I know that many people would not think of an art museum as a first choice to take their kids when in New York and I completely understand. Art is something you don’t just walk past, you need a few moments to take each masterpiece in and appreciate how old/fantastic/fascinating it is and that is quite hard to do with active kids who want to run and put all that great energy to good use.
While many people didn’t get why would we take our then 6 year old to MoMA and The Met of the course of a 5-day trip to New York, let me explain: our daughter loves art. Her favorites are Picasso and Van Gogh and she was the one saying “wait, I’m still looking at this painting!” – I guess we are lucky that she likes it (even though I know she has a limit).
At MoMA we spent about 2 hours and I really liked that we could see a lot of paintings from Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol among others; but I would rather have a museum full of Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh and spend a whole day there! Half way through the visit we decided to take a break from art and stay for a while at MoMA’s garden, which has a Paris’ Metro sign.
Since two museums in a day is too much, we left The Met for two days later. Well, I call it the “American Louvre”, because you really need more than a day to see it. We were there for 6 hours and didn’t see everything (a perfect excuse to come back!). Apart from the Monet, Renoir and other paintings, the big hit with our little one was the Egyptian wing; she was learning about hieroglyphs at school and she was our “mini guide”, which was sweet. But even her love for the art was not enough to keep going… honestly, after three hours all paintings are basically the same and your feet are sore, so we headed back to the hotel to relax until dinner time.
So here is my advice for you, regardless if you are going with kids or not to MoMA and The Met: don’t plan the two in one day! I would say to make MoMA a mid-afternoon visit (it’s not going to leave you that tired) and The Met an early morning visit (you will likely not see everything and your feet will be sore).
Also, if you have to pick only one to go with your kids I would say The Met should be your choice! The Egyptian wing alone will get your kids engaged and it will be a fun walk down memory lane from when you learned those things at school!
Links for more info:
* MoMA, at 11 W 53rd St New York, NY.
* The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), at 1000 5th Ave New York, NY.