NYC off the Beaten Path: New York Transit Museum

NYC off the Beaten Path: New York Transit Museum

When people think about the New York City museums they love to take their kids to, usually the same places come up: the Museum of Natural History, the Met, MoMA, the Children’s Museum. Indeed, my girls love all these too. What’s not to love. But one of our favorite museums, one that’s smaller and not as well known, is the New York Transit Museum. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, it is off the beaten path, away from the tourists and crowds. Which in many ways is a good thing, because almost every time we’ve been there we’ve practically felt like we’ve had the place to ourselves. No crowds = happy kids.

The Transit Museum is located in what used to be an old subway station. In fact, finding the museum for the first time can be difficult – I literally did think the entrance was a subway entrance and not the museum itself. I hear that’s common. Once you enter it, however, you’re taken into the underground world of everything transit, including old subway trains, buses, and trolleys. Kids love to run around and try their hand at “driving” one of the buses or hopping on and walking up and down one of the trains. There are many of them actually, making the museum deceivingly much larger than one would think upon entering. In fact, it is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history. Who knew?

The museum has a variety of exhibits, including a popular one on the building of the 100 year-old NYC subway system, as well as highly interactive exhibits, such as “On the Streets”, which focuses on NYC’s trolleys and buses. With all the interactive activities the museum offers, there is plenty for the kids to do. What child does not like trains, trolleys and buses?

It is also, simply, a place to take your children on a rainy day (the last two days in the New York area saw rain and clouds straight through, which prompted me to write this) and let them walk and run around. Though I probably shouldn’t say “run”, as they discourage that, but you get the point. An interesting place where your kids will both learn something as well as stretch their legs on a day you would otherwise be cooped up inside. And the parents love it just as much.

The New York Transit Museum is a really neat, under the radar museum, not to mention with an awesome gift shop! We love it there so much that we even had my older daughter’s birthday party there years back. And at $7 for adults and $5 for kids 2+, it’s a no-brainer. Next time the weather is not cooperating and you need to entertain your little ones, you know where to go.

New York Transit Museum, corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorm Street, Brooklyn Heights. Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.

You may also be interested in some of our other New York posts:

Best Family Friendly Museums in New York City

Top 10 Family Attractions in Manhattan

Top 5 Family Attractions in the Bronx

Things to do with Kids in SoHo

One World Observatory: Complete Visitors Guide

New York Water Taxi: Best Way to See the City!

Wave Hill: NYC’s Hidden Gem

Off the Beaten Path: NYC’s the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park

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26 Comments

  1. Walter Scott
    June 17, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • June 18, 2015 / 1:05 am

      You’re welcome Walter – thanks for reading!

  2. Lyn Cook
    June 17, 2015 / 9:48 pm

    I grew up in NYC and never head of this museum. Thanks for sharing. It sounds great !

    • June 18, 2015 / 1:06 am

      It is – thanks for reading! We’ll go sometime.

  3. June 17, 2015 / 10:07 pm

    It is indeed a great museum. It is also a museum older grandparents can take the grandchildren and not feel overwhelmed. The exhibits are interesting and most informative. Good review

    • June 18, 2015 / 1:07 am

      That’s very true – it’s not an overwhelming museum at all. I forgot you’ve been there with us!

  4. June 18, 2015 / 11:31 am

    Have a spent many an afternoon at this museum – and miss it! Great place!

  5. June 18, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    I always forget you lived in Brooklyn too Elaine! How did we not see each other? I’m sure we did.

  6. bavariansojourn
    January 26, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    This looks fabulous. We love museums off the beaten track! 🙂

  7. January 26, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    I love this – I don’t think I’ve ever heard about it before, but one to add to my next NY list when I finally make it back with my daughter. She loved visiting the London Transport Museum depot near us on its open day, and the main London one is on my list too. #citytripping

    • January 26, 2016 / 9:29 pm

      I’ll have to keep those in mind for when we make it to London. We keep talking about visiting. The New York one is nice because it’s in an out of the way part of Brooklyn and never too crowded. Always key!

  8. January 27, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    That is great value for the largest museum of its kind and like you say, a great place to visit when the weather is not cooperating. Tin Box Tot loves riding on buses and trains so I’m sure she’d be in heaven! #citytripping

    • January 27, 2016 / 5:53 pm

      Thanks – yes if you make it to NYC soon be sure to check it out! The value can’t be beaten, and I like that it’s out of the way and in a different part of the city from many of the other museums. #city tripping

  9. January 27, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    You can’t beat a good transport museum for the under fives. I am shocked that the one in New York is not so popular. How odd. Still, other people’s loss is definitely your gain!

    • January 28, 2016 / 2:56 pm

      For sure – although it’s not that it’s not popular it’s more that it’s off the beaten track so it doesn’t get the traffic or buzz the other museums do. Which has its advantages. Thanks for reading!

  10. Wander Mum
    January 30, 2016 / 3:59 pm

    My daughter would LOVE this museum – what a perfect place for kids… Will check it out when we finally get to take the kids to NYC (love that city!) Thanks for linking to #citytripping x

    • January 30, 2016 / 4:34 pm

      Yes – def put on the list for NYC – can combine it with Brooklyn Heights – thanks!

  11. February 3, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    We have loved visiting New York before kids. I am determined to head there again with our little boy at some point and he would love this place. Definitely love finding more off-the-beaten-track stuff too. Brilliant.

    • February 4, 2017 / 6:38 pm

      I hope to be writing more off-the-beaten-tracks articles soon. Thanks!

  12. February 4, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    What a great place. We adore quirky under-the-radar museums like this. Between battling the crowds and ticking off the “must-sees”, the more “famous” museums can be occasionally challenging with kids, whereas this looks much more relaxed (and every bit as interesting). Thanks for educating me! #CulturedKids

    • February 7, 2017 / 12:07 am

      Thanks! We love under the radar museums as well (obviously) – and agree, just as interesting :).

  13. February 6, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    I love the fact that this is all inside a disused subway station! This looks like a great place for children to have fun as well as learn about transport – and it helps if you can avoid the stress of big crowds, too. Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids!

    • February 7, 2017 / 12:08 am

      Thanks – I know that’s my favorite part – the fact that I didn’t realize the entrance was the entrance!

  14. February 28, 2017 / 10:56 am

    I’m glad I found your blog as we’re coming to NYC in the summer. We love trains so might try this museum. #CulturedKids

    • February 28, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      Oh great – glad you found me! I have many more NYC family guides on the blog so check them out. Thanks!

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