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Help me narrow NYC museum choices (kids ages 16, 14 & 11)

Help me narrow NYC museum choices (kids ages 16, 14 & 11)

Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:36 AM
  #1  
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Help me narrow NYC museum choices (kids ages 16, 14 & 11)

Our family of 5 will arrive in NYC mid-afternoon on a Saturday and depart for Boston the following Thursday morning (so we have four full touring days). I'm trying to narrow down our museum choices to the ones that we'll all enjoy the most. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must. I was thinking of the Gugggenheim, but that was mostly to see the building, so that may have to wait until another trip due to the renovation. I'd also like to take the kids to Ellis Island. Should I try to fit in one more museum-type of experience? The Lower East Side Tenement Museum intrigues me; it looks like it would be interesting to the kids. I'm also interested in the Folk Art museem, but I may be the only one who'd love it.

Please help me narrow down my museum choices, or give me ideas I haven't yet considered.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Surely your #1 museum choice should be the American Museum of Natural History, over all of the others. Your children will love it, as will you.

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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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missypie, if you mostly want to see the Gugg for its architecture, it's so close to the Met you can just walk by. Go in the revolving door, stand in the lobby and look up(!) to get a sense of the interior without buying tix to see the art. (I haven't been paying attention to the construction, but I think it has to do with an addition and so hopefully shouldn't distract from seeing FLW's showpiece.)

For kids that age, the Tenement Museum should be a good bet. I'd suggest doing Ellis Island first, then head to the LES so you get a sense of where a lot of those people coming through immigration ended up. The Tenement Museum also gives good walking tours of the area - don't miss Donut Plant on Grand Street for a vintage sweet! There are lots of cool places to eat on the LES, and you can always easily head into SoHo from there. (You don't say if your kids are shop-happy girls or not LOL!)

What do your kids like? At the Met, you could check out the Costume Institute or the Arms and Armor (and of course the zillion things in between, not least of which is the just-reopened Greek and Roman art). There's the Museum of Radio and Television in midtown, the MoMA, even the Transit Museum just over the river in downtown Brooklyn.

The AMNH is always great - if your kids are into that kind of thing. (Go early, start at the top with the dinosaurs and work your way down, or go for an IMAX movie or the Rose Center; temporary exhibitions are usually very good too, though I didn't care for the current Gold exhibit enough to pay the extra $$. The cafeteria there, while pricey, is surprisingly good with everything from pizza to a fresh, varied salad bar and loads of sweet treats.)

I like the Folk Art museum, but unless your kids are into it, it might be a little much for them. The good thing is it's right next door to the MoMA, so if there's something there that would interest them, maybe you can pop next door and then reconvene? (There's also tons of shopping in the area, from the NBA store to H&M to American Girl Place and FAO Schwartz...)
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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I took my 13 yr. old to the Tenement Museum - you must reserve in advance (on line). We did the one where we visited the Italian (?) family. We went straight there from Ellis Island. It was a short visit but really worthwhile. BTW, as you face the museum, down the block to your right is a great gelato place (?Institute de Gelato, or something like that- very exotic (green tea, sesame) flavors- but when you come out of the museum, you're on the other side of the building.
The living history visits are the ones I think your kids will like the most.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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Why the musuem of Natural History? We went to the big natural histroy museum in Cchicago and got lost in the labrynth of exhibits and couldn't find our way out. That sort of dimmed our enthusiasm for natural history museums.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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The Tenement museum is well worth doing, in my opinion, and the Lower East Side is a really interesting neighborhood (although I'm biased, I lived there for 4 years). The Met is mandatory. If your family is REALLY into art, I'd suggest the Frick Collection. It is smaller, but has a fabulous collection in a unique setting. The Museum of Natural History is always fun.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:02 AM
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The Museum of Television and Radio sounds fantastic...but how do you EVER decide what to watch? I can see myself wanting to spend the whole week there. It just seems overwhelming!
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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The American Museum of Natural History in New York is the best of its kind in the world and should not be missed.

Your family could easily spend an entire wonderful day there.

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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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I so agree about the television choices!! Probably why I don't go that frequently - I get overwhelmed! It's great for a rainy day like today though...

The AMNH (nat history) is truly a great institution of its kind, and they've been doing a lot of renovation in recent years, so it's not all stuffy and dated. So if you're interested in trying again, IMO this would be the place to do it. However, if you're not into that kind of thing, do what you'll enjoy!!
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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ALF
 
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I assume that you are referring to Chicago's Field Museum? It is a pretty good museum, but it can't hold a candle to the American Museum of Natural History. To be sure, there are some ancient musty hallways of exhibits, but there are also some amazing modern exhibits that any kid will like. Best of all (IMO), is the nearly-new Rose Planetarium, which has spectacular architecture, exhibits, demos, and shows (http://www.amnh.org/rose/).

As for art museums, the Met is certainly hard to pass up, but the kids might get more out of the Museum of Modern Art.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Over spring break we went to Barcelona and visited the Picasso and Miro musuems...saw a lot of modern art. That's why I'm thinking of skipping the MOMA in favor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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(You do need to grab a map when you buy your tix for AMNH or it can be disorienting. Same goes for the Met - these institutions are vast and full of little rooms!)
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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The MoMA has cool exhibits on things like product design - where else will you see Tupperware behind a glass case? There's a helicopter and vintage cars, too, so it's a lot more than just painting and sculpture.

moma.org
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Yeah, the MOMA sounds fantastic, too. Obviously 4 1/2 days in New York is not enough time, but that's the way it is going to have to be. Trying to balance art, history, Broadway, shopping, eating, etc.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:24 AM
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mp
 
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One thing you might try is to integrate their most recent school curriculum into what you see - if the oldest has studied the Medival Europe, seeing the tapestries and arms and armor at the Met will bring those subjects alive for him/her. If American History was covered this year, Ellis island and the Tenement Museum will be especially rewarding.(an aside - most kids REALLY like the tenement museum tour because it is so vivid - you really get a feel for how life was lived) If your kids are into science, say astronomy, geology or anthropology, then AMNH will definitely engage them.

Why don't you ask THEM what they want to see? Or let each pick a particular subject/interest, do a little research beforehand and let each kid be the tour guide for the family . . . .
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Well and the other negative about the MoMA is cost - it's currently the most expensive museum in NYC, so their "free Fridays" end up a total zoo. (Not that you'd be able to take advantage of it anyway.)

I'd definitely plan your museums around other activities in the vicinity and let that help you decide. Otherwise, as always there's too much to do and too little time!
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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First - several of these museums are simply enormous - so go to the web sites so you can pick out n advance which things you wnat to see - or you could spend a couple of days in many of them.

for kids those ages:

Museums of Natrual History & Planetarium (greata dino exhibit, brilliant exhibit on human evolution, gallery of gemsn & minerals is fascinating - as well as several IMAX movies)

The Met - perhaps arms & armor, temple of dendur, costume institute, impressionist, egyptian department

Ellis Island Immigration Museum - absolutely brilliant (and you can view the Stateu of Liberty from the ferry)

Then - depending on people's interests - and you may want to split for some of these:

MoMA

The Frick

Tenement Museum

Museum of the City of New York
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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Your idea to look at the Guggenheim from the outside and skip the inside is absolutely correct. It's not worth going into anymore (and I say this as someone who watched them build it and loved it when they used the building correctly).

As you've determined, the Metroplitan should be high on your list and MOMA is always worth a visit, even at $20 a pop.

If you'ree looking for others, the Frick is great, both for the buidling and the art within (think of it as the polar opposite of the Tenement Museum). It's at 71st and 5th, just down from the Met.

I haven't been inside since its renovation, but the JP Morgan Library might also be of interest. It's at 36th and Madison.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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I think the MET will probably give them enough of a museum experience. How about the Bronx Zoo. If you join the Zoo as a family you then get free admission to the Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo and the Aquarium at Coney Island for an entire year. You also will get the Zoo Magazine as part of you membership so it would be something to share when you get home for the next year as well.

You could do a day at the beach and also see the Aquarium, reachable on the subway.

The Bronx Zoo has recently undergone some major rennovation and the kids will love spending the day there.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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My 14-yr.-old daughter liked the Metropolitan Museum but grew weary after a couple of hours. The same was true of the MoMA. She loved the Natural History Museum, including Rose Center Planetarium, where we spent an entire day. She even grabbed the camera and took about a hundred pictures. The Met is my favorite, but hers is definitely AMNH.
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