Usually, when local parents think about taking their kids on an enriching cultural outing, their minds automatically wander to NYC. And while there are many fantastic family-friendly museums and exhibits in New York City, there are institutions worth exploring beyond the city limits, too.
Westchester County is home to three fun museums that regularly offer programming for families. At the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, the Katonah Museum of Art and the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, kids can explore their galleries and learn about their collections by engaging in a variety of hands-on activities. Best of all, most of these family programs are free with museum admission. We've got the scoop on these wonderful Westchester art museums, which make for great family day trip destinations.
Hudson River Museum – Yonkers
511 Warburton Avenue near John F. Kennedy Memorial Drive
$6 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-16
We profiled this lovely museum overlooking the Hudson River a few years back, but it's worth a repeat mention. You'll find art galleries full of beautiful, diverse and thought-provoking exhibitions year-round, notably Red Grooms: The Bookstore a permanent immersive pop-art installation that my kids love exploring. Other highlights include wandering through the historic 19th-century Glenview Mansion; taking in the spectacular views of museum's namesake while learning about the river's ecosystem and rehabilitation efforts at the Hudson Riverama; and frequent family events and workshops, like hands-on art projects and kid-friendly gallery tours. In summer 2013, the museum opened its brand-new amphitheater, which hosts outdoor entertainment during nice weather. (The Andrus Planetarium is currently closed for renovations but is slated to reopen later this fall.) The Hudson River Museum is accessible via car or bus, or you can do a one-day getaway on Metro-North, which comes with discounted admission. Find out about other fun things to do in Yonkers with kids, including visiting the Legoland Discovery Center Westchester.
Katonah Museum of Art – Katonah
134 Jay Street between Reservoir Road and Pine Hill Drive
$10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, free for children under 12
Nestled in scenic Katonah, this art museum features dynamic exhibits for art lovers of all ages; a serene outdoor sculpture garden; and series and workshops for children, like Picture This! Saturday Story Time and Stroller Tours for parents with infants. Best of all is the museum's Learning Center, an exhibition space and drop-in activity center aimed specifically at kids. No wonder the museum offers children's party packages. The Katonah Museum of Art is accessible via car or you can do a one-day getaway on Metro-North, which comes with discounted admission. Find out about other fun things to do in Katonah with kids.
Neuberger Museum of Art – Purchase
SUNY Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road
$5, $3 for seniors and students, free for children under 12 and to all the first Saturday of every month
In addition to its beautiful exhibitions, the Neuberger hosts the popular Family Second Saturdays series. During this monthly workshop, families can enjoy kid-friendly tours of the galleries followed by a thematically related art workshop. Added bonus? Admission is FREE for all program participants. The Neuberger Museum of Art is accessible via car or the Metro-North Harlem Line.
And though it isn't slated to open until 2015, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the in-development Westchester Children's Museum. The county's first-ever children's museum has been years in the making and recently secured its site in the historic north bathhouse located on Rye Playland's boardwalk. We'll definitely keep track of its progress!
Find out about other enriching things to do with kids in our jam-packed Event Calendar.
Creative Commons image credit: Suzanne Berton