About two years ago Westchester finally landed itself an official children’s museum. It’s small and it can seem minimalist compared to something like Philly’s Please Touch, but I think Rye’s Westchester Children’s Museum brings something much needed to our area. Plus it’s got a pretty beautiful location.
What Is It?
The Westchester Children’s Museum opened in 2016 and per its website, it hopes to build itself over time in phases to take advantage of its entire 20,000 square foot space. Today, roughly one third of the space is being used.
At first glance you might think the WCM is only for little ones, and while there is truth to the statement that kids ages 0-5 might have the most fun there, there is more to WCM than initially meets the eye.
The museum is set up as different adjoining rooms that focus on science, engineering and art based play. There are balls to race down tracks, wood to build with in the Construction and Architecture Design Gallery, and art to create in the Makerspace. There’s also a dedicated toddler area for ages 3 and under called Toddler Beach.
What makes the museum shine is the programming, included in your admission fee, happening daily. Drop into a music class or work with staff on an art project. On our visit, staff asked kids to build a contraption that was just the right weight to fly within an air tube for 10 seconds without either sinking or flying out the top first.
No this museum is not filled with tons of high tech gadgets and bells and whistles. But it is a lovey, clean, sun-filled learning space that encourages your child to actively play rather than get caught up in big sights and sounds. It reminds me of a beautiful preschool classroom and it’s quite “hip”, too. With Norwalk’s more “built up” Stepping Stones Museum being not too far away, I think the WCM provides a great contrast.
Though I visited just with my 4 year old, I saw several older children having a blast engaging in the science project I mentioned above or doing art projects independently.
Where Is it?
WCM is not just in Rye, it’s ON the Rye Playland boardwalk. While my little one played, I could not stopping staring out the window at the beautiful beach in front of me.
Consider a visit to WCM early this spring when the weather is still too cold to be outdoors for too long, but just warm enough to walk along the boardwalk for a bit without shivering.
Westchester Children’s Museum is located at 100 Playland Parkway in Rye, NY. It is open Wednesdays - Sundays from 10am until 4pm. Admission is $7.50 per person ($6.50 for seniors and free for ages 1 and under).