You may be familiar with the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and its outstanding galleries, exhibitions and phenomenal film series. But you might not realize it’s a destination for the whole family — with programming for all ages.
For starters, general admission to the museum is always free for children ages 17 and under. That means entry to the galleries, drop-in workshops and drop-in tours for your kids are all free! Complimentary museum admission is also offered to EBT cardholders. Additional tickets are required for film screenings and special programs.
No trip to the museum is complete without a visit to Inventing Worlds and Characters on the third floor, with galleries dedicated to Animation, Effects and Encounters. You can either start your trip here or make it your destination — you might not be able to soak it all up in one trip. Here you’ll find a focus on animation, special and visual effects, and genre films of science fiction, fantasy and horror.
The Animation gallery has been recently updated, with new concept art, maquettes, puppets, costumes, miniature models, animatronics and more on display. Here you’ll find original Mary Blair illustrations for Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953), alongside cel setups for films including Kiki’s Delivery Service(1989) or stop-motion puppets from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) next to concept art from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
The Effects gallery offers visitors a chance to learn about landmark innovations in special effects throughout movie history and explore mechanical, optical and digital effects on display, like the miniature aluminum T. Rex input device used for Jurassic Park (1993).
If you visit on a Friday afternoon between 1 and 3 pm, you can drop in for a free tour led by museum educators. In April, our Drop-In Tours will focus on the Encounters gallery, exploring movie monsters, costumes, props, and more. These conversations will cover unique themes and designs, elements of the moviemaking process, and ground-breaking characters and creators. Visitors will venture into the depths with the Amphibian Man, fight back against the Empire with R2-D2 and C-3PO, and journey through sci-fi history with Ben Burt’s Behold installation. Meet educators in Stories of Cinema, on Level 3 in the Rolex Gallery.
The museum also hosts Drop-In Workshops for Families year-round. On the first three Saturdays of every month, you and the family can drop in for a midday workshop (designed for families with children ages 2 and up) themed around an exhibition, program or film screening. Past workshops saw families design their own cinematic costumes and production design, make their own 3D glasses or zoetropes, and learn about stop-motion with LAIKA animators.
The museum hosts a monthly Drop-In Workshops for Teens as well. On the third Friday of every month, teens ages 14 and up can learn about career paths in film, create film-related art and have hands-on experience in animation, special effects and more. All of our workshops are tied to exciting exhibitions and programs at the museum, so check our calendar for what’s coming up this spring.
Family Matinees Every Saturday
But that’s not all. There’s even more to do on Saturdays with our ongoing Family Matinees film series. Every Saturday at 11 am, a G- or PG-rated film shows as part of a monthly theme. These screenings require tickets, but entry is only $5 and includes access to the post screening Drop-In Workshop at 12:30 pm.
This April, the museum is celebrating Earth Day with environmentally focused films, including Microcosmos (1996), The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002) and Pixar’s WALL-E (2008). May is Jewish American Heritage month, and we’re screening classics and rarities that depict Jewish life onscreen with care and affection. Bring the whole family to Hand in Hand (1961), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and An American Tail (1986).
On the last Saturday of every month, experience Calm Mornings, when the galleries open early at 9 am with sound and lighting adjustments for a more sensory-friendly viewing experience — a great chance for visitors who are neurodivergent to experience the museum. The Family Matinee movie on Calm Mornings is an accommodative screening where we offer open captioning, keep the theater dimly lit and maintain a lower volume. Our next two Calm Morning matinees will be The Lego Movie (2014) on April 29 and Muppets Most Wanted (2014) on May 27. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the creativity behind movie magic in our galleries, catch an old favorite or contemporary classic at the theater or experience a hands-on workshop with your little ones, there’s something for everyone at the Academy Museum. We’re constantly updating our calendars with new programs, exhibition updates and learning opportunities. Plan your visit today at Academymuseum.org/Fun-For-Families.