The American Museum of Natural History is located in the Upper West side of New York City. It covers 25 buildings that house over 46 permanent exhibits and the Rose Center for Earth and Science which includes the Hayden Planetarium. The exhibits cover habitat dioramas of African, Asian and North American mammals, a full-size model of a Blue Whale, a massive 31 ton piece of the Cape York meteorite, and the "Star of India", the largest star sapphire in the world. Cost is by donation, you do not have to pay the suggested rates.
Museum is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Discounts combination discounts available.
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world's great science museums. Since it's founding in 1869, it has carried on it's mission of scientific research, education and exhibition. I was blown away by the vastness of the museum. It rivals anything in Washington, D.C. As we first exited the subway at Central Park West at 79th Street, the kids began getting excited as they spotted the dinosaur mosaics on the subway walls.
Enter the museum and you're in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, underneath the magnificent sphere of the Hayden Planetarium. The Rose Center is a superb exhibit that explores the history of the cosmos. It's stars, planets, and galaxies with in depth and detailed explanations. A favorite for the kids were the multiple scales around the floors which showed your weight on different planets. The section on our own planet Earth (Gottesman Hall) was particularly interesting, geological history including rocks, faults, earthquakes, and volcanos. The kids were particularly riveted to a video about volcanos and lava flows.
We had a few tickets to various shows, but we only managed to make it to one, the "Race to the End of the Earth", a well done somewhat interactive exhibit of the 1911 race to reach the South Pole. The kids were wrapped up with finding the specific "artifacts" throughout the exhibit specified on a worksheet. As an avid mountaineer and wannabe explorer, I enjoyed the walk through exhibit for it's historic and adventuresome spirit.
The fossil halls were also a hit with the children. Standing under a giant T-Rex dinosaur skeleton, next to an ancient sloth, or checking out the biggest darned turtle we've ever seen. It was also fascinating to read the theories on what dinosaurs ate and how they might have evolved (or not) into the present day.
The kids also enjoyed the cultural halls, seeing the anthropological studies and artifacts of traditional cultures of various indigenous peoples around the world, including Asia, Africa, North and South America, and the Pacific. It was sobering to think about the fact that the Native Americans culture has all but dissipated during the past 120 years or so (just my own observation). I found it interesting that there was no hall of traditional European cultures.
The museum also has a great website for kids at http://www.amnh.org/ology/ which is a helpful pre or post educational resource. Topics include things such as astronomy, biodiversity, the brain, climate change, expeditions, archaeology, and anthropology.
The overall breadth of the museum is astounding. There are way too many other exhibits and halls to list. One could definitely spend all day or the better part of a week wandering the various exhibit halls and watching all the various videos. It's a definite must see if you're in New York City. Be sure and check out the website for the array of current rotating exhibits.
Does your kid like dinosaurs? Check. Planetariums? Check. A huge blue whale suspended over the exhibit room? Check. Colorful gems and minerals? Check. Huge totem poles from the Pacific Northwest? Check. IMAX theater? Check. And it's pay-what-you-wish, so although I don't recommend cheaping out, if the suggested admission is too much you can always pay less.
I think my kids would have loved this museum anyway, but it didn't hurt that they had seen it in the movies first. We ventured in with our 6,7 and 9 year olds and it kept all of their attention and interest. Each floor holds a new world with much to explore and learn. Since the dinosaurs were top on everyones list we started at the top floor to see these and worked our way down. My kids LOVED seeing the idol from the Night at the Museum Movie and everyone was patient and respectful, forming a line so everyone could get their photo ops. The Blue Whale was another hit with our family. We love Native American history so spent plenty of time in this section as well.
We took in an Imax movie on the Great Lakes and we all found that interesing. We grabbed lunch in the cafeteria which offered a lot of choices but was very crowded and pricey.
My only complaint about this destination is that it can become very expensive very quickly for a family of 5. After the admission, each special attraction is an additional fee, the Imax, the planetarium and the butterfly exhibit. With admission and the IMAX we spent $90 on our tickets. Lunch was another outrageous $40 and we didn't even get a meal for each person. We opted not to get tickets for the planetarium or butterfly exhibit and steered clear of any soveneir shops.
The museum is huge so be sure to wear your comfy walking shoes.
As a child I absolutely LOVED the NHM and now my kids really enjoy it too! They have pretty much some of everything. The dinosaurs were my sons' favorite part (they are 2 and 5), but they loved all the mammals, butterflies, just everything. The food area is much better than most places, everything there is super kid friendly, even the bathrooms are very clean. Just a wonderful experience for the whole family, and one that can be repeated again and again without ever getting bored!
We made the mistake of going during the Christmas break. It was crazy. It took 40 minutes just to get into the museum. Once we were in, the crowds were not bad at all. My son's favorite part was the blue whale. He lay on the ground and stared up at the ceiling. It was great. He was amazed at all the animals. We brought snacks and water with no problems. Taking the train in was no problem. The subway goes directly into the museum so in the cold winter months you don't have to walk through the city.
Dinosaurs? That’s where you’ll probably start. But the classic wildlife dioramas shouldn’t be missed. Nor should the Hall of Gems, the rooms of animals, butterflies that land on you, and the terrific food court that really understands kids…. And that’s before you even venture to the Rose Center.
The planetarium show is always enlightening as are the nature movies shown in the IMAX theater. Since you’ll have extra time, you can buy tickets for some of the current, special exhibits like Frogs: A Chorus of Colors or Extreme Mammals: they’re usually terrific and most offer timed admissions so you can schedule a movie, lunch, the exhibit and see T. rex, too.
We absolutely love the AMNH. We could spend hours upon hours in the "Dinosaur room" alone, or in the "Big Blue Whale room" as my children call it. Whether it be the Winter or Summer, there's tons to do. In the Winter they have the skating rink that they set up outside
We especially love that everything is so great for the entire family, from our 3 year old to our 11 year old. And when we are done, are great places to eat all around, and Central Park is right across the street. A wonderful opportunity to have a day out with the family.
If interested, they offer slumber parties as well. A bit pricey, but something to consider for that super, special experience.
The only disappointment we had was that the section with the statue (kids had just seen Night at the Museum) was closed by 11am that day. So my advice would be to check before you go because certain sections are open at different times.
The museum itself was great, though. Clean restrooms, plenty of water fountains, and benches for the kids to sit if they got tired.
I still learn something everytime I come here. Last time we went, we ended up getting there late, but it is free an hour before closing, so that part was good. There is an area specifically for young children, I haven't been there yet though. It is very big, and has so many different things to offer. Everyone will have a great time. There is a coat check, so you won't have to carry your things with you. You can leave the stroller there too.
Founded in 1869 and housing more than thirty-two million anthropological artifacts and scientific specimens, this fabulous museum is one of the reasons I can never leave New York. More than forty exhibition halls explore everything in creation, from world culture to the cosmos, and there are more real dinosaurs here than in Jurassic Park. Since there’s too much to see in one visit, stop at the Information Desk for a map, event and film schedule. FREE guided tours, and to inquire about the interactive CD-ROM,"audio expeditions."
If you entered from Central Park West, begin your tour in the Roosevelt Rotunda, where a rearing Barosauras towers over an attacking Allosaurus. That should wet your appetite for the six spectaculer fossil halls on the fourth floor. Featuring the largest collection of its kind in the world, so head there first, or if you prefer to see the dinos later, walk straight toward the herd of charging elephants attemting to exit the Akeley hall of African mammals, illuminated by dozens of exquisitly crafted, lifelike dioramas.
Continue your safari on the third floor, then head for the North American Mammals dioramas of grizzly bears, bison, and moose on the first floor, from there bear right to arrive at the museum hall of biodiversity. the centerpiece of this salute to earths species 2,500 square foot re-created Central African Rainforest, with computer stations, special lighting and audio effects, a video tour of nine ecosystems, and more than 1,500 specimens, including a giant jellyfish, a dodo bird, and a relative of Captain Nemo’s nightmare squid. There’s a diorama of another squid gripped in a deadly battle right next door, so descend into the depths of the Hall of Ocean Life, where you’ll be greeted by a replica of a 94-foot-long blue whale floating peacefully through the ultramarine air.
Stroll through the wonderful Northwest Coast Indians Hall to the 64-foot Haida war canoe carved from a single cedar tree. To your left are the North American Forests, featuring lifelike dioramas perfect for a game of “I Spy,” plus a slice of Sequoia to see. To your right is the Human Biology and Evolution Hall, where you can view a holographic archaeological dig, test your paleontological chops on a computer-simulated expedition, and become acquainted with our ancestors and anatomy.
Walk into the next room and you’ll run into the largest meteorite ever plucked from Earth’s surface, the 4.5-billion-year-old Ahnighito. Take a peek in the mirror on the ceiling at the pile of pennies pitched there by wishful visitors. Continue around to your right, and you’ll come to the museum’s glittering gem and mineral collections, set amid carpeted multitiered platforms.
Rocks of a Richter scale, deep-sea sulfide chimneys, and a floating rear-screen projection Earth globe are displayed at the nearby Hall of Planet Earth, a wonderful home-planet prelude for the newest portal to the universe, the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Housed inside a 95-foot-high clear cube constructed from nearly an acre of glass, the Rose Center contains a variety of exhibits that explain, explore, and enlighten visitors curious about the cosmos. Begin at the Big Bang Theater’s baby universe blast, then follow the spiraling time line of the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway past diamond dust and dinosaur teeth into the Cullman Hall of the Universe.
Anchored by the legendary Willamette Meteorite, the hall features kinetic models, interactive computer kiosks, video screens with Hubble highlights and NASA news, and a giant glass globe filled with tiny swimming shrimp that explores the possibility of life on other planets. But the pearl-shaped gem of this museum is the state-of-the-art spherical Space Theater, the largest and most powerful virtual-reality simulator on Earth. At its heart is the Zeiss Mark IX Star Projector and the Digital Dome System, an intergalactic transporter worthy of wrinkling time, as it speeds space travelers to the edge of the observable universe and back home via a black hole.
If you have more time, be sure to see the Komodo dragons and Eastern Woodlands and Plains Indians on the third floor and the international anthropology halls on the second floor. Also on the second floor is the Natural Science Center, an introduction to city flora and fauna for younger scientists, with glass cases of live frogs, turtles, and snakes. New temporary exhibits open periodically, there’re always exciting IMAX films to see, and special family events, field trips, and workshops are offered year-round.
Such a great place to visit! Fun for all ages! Dinosaurs, animals, activities! Everytime we go my tot enjoys a different part of the museum! Don't forget to have lunch in their cafes and check out the space show and the discovery room!! such a great place to spend a rainy day or on a sunny day there are water fountains to play in outdoors--bring a change of clothes!
My husband and I just love the Natural History Museum, we went here a few years ago before we had kids and I fell in love with it. I wished I had been able to see all those dinosaurs when I was a kid. I brought my nephew and daughter here recently when we made a trip to NYC and they LOVED it. If is a big museum and they may not see everything, but the huge skeletons of animals and dinosaurs is a site to see and the water play area outside the plantarium is AWESOME. A great place to visit as a child and enjoy science at your fingertips.
Absolutely don't miss this if you have children.
As some reviewers have noted, the amount of information is overwhelming. Strategize before your visit with information online. Personal favourites are the life-size blue whale, the dinosaur collection and the Hayden Sphere (??) comparing relative sizes of bodies in the universe. If possible, do some reading with your children before visiting the musuem eg... planets or atoms before viewing the Hayden sphere.
If you enjoy museums, this is the place to go. They have everything imaginable. Dinosaurs, jungle animals, underwater animals. If you saw the movie, A Night at the Museum, you will have an idea of what is there.
Great place for older childre (7 and up).
It's a huge place and can get overwhelming. Often they have a standing and rotating exhibit and the standing exhibit is plenty. Awesome dinosaurs if that's up on your kids list.
This is a wonderful place for kids but its overwhelming. It would be good to strategize ahead of time about the parts you and the kids want to see. I recommend the butterfly exhibit, if it's still there. Its so wonderful to have butterflies land on you, and then have the naturalists talk about them. Bring a lunch (the cafeteria is not great and lines can be long) and eat in the park afterwards.
The best place in NYC to take kids, especially on a rainy day. The dinosaur exhibits are impressive (what boy doesn't like dinosaurs?), the fascinating stuffed hides of various wildlife exhibits and the giant blue whale are quite stunning. Though the museum is a bit dated and the decided un-PC exhibits of the non-European tribes of the world on curiosity display makes me uneasy. The Rose Planetarium is a bit of a letdown since most of the placards require a PhD to comprehend. I do like the Sun and planets size comparisons.
The american Museum of Natural History in New York is really quite something. From the moment that you enter the museum, you are stunned by the huge brontosaurus in the atrium. As an adult, you feel so small. I can only imagine how my 5 year old felt. As an adult, I found the Hyden's Sphere exhibit really fascinating. Walk around the sphere and it compares relative sizes in the known universe to the sphere. Going from large to small. For example, if the Hyden's sphere was the known universe, this ball would be the milky way...you get my point. Young children will probably find it pretty boring, but I think that a 10 year old could find it pretty fascinating. Young children will probably find the dinosaur bone collect absolutely fascinating. The museum also has wonderful children's programs that aren't expensive, but are highly engaging and educational. They start from age 4 onwards. From children age 5-12, the discovery museum allows children to engage with the sciences through hands on experiences. From assembling a life size protosuchus to hunting for animals in a baobab tree, it's never ending fun in the discovery museum. This has got to be one of New York's finest museums...and definitely a must see for any family.
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