Love/Hate relationship with the Children's Museum of Manhattan

OHhhh boy. The mind numbing second floor of the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM).  The theme: The Adventures of Dora and Diego!  No benches or chairs for the parents to sit, which encourages the helicopter moms/nannies to force suggest my kids to take turns or worse: SHARE. I don't know who this mom is sitting with the yellow shoes (above), but I relate to her. Bulky unfashionable backpack. Fist of Fury. The Not Again - Where's My Kid Now? neck turn.  I always praise myself for taking my kids here. Something easy and classic like: I'm the best mom in the world for sitting next to a painting of Benny the Bull. And so is she. And her. And her. 
As much as I would like to make fun of CMOM, I go all the time. Twice this week!  Read on to see my tips for making the most out of CMOM.
1. Go in with low expectations. Don't compare it to any children's museum you've ever visited. The three I've been to (Brooklyn, San Jose, and Bay Area), are at least triple the size. Like most things in Manhattan, I get the sense that they are squeezing in as much as the can with the small space they have. 
2. A lot of the kids who go to this museum are around 18 months old. That means it's super packed from 10am-12:30. The slowest times are from 12:30-2:30 because lunch/nap time sends the littles home. Go then!
3. That being said, I think most of the best exhibits are geared for kids under the age of 6. This museum is especially exciting for 3-4 year olds.  
4. The best restrooms are on the Lower Level floor. Not the 3rd floor, too busy. 
5. I adore the Lower Level for more than it's bathroom. It has a huge room with boxes filled with not so traditional building blocks. The shape is described as being long and thin, like a plank. I tried to find the blocks online, but learned they are specially designed for CMOM.  The activity is simple, quiet, and fun for me and the kids. I could stay down there all day but once the boys start chanting, "I want to go see Dora, Mom! DOra! DORA!", I give up on building my dream block city. 
6. The 4th floor is the same way. Quiet, a few things are broken, and more simple exhibits. 
7. No food is aloud anywhere in the museum. I recommend Artie's Deli for a meal or Cafe Deux Mergot for a small snack.
Despite it's setbacks, the boys love everything about CMOM. I love that it's walking distance from my house, and that it's a great place to spend three hours when the weather is horrible. It's displayed the same exhibits since I moved here, so I'm excited to check out the new Curious George exhibit on the first floor. It will open on June 11th.  Let the new chant begin: "I want to see Curious George, Mom! George! GEORGE!" Oh, all right. Fine. Let me knock over my block city first.  
So how did I do? Do the pictures capture the feelings of the Dora floor at CMOM? Do you have a children's museum in your town? Love it or Hate it? 


  1. Can we please go together? I have a pass and never use it. Just text me next time you head over there!

  2. UGH! I hate it when moms hover over their children telling them how to play. (Is that what you meant by helicopter mom?) I too have a bulky backpack (better than a big pink diaper bag, right?) One of your best posts was the video of one of the boys carefully checking out the fake food at a museam and then throwing it all over the floor. You should repost that.

  3. hailey: yes, i'll text u for sure. i would love to spend a day with you at the happiest place on earth!
    jeannine: haha. i love that post of owen. i'll look for it. good idea.

  4. Children's museums always have the fun stuff!

    I never remember anything about any other of the museums I visit...

    & a Dora and Diego floor? How amazing is that?

  5. we were there too. sorry we missed you! the weather was horrible wasn't it?!

  6. We are 4.5 hours away from a children's museum. Sigh.

  7. My grandkids love it--I kinda hate it!!!


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