 for ages 1 and up
Discover what life is like for kids in the bustling, high-tech South Korean city of Seoul at BCM's latest interactive installation. At a variety of hands-on stations, kids can see the urban center through the eyes of five young residents. Find out why Korea is dubbed the "world's most-wired country" by checking out its booming electronics manufacturing industry and seeing which gadgets are all the rage. Hear the K-Pop all the kids love, and learn about the cuisine, high-pressure schools, martial arts traditions and holidays like the Lunar New Year.


The Batmobile from the classic '60s Batman TV series at the New-York Historical Society's Superheroes in Gotham. (Photo: George Barris Kustom City, Batmobile, No. 3, 1966 from the collection of Dr. Stewart Berkowitz.)

Superheroes in Gotham – Upper West Side
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street
On view Friday, October 9-Sunday, February 21, 2016
Free with admission: $20 for adults, $12 for students, $6 for children ages 5-13
Celebrate NYC's role in the superhero phenomenon at the New-York Historical Society's new installation. Iconic comic book companies Marvel and DC both got their start in our city, and some of the world's most popular superheroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil live in the five boroughs. (In case you're wondering, Batman and Superman reside in Gotham and Metropolis respectively, but we all know which city each is modeled after!) Follow the evolution of the superhero, how characters leaped from the page to TV to the big screen and the international comics craze. Grown-up geeks will love seeing the comic-book debuts of Spider-Man, Batman and Superman up close, along with original illustrations from famous artists. But we expect kids to get a special kick out of the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West. Mark your calendar for opening weekend, when the museum hosts a Superheroes in Gotham celebration featuring themed crafts, games and FREE admission for children under age 14.

RELATED: Must-See Outdoor Art for Families

Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection– Upper West Side 
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street
On view Friday, October 30-Sunday, February 28, 2016
Free with admission: $20 for adults, $12 for students, $6 for children ages 5-13
We raved about this holiday train and toy show last season, and it's chugging into town for a return engagement. Hit the Central Park West lobby to gawk at a large display of moving trains with immersive sound effects. Kids can even get an up-close look at the locomotives by crawling through a tunnel and popping up in a plastic bubble located in the center of the action. After you've had your fill, check out the cases of vintage European and American playthings. Though they don't move, they're gorgeous to look at, plus cool animated visuals and a layered soundscape make them come alive.


An oversize model of bacteria battling athlete's foot at the American Museum of Natural History. (Image courtesy of the museum.)

The Secret World Inside You – Upper West Side
American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street at Central Park West
On view Saturday, November 7-Sunday, August 14, 2016
Free with General Admission Plus One: $27 for adults, $16 for children ages 2-12
Did you know you've got lots of tiny microbes living inside your body? Get an in-depth look at these invisible to the naked eye organisms like fungi, bacteria and viruses, and learn how they affect our health through interactive stations. The highlight will be the live theater, where an educator explains how scientists are making strides in this relative new field of study, and answers any questions posed by inquiring (and possibly slightly grossed-out) minds.

Top photo from the American Museum of Natural History's The Secret World Inside You, courtesy of the museum.