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.
Once the kids found out where we were headed, they were not too pleased! They thought it sounded like the most boring thing that we could ever take them to, but my did things change when they actually got there-they didn't even want to leave! This museum is so beautiful & if you're planning on going you should really take the time to see each & every exhibit because kids will really love learning new things if it's taught this way!
Without a doubt, this is my family's favorite spot in NYC. You will NOT see the whole museum in one day, so do a little research ahead of time and let each kid pick their number one must-see before you go. Our long-time favorite exhibits are 1) African Mammals 2) The Ocean Room and 3) The Hall of Biodiversity. You may see a very long line out the front door along Central Park West. If so, go around to the side entrance on 81st Street, down the hill on the driveway and try your luck buying tickets there, it is usually a shorter line. You can buy tickets with an online app called "Explorer" but you can only pay the suggested admission price with the app, whereas in person you can choose to pay less. I don't love the food at the museum, even the Cafe on 1 that is for "adult tastes" so we often will pack food or leave the museum mid-day for a lunch break somewhere just outside of the museum along Columbus Avenue.
This is a NYC MUST-SEE!
What a place!! We walked for hours and still didn't seem to get to all of it. We were there spring break and it didn't seem very crowded even though there were slit of people there. I highly recommend!!
My five year old daughter and I wandered around the American Museum of Natural History on a cold/snowy Sunday morning. We only had a couple of hours to spend at the museum - which is plenty for young children.
We arrived at the museum by taxi within a few minutes of opening, and waited about 10-15 minutes in line for tickets. As others have noted, the admission price is a suggestion. It appeared that most people in line had cash in hand and were paying less than the full admission price. When we got to the front the line, I was asked how much I wanted to pay. I told them an amount and paid with my credit card.
We headed straight into the main hall of African animals - which is similar to many of the larger natural history museums that I have been to in the US, especially the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Then we found an elevator and checked out the fourth floor. This is a large museum - but not as large as I expected based on the other reviews that I had read. Much of the museum is comparable to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The fourth floor is home to the dinosaur exhibits. Since those are currently under renovation at the Smithsonian, we decided to check them out here. There are 4-5 rooms of skeletons. The dinosaur section is, in my opinion, is one of the highlights for most children ages 4-8 who can't read the more in-depth exhibits on anthropology yet.
We briefly browsed through much of the third floor of the museum and the second floor (ground floor) - but there wasn't too much that interested my five year old.
Finally, we found a huge exhibit on gemstones and meteorites on the first floor of the museum. (Which is the level below the entrance.) There were at least 20-30 display cases of colorful rocks and several large rocks throughout the area that could be touched. This is a do-not-miss room for young children. When we first arrived, we had the entire area to ourselves. Eventually, families with young children showed up - it's a great place to let the kids explore because there is only one entrance/exit.
After spending about 30 minutes thoroughly enjoying the rocks and gems, we stumbled upon the discovery room - also on the first floor. It was a great find. Many museum discovery rooms that I have been to are geared towards toddlers and preschoolers- not so here. There are things for children of every age here, especially ages 4-10. My daughter especially enjoyed putting together a life-size magnetic crocodilian/dinosaur skeleton and exploring a huge tree using a well-constructed scavenger hunt. We thought that we were just about done with the museum when we arrived at the discovery center - but we ended up exploring there for at least 45 minutes. There is a special section for ages 8 and up that we didn't even get to check out because my daughter was too young.
While at first I was underwhelmed by the museum - by the end of our visit I was impressed. I highly recommend starting your visit with the first floor - if you are visiting with young children.
We actually planned a trip to New York around this sleepover at the American Natural History Museum (AMNH) and it did not disappoint. Although it may seem a little pricey at first, when you consider the fact that you are not paying for a hotel room, breakfast and snacks are included and you get to tour the museum without crowds....it is almost a deal. We brought along our own sleeping bags but apparently they stock a few (freshly laundered). Be sure to arrive on time as there are so many things to do that the evening passes quickly. Bring your own water bottle.
My favorite part about visiting this museum is the creativity and questions these exhibits inspire in my child. She always leaves the museum filled with ideas for art and science projects, questions that prompt more discussions and online investigations, and sharing ideas with classmates. It is easy to get caught up in her enthusiasm! From the Hall of the Universe to the Hall of Ocean Life, this museum is a must on every NYC visit!
We always enjoy grabbing a bite to eat in the Museum Food Court but secretly I'd love to try the gourmet offerings in Café on 1. One day, I'll have to make that happen!
We visit a lot of museums with our kids. By far this is the best one we've been with them! They loved all of the exhibits!!
What people might not know if that the admission fee is SUGGESTED!! You don't have to pay for entry. You do have to wait in line to get your tickets, but once at the cashier, you decide what you want to pay! Since we are on a strict budget and we were traveling with a family of 6 (3 adults, 3 kids) we would have spent nearly $100 to get it.
We did pay, but at a fraction of the suggested retail price!!
We had just a few hours at this fascinating museum, which really wasn't enough. As a homeschool family, we could have easily stretched our visit into a week's worth of learning and fun!
First, a word about admission: Do not feel obligated to pay the full "suggested donation" price. This museum, as with many others in the NYC area, receives government funding. ANY donation is acceptable, and employees at the ticket desk are used to guests paying far less than suggested. Just know that in order to avoid paying full price, you'll need to go to the ticket desk to the left as you enter--you cannot pay less than the suggested amount at the kiosks or if you purchase tickets online.
Now, on to the exhibits! There are 4 floors in this mammoth museum, so you'll want to pace yourself. If your time is limited, do a bit of research beforehand to establish which exhibits you'll want to visit. My girls especially enjoyed the life-sized animals and dinosaur fossils. (If you have a dino fan in your group, they'll have tons to enjoy!) The exhibits of various ancient peoples are highly informative and dovetailed on our history curriculum, although we took the speculation of our human origins with a grain of salt.
For fans of "A Night at the Museum," the museum offers a tour that is specific to attractions featured in the movie. We didn't take it (additional fee applies, and we were pressed for time), but I could see how this might be helpful. We weren't able to find many of these exhibits on our own, because there was simply too much ground to cover. We did, however, find "Dum-Dum," the Easter Island statue.
I highly encourage families to visit the American Museum of Natural History--go early to avoid crowds, and go often if you live in the NYC area!
The American Museum of Natural History in NYC is a great place for kids to explore and learn and great for adults too. My family loves this museum. It can get crowded on the weekends with everyone else off, so I suggest getting there early, which also gives you more time to check things out. I'd also bring some snacks so you don't have to wait in the very long cafeteria lines. On a side note, a friend of mine who used to volunteer there gave me a tip. You don't have to pay the suggested donation price. You can pay less or more because it's a donation so it's completely up to you. If you're worried about parking you can take the PATH then transfer to the train. The MTA subway stops right underneath the museum. You literally get off the subway and walk through the entrance.
You can devote an entire day to the Museum of Natural History and that's because parking is non-existent unless you pay the exorbitant prices at the lots, and navigating this maze of a museum. The layout of this place is very strange and not very intuitive when trying to cover all the displays in a consecutive manner. And don't bring the stroller as the wait for the elevators are excruciatingly long. The exhibits themselves are great though, with lots of information. I don't think it's changed much from my own school trips decades ago. Bring your own snacks as the cafe prices are outrageous. Good thing they have a free water fountain. My kids loved the film under the blue whale, and they loved al the life sized animals.
This stop is all in the planning. First, you have three choices for tickets: pay full price online (and pick up tickets there at kiosk so you skip the ticket lines), pay less than full price in person (the admission prices are suggestions based on what the museums costs are so please pay the full price if you will be there all day and can afford to; you will have to wait in lines for this option), or get a city pass (they are available on the museum's website). Second, consider each child's age and interests. Visit the website to see the exhibit choices. If one of the special exhibits would interest your group, pay extra and see it, their special exhibits are amazing. This museum can not be seen in its entirety in one day, don't even consider it. Older kids will be able to see more, little legs will need the help of a stroller (and by little I mean under the age of 7 years old) to make it across the museum. Their website is amazing (this is not a quick visit type of website, there is lots to see and do, so allow yourself some time to explore. They also have "ology" for kids which my 10 year old son loves, he has been checking it out since he was 7). You can download maps before going to figure out the best route based on interests. They also have a free app for the iphones and ipads (this is a lifesaver, so download it if you have such a product, there is a you are here feature that literally will walk you from where you are to where you want to go). Hands down my whole groups favorite was the Rose Center. I'm a huge fan of space exhibits and this one is the best I have seen in the world so far. They did a great job setting it up, the Big Bang timeline walk is amazing. I could go on and on about it. The Discovery Room was a huge hit too (and this you won't notice unless you know about it before hand). If you have kids ages 5-12 (this is per them, I would say maybe 5-10 for sure) go here first. It is free, it is a time ticket though (40 minutes, which will fly by), so you will want to pick up your tickets to make sure you get in. Our next favorite was a special exhibit that ends in Jan. 2012 so I won't go on and on about it, but I will say this, the special exhibits are extremely well done, they have interactive parts, hands-on parts, etc. They really go all out. Remember the goal here is not to see everything (unless you have older kids and several days), the goal is to explore and have fun while learning. If you live near NYC you are very lucky. The museum puts on all sorts of workshops, overnights, and camps for kids, adults, and teachers. (If you are a homeschooler or like to expand on what the kids learned go to their website and print the teacher guides, very nice). I know I always say visit the website first, but you have to visit this website first. Otherwise this great museum could overwhelm you. Also, keep a city pass in mind if you're in NYC for a couple days, its a huge money saver.
After reading all the previous reviews, I'm a little overawed to write that this museum, while huge, comprehensive and spectacular, did not engage our family. Our tickets allowed one special exhibit and since my son (5.5) was excited to see space and dinosaurs, we started at the planetarium. Thankfully, the baby behaved for the show.
The "Journey to the Stars" film taught him a lot about how stars are made. We then visited the Rose Center for space, followed by a trek to the Millstein Hall of Ocean Life and then upwards to the 4th floor to see the dinosaurs. We also stopped in on the way at the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.
There are long halls between exhibits, tired 5-year-old feet made for many complaints. To get from one exhibit to the next is confusing, with an unhelpful map (there was no key!) of little use. The gift shops on each floor at each exhibit are, in my opinion, overkill. I overheard one patron saying "this looks like a school", which, for the most part, many of the exhibits do.
There was a lack of color. I understand that fossils are not colorful, but having an entire floor in yellow and brown bones/white walls and placards/black lettering did not appeal to me. Most of the museum is poorly lit, the main exception being the (newly constructed) Rose Center which is flooded with daylight. Many of the walls and corridors are bare and I would love to see color up there, posters or murals depicting anything would be better than a bare wall in one of the largest museums in the world.
I found the dioramas and animals interesting to look at; again, they were unable to hold the interest of my son unless I was at his level explaining what each one was. He spent his time looking at the sperm whale/giant squid and the suspended blue whale in the center of the hall of ocean life.
The staff were most unenthusiastic; one directed us the wrong way when we were looking for a restroom, others lackadaisically pointed out what we were looking for, and while I looked out for staff on the 4th floor to explain aspects of the exhibit, there were none to be found.
We were with a 1-year-old in a stroller and many parts of the museum were unable to be accessed easily. There was much "bumping up and down stairs", or re-tracing our steps for the baby to get to and from exhibits, and strollers are not allowed in the planetarium (so we had to wake princess from her nap!).
Overall, it is a wonderful museum though not one I would take my own children back to until they were older. Next time I would like to begin at the Discovery center, a room made for kids to learn about science through play, though there was not enough time in our day to include it. I would go again by myself just to look through all the halls I missed this time.
If your kids have seen the movie, they will love this museum. It is huge so don't plan on seeing everything, unless you run through it. The dinosaurs skeletons are a little boy pleaser for sure! Entertaining and fun for both children and adults! ALL AGES!
I remember the special trip we took into the city when I was a kid to the Museum of Natural History. I was in love with dinosaurs, so the trip was for me, even though I think my sisters ended having fun too. There is a little bit of everything educational at this museum. My kids loved to see the huge skeletons, especially the whale suspended from the ceiling in one of the rooms. Again, we always pack a lunch or go grab a slice outside rather than buying lunch in the cafeteria.
I consider it the best museum in New York.It is full of learning around every corner. it has woderful displays of animals and different types of wildlife.I do not think that it is possible to see it all in one day ,and its not worth it to rush through.Also the cafeteria has different varieties of food,mostly healthy but can be pricey.The gift shop is also a great place to go. i recommend the hot dog stand around and a walk around central park after the trip to the museum.
This is a really cool place to go if you are in the area. They only charge a small donation fee to get in and they have several floors of every type of animal or history you can think of. They have all different animals and different times. They have back when the cavemen were present and even dinosaurs. This was a great place for us and I would imagine that the kids would just love it.
I have nothing but great things to say about this museum. I visited with 4 boys ages 14-18 who are not easily impressed. They were speechless! We loved the exhibits and spent most of the day exploring the museum. We went to DC the day after visiting this museum. We all agreed, hands down better than the Smithsonian. Don't miss this!
This was a favorite of mine when Iw as a child, and remains so now that I have a family of my own. This museum has something for everyone, adults and children alike. The Dinosaur exhibit has been a favorite forever! You can visit this museum every year and still not discover every little hidden trasure. Once you visit, this museum will quickly become a family favorite. Plan to spend as much of your day here as possible - it;s that good and has that much to offer.
My absolute favorite museum! This museum rocks, it never gets old... fascinating to see the huge dinosaur bones and realize that they were, at once, ALIVE and real. A MUST for anyone in the area, local, tourist, anyone. This is almost considered a right of passage! Plan to go back there very soon, if the snow storms don't ruin my plans again.
We have neen to this museum a few times over the years, and we enjoy it every time. There is always something new to see. The exhibits are fantastic. There is so much to learn about; you will end up spending the whole day there. Worth the trip! Definitely a must see if you are visiting NYC.
Get the inside scoop from parents who have been there!