The buzz on the Westchester Children’s Museum

A few weeks ago, on a rainy cold day we headed to Rye to visit the Westchester Children’s Museum. Right next to Playland on the boardwalk in a large nondescript building that was hard to find save a small sign, lies the first four finished rooms of the museum. Parking is available at the Rye Playland lot for $2. The cost to get in was $7 per person regardless of age, and with two curious one-and-a-half-year-olds in tow, it wasn’t hard to get our money’s worth. 

For the limited space, there were certainly many friendly and helpful staff members to interact with on our journey down the long corridor that is the museum. Our kids spent the most time in the first room, a large track course with waves and curves to roll balls down. 

Though they were too young to understand how the tracks worked or position the balls at the starting points themselves, they loved watching them go down the tracks and chasing them around the room. 

We could have spent more than a half hour just at that one exhibit. To the side of that room is an area with books and a few soft pieces of furniture, as well as a triangular infinity mirror that they enjoyed exploring. 

The next room had an ocean theme. There was a small wooden lighthouse with a slide that children could climb into and slide down, and a soft toddler play area that was surprisingly different than any kiddie gym I’ve been to (and if you’ve seen more than three, you’ve probably seen them all!) 

The mats were softer and rounder. Our little ones loved throwing themselves on to the undulating waves of the mats and climbing in the foam “fish tank.” 

In the next part of the room was a shapes and colors exploration area for toddlers, followed an architecture/building area for older kids. 

Our toddlers enjoyed interacting with the piles of building sticks, but this was really aimed toward the Lego set, with examples from design and architecture of what can be done with some simple wooden shapes called Keva planks. We can imagine older kids spending a lot of time at this exhibit.

The fourth room was a more scientific/arts-and-crafts room also geared towards slightly older kids. Our toddlers enjoyed the magnetic gear wall, but the exhibits about magnetism, wind power, and the craft projects were beyond their wheelhouse. We sat them down with crayons at the craft tables, but they didn’t stay focused on drawing for too long. A sleeper hit with them was the shadow puppet wall, a simple but surprisingly fun exhibit. 

You can position various cutouts (or create your own!) to create your own story or show. The very back room is snack area, which was perfect after almost 90 minutes of exploration on a day where eating outside by the ocean isn’t an option. There’s no café or food here yet, so bring snacks.

It was a nice, small, friendly, not-crowded outing, which for a children’s activity in Westchester, is hard to come by! Our kids would have spent more time going back through the rooms on the way out had not a nap meltdown and a rainstorm been looming ominously. I recommend giving this place a shot before its size and hype grow so much it turns into Stepping Stones (not that that’s a bad thing…).