By Jak Burke,
Live in NYC? Chances are your baby is a culture vulture. But our infants come into the world with differences. Some babies are audio or visual, or tactile stimulated. So what’s on offer?
Natural History Museum – www.amnh.org
New York Hall of Science – www.nysci.org/
The Guggenheim (stroller tours) – www.guggenheim.org/
The Whitney (stroller tours) – http://whitney.org/?gclid=CKPSicue1coCFcUXHwodwa8O0A
Children’s Museum of Art – http://cmany.org/?gclid=CMmk5fCe1coCFQEuHwod4x8N7g
Brooklyn Children’s Museum (has a padded baby hub) – http://www.brooklynkids.org/
Children’s Museum of Manhattan (playworks area) – http://cmom.org/
It’s vital that your baby doesn’t associate their first museum trips with boredom or anxiety. Our infant’s new synapses are firing on all pistons and how they experience early enrichment will set them up for a life-time of learning-love or learning-hate. Here some handy tips:
- Book the best time for your trip. Avoid times that are most likely to be busy, such as late mornings (school trips), or afternoons (tourists) or weekends (locals). The best time is as soon as a museum opens in the morning. If that time collides with your baby’s nap then plan to visit later.
- Plan ahead. Check online to see which exhibitions will best suit your infant’s needs. Anything too loud or bright should be avoided. Visit the cultural institution’s website for facilities like baby changing stations, breast-feeding areas and stroller parking. If you have a toddler and you don’t want your child to eat cafeteria fast food, bring along wholesome snacks and a packed lunch. Most museums are warm in the winter and cool in the summer, so dress your baby accordingly.
- Time. You will not want to over-stimulate your baby no matter how exciting the exhibitions are. So choose one floor or exhibition and then give your baby a change of scenery. Fortunately, for many New Yorkers, our best cultural institutions are often located beside beautiful parks. So once our baby gets fussy we should head for some fresh air and a more natural environment.
Live in NYC with a baby? What’s your favorite museum?