Best Museum Exhibits for NYC Kids Summer 2013: 10 Awesome New Installations

While NYC offers tons of outdoor summer activities, sometimes you want your fun to come with a little air conditioning. Happily there are a slew of new museum exhibits this season that are perfect for families, so you can soak up some cool culture while literally staying cool.

We've got the scoop on ten awesome summer installations, many of which are interactive. Find out where your kids can get up close and personal with live frogs, stand in an indoor rainstorm without getting wet, collaborate with professional artists and more this summer.

Inside Out/Outside In – Hudson Square
Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton Street between Hudson and Greenwich Streets
Saturday, June 13-Sunday, July14
Free with admission: $11
CMA's annual exhibition of multimedia art created by local school kids will be displayed alongside works by the educators who taught them. Check out short films, 3D projects, large-scale collaborative murals and other inventive pieces that reflect the vibrancy of the city we live in.

Rain Room – Midtown West
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
On view through Sunday, July 28
$25 for adults, free for children under 17
This interactive exhibit uses sensors to detect visitors so the water falls everywhere except directly on you. The installation is quite delicate, so only 10 people are allowed in at a time, which means there's always a line (which forms outside the museum to boot). Still, where else can the kids run around in a rainstorm without being scolded by their parents?

Works in Progress – Hudson Square
Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton Street between Hudson and Greenwich Streets
Monday, July 22-Sunday, August 25
Free with admission: $11
After viewing in-progress pieces in the gallery, kids can help the artists finish their creations. On July 24-26 and July 29-August 1, use recycled materials to add figures and buildings to Lisa Ludwig's mini-city Art Neighborhood. On August 5, 7, 8, 12, 14 and 15, help performance artist Meghann Snow with Dance Drawing Series, a large-scale collaborative mural created by dancing on the canvas. Since space is limited, these 45-minute workshops are first come, first served.

James Turrell – Upper East Side
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street
Friday, June 21-Wednesday, September 25
Free with admission: $22 for adults, free for children under age 13
The centerpiece of this exhibit is Aten Reign, a site-specific work created for the rotunda of the iconic museum. Moving colored lights will alter the look of the circular ramps, creating a new visual experience for visitors.

Hopper Drawing – Upper East Side
Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
On view through Sunday, October 6
Free with admission: $20 for adults, free for children under 19
Though this exhibit isn't aimed at kids, Edward Hopper's evocative drawings depict scenes any child can relate to: everyday life on the streets, in movie theaters, bedrooms and offices. More than 2,500 of Hopper's drawings are on display alongside Nighthawks and other famous paintings. The Whitney is also hosting a variety of family art workshops in conjunction with the exhibit.

Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure – Midtown West
Times Square Discovery Exhibition, 226 West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
In advance: $20.50 for adults, $15.50 for children ages 4-12, at the door: $1 less per person
On view through Sunday, January 5, 2014
Examine more than 500 artifacts recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration from ships lost at sea. Civil War-era gold and silver coins, ancient glass bottles and other unearthed items give kids a peek at seafaring life during different periods of American history. You can also learn about the cutting-edge technology that helped uncover these treasures at several interactive stations. Best of all for little swashbucklers is the hands-on area where they can play pirate by looking through a spyglass, raising the flags of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd and other notorious plunderers, and other activities.

Frogs: A Chorus of Colors – Upper West Side
American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street at Central Park West
On view through Sunday, January 5, 2014
Museum Plus One Admission: $25 for adults, $14.50 for children ages 2-12.
A few summers ago, we got up close and personal with a bunch of Frogs at the AMNH and we're happy to report that they've hopped back into town for a return engagement. The exhibit features more than 150 live amphibians including 10 different types of poison dart frogs and, new this year, the Mexican Dumpy frog and the tomato frog. In addition to watching the green guys in action, kids can learn about their anatomy, threats to their ecosystems, biology and more through interactive panels and kiosks.

The Art of the Brick – Midtown West
Times Square Discovery Exhibition, 226 West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
In advance: $20.50 for adults, $15.50 for children ages 4-12, at the door: $1 less per person
Friday, June 14-Sunday, January 5, 2014
Although this Lego exhibit isn't interactive like the recently opened Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers, it should intrigue budding builders. Artist Nathan Sawaya created 100 incredibly intricate sculptures out of the popular plastic bricks including a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton and his signature piece, Yellow, a bust of a man with Legos bursting from his chest.

Red Grooms' New York City – Upper West Side
Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Friday, June 28-Sunday, January 5, 2014
Free with admission: $11
CMOM shines a spotlight on prolific multimedia artist Red Grooms, whose playful pop-art-style pieces celebrate NYC. The exhibit features eight of his notable works, including his incredible, five-foot sculpto-pictorama of Rockefeller Center. Like all exhibits at CMOM, there are a slew of interactive art programs to go with it.

Space Shuttle Pavilion – Midtown West
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Twelfth Avenue at 46th Street
Reopens Wednesday, July 10 and stays on permanent display
Free with admission: $31 for adults, $24 for children ages 7-17, $17 for children ages 3-6. Save $2 per person if you purchase your tickets in advance online.
Space Shuttle Pavilion, which originally opened to great fanfare last summer, has been closed since Hurricane Sandy. Repairs are almost complete and soon aspiring astronauts can once again marvel at the Enterprise, which will be permanently on view on the aircraft carrier's flight deck. Sadly, you can only admire the spacecraft from the outside, so no playing captain in the cockpit.

Want more? Many of the spring exhibits we highlighted are still on view, including the Search for the Unicorn at the Cloisters, the giant Four Season statues at the New York Botanical Garden, the interactive Design Zone at the New York Hall of Science, the sports-filled The Big Adventure at the Brooklyn Children's Museum and Whales: Giants of the Deep at the American Natural History Museum.

Find out about other great exhibits for kids in our Museum Guide.

New Victory LabWorks
Little Island - 3:00 PM Pick
Picnic Performances in Bryant Park
Bryant Park - 7:00 PM Pick
The 95th Annual Feast of San Gennaro
Little Italy - various times Pick
Photoville 2021
Citywide - various times Pick
Library of Congress National Book Festival
Library of Congress and Virtual - 9:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides