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Metropolitan Museum of Art

There’s a reason the Metropolitan Museum of Art is world-renowned: its collection is encyclopedic and breathtaking, filled with recognizable masterpieces but also with works that expose you to artists or art forms you might know less intimately. It’s an ideal place to start building an appreciation for art and art history in young children, and a range of family-focused programming and resources aims to help make your visit as illuminating as possible.

We began a recent visit by picking up a Family Map at the Information Desk. My daughter loved having something of her own to hold and look at as we toured the galleries, and the poster on the reverse of the map gave us a number of things to point out or bring up in conversation as we worked to keep her engaged. I didn’t know about the series of thematic Family Guides, some of which are also available at the Information Desk, but they look like a wonderful resource and it would be fun to pick one or two to focus on for a future visit (you can download the full range online ahead of time).

As I start to familiarize my daughter with the museum and its holdings, we’ve had good luck with areas I enjoyed as a child while visiting with my family: Egyptian Art (especially the Temple of Dendur), Arms and Armor, Musical Instruments, and Modern and Contemporary Art. For those who have slightly older children, the museum offers a tailored audio guide for kids featuring 13 different tours aimed at children aged 6-12. There’s also a range of interactive family-friendly programming.

What can sometimes be a challenge at the Met is fighting the urge to see it all. The museum itself is huge, and I’ve noticed we have better visits when we keep our time there on the shorter side and concentrate on one or two areas of the museum before bringing our visit to a close while everyone is still in good spirits. It also helps that there are a number of places where one can take a bit of a break from the galleries themselves without leaving the museum. The roof, open seasonally, has a commissioned work of art, fantastic views of Central Park, and a bar with drinks and light food options. There’s also the Nolen Library, which has a children’s reading room filled with books about art, computers with art-related games, and story time (for children 18 months – 6 years old) offered most days of the week. Taking a break for a quick bite or a full meal is also an option, as the museum offers a cafeteria and two cafés.

However you shape your visit, it’s difficult not to feel inspired as you wander through the museum’s grand spaces – perfect for instilling a sense of wonder and admiration in the next generation of art lovers.

Additional notes:

  • As of now (May 2017), admission prices are suggested only – you can pay whatever amount you feel comfortable with. Tickets include same-day admission to The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters as well.
  • Strollers are allowed in nearly all areas of the museum, but backpacks, luggage, and other large packages/bags must be checked at the coat check.
  • When visiting The Met we like to stop either before or afterward at the Ancient Playground, just north of the museum in Central Park between 84th and 85th Streets.
  • For a dining option outside the museum, Café Sabarsky, located in the Neue Galerie Museum for German and Austrian Art nearby at 5th Avenue and 86th Streets offers lovely Viennese pastries alongside a full breakfast and lunch menu.

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July 24, 2017

[…] castle is a short walk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the east side of the park and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater on the west side of the […]


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