Free admission to families before 11am every Saturday and Sunday; does not apply to groups.
Totally Tots is the Museum's early childhood exhibition—just for children 5 and under, and their grown-ups.
Considering how large it is, they could have done so much more. I like the theme of exploring Brooklyn, and through Brooklyn exploring the world, but it really could be more interactive. Or the interactive parts just be more interesting. Don't get me wrong, my 5 and 2 year old had enough to do and enjoy for half a day, but it can't compare to the imagination of Philly's Please Touch Museum. The Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is much smaller, but they make much better use of their space. I think they have about the same amount of things to do. It's a good change of pace from CMOM since we go there frequently, but if I were visiting Manhattan I don't think it would be worth the trek out there. Unless you want to avoid the weekend crowds of CMOM.
We did really like little kid area for kids five and under. The water room was great! As well as the blue sand. It's also more educational for older kids in elementary school, especially as they look at various live animals. I really like the attempt in the grocery store to show how different families eat different foods. But there were no shopping carts, and the conveyor belt didn't work any more.
It's about 7 blocks away from the 3 train stop, but there is a cafeteria upstairs where you can eat. The cafeteria is run by a separate company, and you pay a small premium for food that is tolerable.
The Brooklyn Children's Museum was pretty good. The best area was for the 5 and set where the staff helps little ones paint or will read with them. The rest of the museum looks like it needs an update. There are lots to look at and see and do in the museum. Bring your own snacks and water there's no good cafeteria area. But there is a free coat and stroller check which is helpful in the city.
The BCM recently underwent renovations in an effort to revamp its collections, displays and navigation. I don't like the new look.
I recently returned to the museum and needed to add to my original review.
I still found it awkward to navigate the museum with my single stroller. Though it is a wide stroller, I don't believe a narrower model would make much of a difference. The ramps are in odd places and stairs and other obstacles make it difficult to reach, with the baby, all the areas that my 5 yr old son wanted to go to.
The exhibits are nothing too special. From what we looked at they are more a random collection of interesting stuff than a collection with a common theme.
The "tots" area downstairs did not seem to capture my 3 y.o.'s attention, though as a 5 year old he had far more engaging fun there playing at the water table and racing over the climbing equipment. Truthfully, I (still) feel the best part about the whole experience is the garden (which you are able to walk through to discover plants and animals).
The shops area, supposedly representative of the cultural melting pot that is Brooklyn, I thought was too stereotypical and more for a playhouse than a museum.
The special exhibition upstairs on balance needed staff to attend to it and to explain the activities to kids. There were a number of children recklessly throwing the blocks and playing with items in a manner that I am sure wasn't intended by the organizers of the exhibition.
Maybe I'm more traditionally minded, but I have seen museums elsewhere cater to kids in much better ways than this one.
My granddaughter really enjoyed herself. I was in Park Slope so it was a bit of a tek and we got confused with the trolley on the way back but the visit was totally worhwhile. if you have an only child it is a great place for them to find like minded (kids) to play with. Would recommend for 6 and under.
My niece was visiting from Ohio and I took her there. She had fun in all of the places where you could pretend, like the pizza parlor. I was expecting great things from it and was disappointed. The children's museum in her own town has way better stuff. It is not that conveniently located from the subway, so it was a long walk for a kid that was not used to walking. If I lived in Brooklyn, I would go again, but I never went back to take my own kids once they were old enough. Too much hassle for too little return.
Founded in 1899, this was the country’s first children’s museum. Housed in an underground four-level maze of interconnecting tubes and tunnels, there are dozens of hands-on and interactive exhibits that will excite and enchant all ages, and the museum’s collection of more than 20,000 natural-history specimens and cultural artfacts is fascinating. Family workshops and special performing arts programs, from theater to dance, highlight the multicultural diversity of New York.
The BCM is loads of fun for kids - especially the younger set. There's a partial NYC bus that kids love to pretend to drive, an indoor Brooklyn "neighborhood" complete with life size stores for pretend play (bakery, pizzeria, Chinese ethnic book store, grocery store), a pretend garden, a stream, lots of hands on activities, an art area, a dress up area, a reading corner, some dinosaur bones and a cafe. All in all my son thoroughly enjoyed his visit. It's nice that there is a playground across the street - we were meeting friends for a playdate and my son got to get some energy out in the nice weather before going indoors. But I did feel that the activities were a bit chaotic and parents were not so great about reigning their kids in when they got a little out of control - there was a lot of mixing of bigger and smaller kids in the "neighborhood" and garden. Aside from that admission is a bit pricey and the neighborhood is not convenient to the subway. We drove, but there's a busstop 1 block from the museum. It's worth the trip if you're in Brooklyn. Worth it if you're in Manhattan - just not in a convenient manner.