When I reached out to some friends on Facebook for tips on where to go in NYC for our recent trip, a few friends recommended MoMath – the National Museum of Mathematics. My kids initially thought that a museum of math sounded boring, but after I reminded them how much they love the Boston Museum of Science, they eagerly agreed to check it out.
Because we had plenty of time on our family vacation, so there was really no risk in visiting. I’m so glad that we did decide to add a trip to MoMath, because my kids end up loving it.
MoMath, which opened in 2012, is located at 11 E 26th St, in the Flatiron District by Chelsea. We were able to take a nice leisurely walk from our hotel – the Westin Grand Central. It’s also right near Eataly NYC, which would be a great place to stop for lunch before or after your trip, and is also near Madison Square Park. Depending on where you are staying in NYC, you may prefer to take a cab or Uber there.
Review of MoMath – the National Museum of Mathematics in NYC
I had planned for our trip to the Museum of Mathematics to be in the afternoon. We decided to eat lunch first and then visit the museum. It was a great choice, because a few school groups were just leaving as we entered. I’m not sure what the school trip schedule is, but I suspect they regularly visit earlier rather than later.
Admission to the two-story museum is currently $18 for adults and $15 for children, and tickets can be purchased online. We didn’t, and instead were able to buy tickets at a computer kiosk at the entrance before we headed into the museum.
If you do purchase tickets online, you’ll receive a $1 per ticket discount. You won’t have to choose a specific date for your visit, and tickets purchased online are valid for nine months after purchase. Those who have purchased online tickets can head to a kiosk at arrival to receive the actual tickets.
Note that sometimes the museum is closed or at capacity – check the online schedule in advance of your arrival. I’d imagine this may be the case during school vacations in NYC. It isn’t a huge museum.
Closed-toed shoes are required for some of the attractions at the Museum of Mathematics. It’s a good idea to make sure your kids are wearing them, especially when you are visiting in the summer, when your kids may be wearing sandals.
MoMath Interactive Exhibits
Upon entering the museum, the kids were immediately drawn in to the interactive exhibits. As the school groups slowly left after we arrived, the museum was surprisingly quiet. We almost had it to ourselves, but that was probably due to the fact that NYC schools were in session during our spring break. Our visit was during a weekday.
The kids enjoyed visiting each section, and we found the staff to be very helpful with explaining how they worked. They spent much of their time at the Pattern Paints, Square-Wheeled Trikes, and Motionscape on the first floor. I had to convince them to move down to the basement level to check out more exhibits. Down there, they enjoyed the Tessellation Station, where they used patterned designs to create a larger design, and the Tile Factory.
Some of the more popular exhibits at MoMath include the following:
- Coaster Rollers
- Pattern Pants
- Hoop Curves
- The Mathenaeum
- Tracks of Galileo
- Tile Factory
- Robot Swarm
All of these exhibits are fun to play with, but are great to help teach kids how math can be used in the real world. If you’ve got kids that think “we’ll never use this after school”, MoMath is helpful is showcasing real-life applications.
I let my kids lead the way as we went through the museum – even as they returned to some of the same exhibits several times. There were a few things they wanted to experience several times. Luckily, since the museum wasn’t very crowded, this was easy to do.
The National Museum of Mathematics is relatively small, and can be seen in a half-day visit. There’s also a small gift shop, as well as several classrooms where programs are held. My kids really enjoyed our visit, and they were definitely surprised at how fun math could be.
While my kids were 9 and 11 during our visit, I think older and younger kids would appreciate it as well. It is definitely more of a kids’ museum, however, so older kids studying math may not find it as interesting.
The museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week, 364 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving Day). It does close at 2:30pm on the first Wednesday of every month. In my experience, the museum is quieter during the week, later in the day when the field trips are gone (although your experience may differ, especially in the summer).
To learn more, visit the MoMath website.