What started out as a mission 17 years ago to create the borough’s first children’s museum is finally a dream come true that will positively impact the almost 200,000 children that call The Bronx home.
Yesterday, the borough came out to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony for The Bronx’s Children’s Museum’s official brick and mortar home at the landmark Powerhouse building inside Mill Pond Park along the Harlem River just north of 149th Street and south of Yankee Stadium after years serving the community from a converted school bus that traveled the borough.
Beset with construction delays, which was then compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-awaited opening of the museum was worth the wait as the resulting 13,000 square foot museum is a gorgeous space that Bronx residents can be proud of.
The Bronx Children’s Museum does an excellent job at not just providing a wide variety of educational and artistic experiences for children but at how they connect the space with The Bronx whether through its natural resources like the Bronx River or notable Bronxites that have made major contributions to our communities.
In the Water is Life section of the museum, which overlooks the Harlem River, there are interactive water features that represent the Bronx and Harlem rivers and even Orchard Beach as well as a model of the High Bridge. Through these features, children can learn about the aquatic environments and ecologies of The Bronx.
One of the most notable features of the museum that illustrates just how deeply they’re committed to highlighting the history of The Bronx and its people is the brightly colored and decorated Casita—the tiny, wood houses that are the central focus of the many community gardens found throughout the South Bronx that were central to the Puerto Rican community of the borough as a reminder of their homes back on the island.
Designed and decorated by local Bronx artist and illustrator, Charles George Esperanza, the inside of the casita is decorated with all the knickknacks you’d encounter inside an authentic one like old record albums of Puerto Rican musicians and groups, decorative figurines and the likes.
Esperanza also decorated the interior with portraits he created of local notable Bronxites like Sonia Manzano, the actor and writer who’s best known as Maria on Sesame Street, Sonia Sotomayor, the country’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Bill Aguado, who was the director for the Bronx Council on the Arts for almost 30 years, and Tanya Fields of the Black Feminist Project known for her work on food justice issues both in and out of The Bronx.
Speaking of the two famous Sonias from The Bronx, the museum also has a dedicated room called Sonia’s Corner in honor of both Sonia Manzano and Justice Sotomayor both of whom have been ardent supporters of the Bronx Children’s Museum.
The room is filled with children’s books as well as resources for the entire family.
Another section at the museum is the early learner’s area known as “The Nest” for children under the age of 3 where they can roam around and play with numerous interactive toys.
Everywhere you turn, there’s something to see or do and the space has been thoughtfully and beautifully designed easily making it one of the crown jewels of the artistic and cultural tapestry that makes up our borough.
Official opening date to the public is Saturday, December 3rd but tickets are already booked straight through the end of January so that means that unfortunately you’ll have to wait a bit longer to get in.
Currently, tickets are free for a limited time during the opening period and once that’s over, tickets for adults and children will be $8 and free for children under 1. Adults MUST be accompanied by a child as per museum rules and all children must be supervised by accompanying adult.
The Bronx Children’s Museum is located at 725 Exterior Street and is located on the second floor of the building.