Museum Apps for New York City Kids

Being able to soak up some culture is one of the great things about living in the city. And going to one of the almost 100 museums in New York City can be really exciting for adults and kids, and can give families a great way to spend some quality time together and learn a little something in the process. But museum trips can sometimes be challenging for parents who want to keep kids interested (and make sure they can find the nearest bathroom … or exit!).


Not only do we love museums, but we also really like apps for our phone that actually enhance the things we do together as a family (rather than just distract us!). We recently came across three great family-friendly museum apps in Time out New York that help parents navigate different museum spaces in New York City and even provide some features that can act as fun teaching tools so everyone knows what they’re looking at.


American Museum of Natural History Explorer. The Museum of Natural History is a NYC icon. But with 500,000 square feet of things to see, finding your way around can be challenging. This app has a GPS system that gives you directions to exhibits, restaurants, shops, and, perhaps most importantly when kids are involved, bathrooms. It also provides theme-based tours – like the “Dino Tour” – with photos and text giving more information about popular exhibits. The information isn’t much different from the signs at the museum itself. But if you use it before you go to explain to your kids what you’re going to be seeing, it can help them get excited about the trip and hopefully make the experience more fun for everybody. This app is available only for Apple devices.


MoMA App. This app offers many different features to enhance your MoMA-going experience. And the “Modern Kids” tour function puts together museum tours meant to appeal to your little ones; it shows still images and plays accompanying audio that explains what they’re looking at in terms they can understand … and gives them activities along the way. For example, the audio for Jackson Pollock’s One:  Number 31, 1950 explains that the technique Pollock used to paint is much more complicated than it looks by having them look at the work closely then from a distance. This app works with all Apple and Android devices.


National Museum of the American Indian Infinity of Nations. This museum app has a feature called the Family Guide that gives three different perspectives – an artist’s perspective, a reporter’s perspective and a traveler’s perspective – of objects in the museum. It also offers a game called “Where is It;” kids are asked to go on a sort of scavenger hunt for specific items. You can also watch real-life videos of ceremonies, etc. that have used masks and different items in the museum, giving kids a chance to see the pieces they’re looking at in context. This app is only available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.


I hope you’ll be able to use these fun apps on your next NYC museum trip … or just try them now with your kids to bring the museum to you. And if you’ve found any more NYC cultural apps you really like, let us know in the comments section!


As you plan what to do next with your kids, check out our song “It’s Your Kid” below. All the time you spend together is special, and it goes by fast … enjoy it!   – Amelia and Harold