Free & Discounted Museum & Zoo Tickets For Students

Published on September 14, 2020, 5:34 pm
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Mayor Bill de Blasio today encouraged New York City public school students and their caregivers to explore some of the city’s cultural organizations this week ahead of the official start of school. The participating cultural organizations, which are offering free or discounted tickets, have started to reopen in recent weeks with rigorous new policies to protect the health and safety of staff and visitors.

“New York City kids continue to show their resilience every day. I am thrilled to see these extraordinary institutions open their doors to young people and families across the five boroughs,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Arts and culture are a critical part of New York City’s social fabric, and we thank these organizations for providing our kids with safe, educational activities before schools open next week.”

“The City’s cultural organizations have been great civic partners throughout the pandemic, with so many of our iconic institutions of all sizes offering fantastic virtual programming the last several months,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Although culture itself never closed, New York City’s cultural organizations are starting to reopen their physical spaces. I’m thrilled that these organizations are providing ways for students and their caregivers to connect with them once again as they focus on hyperlocal audiences.”

“The reopening of our cultural organizations has lifted New Yorkers’ spirits,” said New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. “We encourage young people and their families to engage with the amazing artwork and experiences provided by our incredible cultural organizations, where we go to be inspired and to make sense of the changes happening around us.” 

Participating organizations include:

  • American Museum of Natural History: The museum welcomes NYC schoolchildren and their caregivers back, with a hall to visit for every grade and every age. Tickets are pay what you wish for NYC residents. Reserve on their website here.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met is welcoming students and caregivers back to both their main building on Fifth Avenue, and to The Cloisters. For NYC residents, admission is pay what you wish. Closed to the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Reserve a timed ticket on their website here.
  • Morgan Library and Museum: The Morgan Library & Museum is providing free tickets to school-aged kids aged 18 and younger and their caregivers on September 16, 17 and 18. Advance reservation required. Families can email tickets@themorgan.org with desired date and time of visit. To plan your visit, please go to themorgan.org.
  • Museum of Arts and Design: Children under 18 are always free, and the museum is extending a special $5 ticket to caregivers with the promo code: NYC20. Reopening to the public September 17. Tickets may be reserved on MAD’s website here.
  • The Museum of Modern Art: MoMA has reserved a number of tickets for students and their caregivers this week. Interested families should email tickets@moma.org with their preferred day and time. All tickets will be free of charge. Open to Members only on Mondays. Visitors guide: here (note: families should email tickets@moma.org to book tickets).
  • National September 11 Memorial Museum: The Family Pass is intended for families or small groups up to five people exploring the city together. The package includes two adult and up to three child/young adult (ages 7-17) admission tickets to The Museum at a discounted price of $82. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Book on their website heret.
  • New Museum: Tickets are available for the museum’s first two weeks, starting September 15. Closed Mondays. Admission is free through September 27. Book on their website here.
  • South Street Seaport Museum: The Tall Ship Wavertree is open to guests on upcoming Saturdays, free of charge. Book timed tickets on their website here.  
  • Staten Island Museum: The museum will reopen on Saturday, September 19, and will offer visitors take away bags with activities from the Women of the Nation Arise! suffrage exhibit. Purchase your tickets through the museum’s website here.   
  •  Whitney Museum of American Art: Admission is Pay What You Wish through September. The Whitney is operating at a significantly reduced capacity for your safety, and same-day tickets may be extremely limited. All visitors must book timed tickets in advance. Tickets, visitor policies, updated hours and online events are available on the Whitney’s website here
  • Wildlife Conservation Society: The Wildlife Conservation Society is offering preferred admission access to WCS zoos and aquarium parents and guardians with children during the week of September 14. All tickets are date-specific and must be purchased in advance online at the individual parks’ websites – Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo. Additional community access included the traditional free Wednesday admission at the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium and those tickets are released on the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium websites on Tuesday of each week. Visit the zoo’s Know Before You Go page here.

New Yorkers should visit each organization’s website for full details on admissions and ticketing policies. For a list of other cultural groups that have re-opened or are reopening soon, visit NYC & Company’s websit here.

Virtual programming

For families who cannot visit in person, cultural organizations are providing kid-friendly opportunities for enrichment online:

  • American Museum of Natural History: For those who want to explore the Museum from home, AMNH has free virtual field trips for all ages that can be accessed here.
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum: BCM+You is a digital portal providing hands-on art-making activities connected with the BCM collection and community. All activities are available for families and educators on our website.  Additionally, in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program (BCAP) and WNET/Channel 13, BCM offers free online programming that guide viewers through activities such as time capsules, community flag making, makerspace offerings and more.
  • Materials for the Arts: MFTA, a creative reuse program run by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, has created a centralized online education center, with tips, guides, and lessons for how to transform re-purposed everyday items into creative tools to engage and inspire youth: here.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met Teens Instagram account will be engaging teens, and providing constant updates, programs, access to teen passes, and more throughout the week: here.
  • Staten Island Children’s Museum: With school back in session, parents and kids will find the Museum At Home webpage a great resource for continued learning and fascinating fun. It includes informational videos about their animal collection, suggested family adventure walks around Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens, how-to videos demonstrating science and art projects with materials commonly found at home, read-alouds of books for story time, printable activity sheets, and child-cook friendly recipes.
  • VirtualNYC: NYC & Company’s VirtualNYC platform rounds up the best online experiences—including recorded performances, digitized exhibitions, social media gatherings and virtual tours—from museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theaters and other venues all over the City. And the VirtualNYC Curator Collections feature provides curated lists of virtual experiences selected by leaders from NYC’s diverse cultural community.

“The WCS zoos and aquarium stand with the communities we serve,” said John F. Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “We recognize the struggles that families are facing as they navigate the new norms during the ongoing pandemic. Our important role as an educational resource for New Yorkers with children will continue to be a priority and we are proud to work with Mayor de Blasio on this initiative.”

“New York City is truly the arts and cultural capital of the world. Now is an ideal time to mask up and safely explore the rich and diverse offerings of our museums and cultural institutions across the five boroughs. VirtualNYC also offers excellent educational and engagement opportunities within our cultural community for those who may not be able to visit right now in person,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s president and CEO.

“The Museum has always been a destination for learning and being immersed in science and nature, particularly for families and school groups,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “With the Museum now open, the start of the school year is the perfect time for parents and caregivers to enjoy a family visit to some of our most iconic halls, to explore the natural world and take in a new exhibit such as “The Nature of Color.””

“The Museum of Arts and Design staff looks forward to visitors returning to our home at 2 Columbus Circle, beginning September 17, 2020,” said Wendi Parson, Deputy Director, Communications and Marketing for the Museum. “We will reopen with Brian Clarke: The Art of Light, a joyful exhibition featuring the UK-based artist’s colorful works in stained glass.”

“The Met is always here for all New Yorkers and we are pleased to welcome students, their families, and caregivers back to the Museum.  We hope you visit soon, at the Cloisters, the Main Building on Fifth Avenue, and online to enjoy our collection, programs, and tours,” said Dan Weiss, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“As an educational organization dedicated to the beginnings of the City of New York, the South Street Seaport Museum has long prioritized supporting New York’s excellent public school system. We are thrilled to make free tickets available to school-aged children and their caregivers to our historic ship Wavertree on 9/19 and 9/26. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept New Yorkers at home for the last six months, and now we are pleased to open the outdoor spaces of our flagship with new protocols in place to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff,” said Capt. Jonathan Boulware, President & CEO of the South Street Seaport Museum.

“The Whitney Museum of American Art exists to serve the public and now, more than ever, we are especially proud to be here for the City of New York.  We are very excited that we have extended Vida Americana: Mexican Muralist Remake American Art, 1925-1945 through January and hope all New Yorkers will visit us and take full advantage of pay-what-you-wish admission through the month of September,” said Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director.

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