My kids aren’t allowed to have Instagram accounts, and my wife and I are not big ’gram users. Mainly because I look awful in selfies. So none of us have had much interest in the recent spate of pop-up “museums”—Dream Machine, Color Factory, Rosé Mansion, Room for Tea, Candytopia, the Egg House, the Pint Shop, the Toilet Plunge (just kidding on that last one, but who knows what will come next?)—designed for the sole purpose of snapping highly shareable photos.
Until this weekend. We’ll be visiting the Museum of Illusions ($19 for adults; $15 for kids 6–13; free for kids 5 and younger), a new “intriguing visual, sensory, and educational experience” that opened in late September in Chelsea. I’m usually wary of events and places described as “experiences,” but several of my colleagues have visited the MOI and assured me that, although there are enough photo ops to please the ’grammers, the museum is a lot smarter than your typical pop-up. In fact, it may not be a pop-up at all. The owners leased the space for 15 years and have long-term ambitions for their collection of brainteasers and optical illusions. So while you can take a funky photo that looks like your head is on a platter—and I have to admit, this sounds right up my kids’ alley—and one where you’re playing poker with five versions of yourself thanks to some well-placed mirrors, you can also solve puzzles, figure out the tricks behind common illusions, and learn how and why your brain plays tricks on you.
Our smart and sophisticated partnerships associate, Carolina Ramirez, and her boyfriend (they’re the adorable guy and gal in the photos) had so much fun there that she says they “laugh cried.” So we’ll give it a shot. Besides, who am I kidding? I’ve dragged my kids to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the New-York Historical Society (I’ll never understand that hyphen), the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, and yet their favorite museum of all time remains Ripley’s Believe It or Not!.
5 More Ways to Get Out of the House This Saturday
- Make it a weekend of boutique museums! Visit some of our other favorite underrated NYC gems.
- Eat fried food and drink beer on the water at Taste of the Seaport, which includes live music and kids’ activities. Visit the Imagination Playground at South Street Seaport while you’re there.
- If you don’t mind the kids in your bed tonight, take them on a family-friendly ghost tour of the West Village today at 4:30 p.m.
- Decorate sugar skulls, get your face painted, and hear stories and music from the acclaimed Los Villalobos Brothers at El Museo del Barrio’s Dia de los Muertes.
- Be one of the first to explore the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s latest exhibition, “TapeScape,” a giant interactive web made entirely of the sticky stuff. Hide the duct tape when you get home!