Located right in the heart of Manhattan, the Children’s Museum of the Arts is a real family highlight for any visitor to New York City. The museum is a non-profit arts facility that lets kids express their artistic side with great exhibitions and a variety of hands-on classes.
Museum Location & Admissions
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is located in Manhattan, wedged between West Village and Tribeca. It sits at 103 Charlton Street, between Hudson and Greenwich Streets. Admission is cheap, at $11 for everyone from one to 65. Babies and seniors are free, and Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm is pay-as-you-wish. There are discounts for educators and for military personnel and their families.
The museum has wonderful exhibits which change throughout the year. There is a calendar on the museum website where you can find current and upcoming exhibits. Previous art exhibits have included shows of children’s artwork from Sri Lanka, showcases of works from famous artists from around the world, and thematic exhibits about topics such as birds and self-portraits.
Get Your Hands Dirty
The Children’s Museum of the Arts offers classes for every age from ten months to fifteen years.
The WEE Arts Studio is for kids aged ten months to five years. Several mornings a week, there are WEE arts drop in sessions, with no registration required. The kids do need a parent or caregiver to stay with them for the session, which lasts just over an hour and is packed with music, art and stories. If you feel like hanging around at the museum afterwards, general admission is half price.
For older kids, there are daily workshops in the Fine Arts Studio, where the whole family can paint a picture, draw anything or sculpt or sew their own masterpiece.
Where ever you create your masterpiece, the museum offers free bags so you can take your creations with you when you leave.
The Clay Bar, the Ball Pond & the Sound Booth
Three of the most popular exhibits at the museum are the Clay Bar, the Ball Pond and the Sound Booth.
The Clay Bar gives kids the chance to play with modelling clay. It’s so popular; you do need to sign up upon arrival at the museum. Sessions are 35 minutes each, and it can get quite busy on weekends, so don’t be late! Mondays and Wednesdays are the best days to visit the Clay Bar.
At the Ball Pond, your child can burn off some extra energy by bouncing around a large ball pit. Every hour is dedicated to a set age group, so you don’t have to worry your little ones may get hurt. The first 20 minutes of every hour is for two to four year olds, then the next 20 minutes are for five to seven years of age, and the last 20 minutes of the hour are for kids aged eight and over. Caregiver supervision is still required.
At the Sound Booth, your child can ask to record anything they like, perhaps a song or a speech. You can find your sound recording on the museum’s Soundcloud page so you can play it again and again!
The entire idea of the Children’s Museum of the Arts is to get your hands on art, so dress appropriately. There are smocks available for the kids, but it is a good idea for everyone in the family to wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty.
There is a lounge where you can have a quick snack, and there is food for sale at the front desk. There is no full-service cafeteria on site, but there are plenty of places to eat nearby.