Educational Places and Activities in New York City

A Learning Experience

Visiting New York City can be that amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience for any visitor. And it can also be educational in many ways. With plenty of museums, historical attractions, children's activities, and more, New York isn't just entertaining, it's also a learning experience for the whole family. Adults and kids alike will thrive in this dynamic city full of culture, science, art, theater, nature, history, and math (yes, even math!). For your next visit, here are our recommendations for making your trip to New York educational and inspirational.
New York Transit Museum
New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is housed in a former subway station near Brooklyn's Borough Hall. Kids love this museum and it's small, so you can pass through it in about an hour and see the cars of a vintage subway train, or sit in the driver's seat of a city bus. The museum walks you through more than a century of transportation history in New York City.
99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum. It has an impressive collection of museum ships and they also offer planetarium shows as well as Astronomy Family Nights. The museum is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street, along the Hudson River, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan.
Pier 86, W 46th St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10036
Planning a trip to New York City? You might also be interested in Where to Take your Dog in New York City and The Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife in New York City.
Bronx Zoo
Bronx Zoo
Located in Bronx Park, the Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States. With over 265 acres of habitats and park area full of animal exhibits, educational resources, and more, this is a destination for the whole family. And it's popular, too, as over 2 million people visit every year. Some of the more popular exhibits include the lions, red pandas, bison, cheetahs, sloths, and the World of Birds area featuring species from around the world. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
Jungleworld Road, Lambert Houses, NYC, New York, 10460
New York Botanical Garden
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, this 250-acre site is on the list of historic landmarks in addition to housing a huge and gorgeous collection of flora and stunning landscapes. Open every day except Mondays, this destination in of itself draws large crowds, especially in the warmer months. It also operates molecular labs, educational programs, cooking classes, kid-friendly events, art exhibitions, and other events to bring in crowds. The building itself is architecturally significant, as it combines a historical beauty with a practical approach to protecting and growing the plants. (Admission on Wednesdays is free!)
Belmont, NYC, New York
American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
This is one of the largest museums in the world and it is made up of 28 interconnected buildings that house 45 permanent exhibition halls. There's also a planetarium and a library. The museum's collection includes more than 33 million specimens of animals, plants, minerals, fossils, rocks, and more.
180 Central Park West, Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10024
9/11 Memorial and Museum
9/11 Memorial and Museum
This memorial commemorates the tragic loss of life felt on September 11, 2001 when suicide-piloted planes flew into the two towers of the World Trade Center. More than 3,000 people were killed as a result of the attacks on that day. The memorial is designed with a series of cascading waterfalls, recessed pools, and bronze panels that show the names of those killed during the attacks. The museum shows photos, videos, and artifacts from the events. It is recommended you purchase tickets in advance to visit the memorial. You can also visit for free on Mondays between 3:30 and 5:00, but reservations are still required.
180 Greenwich Street, NYC, New York, 10007
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
The Hamilton Grange National Memorial is the home and burial site of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The mansion showcases the restored historical rooms of the house, along with an interactive exhibit showcasing the history and life of Hamilton.
160 Convent Avenue, NYC, New York, 10031
Liberty Science Center
This is an interactive science museum and learning center that is found in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It was New Jersey's first significant science museum and it also has a planetarium and a number of educational resources.
222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, New Jersey, 07305
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: Things to Do in the Winter in New York City and New York City: Off the Beaten Path Things to Do.
Queens Zoo
This 18-acre zoo in Flushing Meadows is home to a huge collection of animal exhibits that the whole family will enjoy. Don't miss the sea lions, bison, bald eagles, and other animals from the Americas. The farm animal section is a popular favorite with the little kids, too.
Corona, NYC, New York
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium first opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, but it's been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island since 1957. It's been operational since 1896, making it the oldest continually running aquarium in the US. The aquarium offers interesting exhibits and educational experiences including a shark tunnel that guests of all ages can enjoy. They offer free admission on Wednesday afternoons, but charge admission fees all other times.
NYC, New York, 11224
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
This interesting museum located in the Museum Mile on the Upper East Side is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum showcases design aesthetic, creativity, contemporary design, and showcases other interesting related works of art and design.
2 East 91st Street, NYC, New York, 10128
New York Hall of Science
This hands on science and technology museum has more than 400 exhibits that focus on biology, chemistry, and physics. It's perfect for kids and adults who are interested in engineering, math, and science. There are exhibits about robots, outer space, design, and light.
47-01 111th St, Queens, NY, 11368
Hayden Planetarium in the American Museum of Natural History
As part of the American Museum of Natural History, this is the most famous and popular planetarium in New York City. It offers a number of shows that are impressive, educational, and entertaining. The facilities are state-of-the-art and much of the programming was developed in partnership with NASA.
The American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
Bronx Children’s Museum
This rolling museum is located in an actual bus! It has temporary exhibits and travels throughout the the Bronx, offering programs for young kids, particularly in under-served neighborhoods. You'll find the museum at a number of events around town.
The Bronx
If you're looking for more information about New York City, read The Best Science Museums in New York City and The Best Children's Museums in New York City.
Historic Richmond Town
Historic Richmond Town is an authentic town and farm museum on Staten Island. It's a living history museum that's part of La Tourette Park and it brings everyday life from the 19th century into today. Many of the buildings are historical structures and the staff make up the community of a 19th century small town, each representing a different trade.
441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10306
Brooklyn Children's Museum
This is one of the earliest museums designed specifically for children. Established in 1899 it offers an impressive collection of fun, games, and activities that encourage kids to learn and play. There are musical instruments, masks, dolls, fossils, and more. There's even a kid's sized cityscape with pretend stores and activities where kids can make up jobs and pretend they're adults.
145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11213
Jewish Children's Museum
This children's museum teaches kids about Jewish history, culture, and heritage in a fun and hands-on learning environment.
792 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY, 11213
The Morgan Library & Museum
This institution began as the private library of J. Pierpont Morgan and it was donated to the city. It includes drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. There are three Gutenberg Bibles, and a copy of Frankenstein annotated by Mary Shelley, as well as manuscripts by Dickens, Poe, Twain, Steinbeck, and Wilde. There's also sheet music handwritten by Beethoven and Mozart.
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY, 10016
Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
MoMATH offers kids the opportunity to visualize math and engineering in a fun and playful way. There's a laser "wall", a Math Square, a Jumbotron, and more. Whether your kids love math or need a gentle nudge, this museum will bring it all to life.
11 E 26th St, New York, NY, 10010
New Jersey Sea Life Aquarium
Located just over the river on the New Jersey side, this aquarium is very close to New York and Manhattan in particular. And it's worth the trip, because here you'll find a huge array of fish and aquatic species to gaze upon and learn about. They have sharks, seahorses, clownfish, stingrays, and more. The entire aquarium has a New York City theme to it, which adds to the fun. And one of the best and most popular exhibits is the tunnel that takes you under the massive tank so you can look up at the fish as they swim above you.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Planning a trip to New York City? You might also be interested in Planetariums Near New York City and The Best Art Museums in New York City.
DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society
This museum is designed with kids in mind. There are hands-on displays that take you back in time 350 years to learn about the history of NYC. Kids are encouraged to climb and interact with the exhibits that look at the lives of historical figures. There are also family programs available including cooking classes, scavenger hunts, games, and story time.
170 Central Park West, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
Children's Museum of Manhattan
This hands on museum is perfect for kids who want to get their energy out, play, and explore. The museum's exhibits are designed to be touched and played with and kids will learn about culture, history, and science in a fun and hands on way. This museum is perfect for young kids that are 6 and under.
212 W 83rd St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $12 to $1,099. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $118. A few of the best options are below.

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New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: Things to Do In New York City on a Rainy Day and An Art Lover's Guide to New York City.
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