Heart of Brooklyn is a wonderful cultural partnership founded in 2001 by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Alliance, Prospect Park Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Dedicated to promoting Brooklyn as the astounding place it is, the partnership works in concert to make its world-class collections more accessible to the public. It’s a wonderful resource for parents and their children living in Brooklyn and the neighboring boroughs, so we thought we’d explore each of the institutions involved!

Located in Crown Heights, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum was founded in 1899, and was the first museum created expressly for children – its success set off a flurry of growth, resulting in the over 300 children’s museums that exist around the world today. The key mission and vision of the museum is to engage pre-schoolers through high schoolers in “learning adventures”, through the use of innovative educational exhibitions and programs that explore world cultures, the arts, sciences and environment.

They recently completed an ambitious eco-friendly expansion project, doubling the available museum space to allow for a more comprehensive display of their permanent collection, which contains nearly 30,000 objects that run the gamut from musical instruments, sculpture, masks and dolls to minerals, fossils, an entire elephant skeleton and dinosaur footprints. The renovation incorporated the latest innovations in sustainable architecture and used renewable and recyclable materials wherever possible; as such, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is New York City’s first “green” museum, having been awarded the LEED-Silver certification by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. 

In addition to the permanent collection artifacts now on show, there are a number of other, more specific exhibits worth a visit. Green Threads focuses on exploring sustainable choices by using the museum’s very own renovations to build the skills children need to “think green”. Neighborhood Nature gives children a hands on look at the flora and fauna in our own backyards. World Brooklyn let’s you partake in the incredible cultural diversity in this amazing borough through a series of interactive social experiences. Special needs children are welcomed in the Sensory Room, where they’re free to explore activities designed to stimulate their visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular and gross motor senses. In Totally Tots, it’s all about toddlers and their parents exploring the vibrant, whimsical world waiting within.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is an invaluable space, where children are encouraged to learn and grow in a way that’s natural and fun for them – and you get to be right by their side!