Highlights at the Museum of Natural History NYC

Highlights you shouldn't miss at the Natural History Museum NYC

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The Museum of Natural History NYC has dedicated its 5 floors to our planets’ history. It covers everything from dinosaur fossils to faraway galaxies, discussing the worlds past and present. It’s educational and entertaining and perfect for both adults and children. 

Located in the heart of Manhattan close to Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s greatest scientific and cultural institutions housed in an architecturally magnificent building complex. Besides the fact that the Museum of Natural History is one of the best museums in NYC, it is also a real movie filming location. Do you remember which movie it was?

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My personal highlights at the Museum of Natural History NYC

American Museum of Natural History

Founded in 1869, the museum has grown significantly over the years, now comprising a staggering 25 interconnected buildings with more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibits, research facilities, and libraries. It’s an exciting combination of the past and the future, and a delight for curious individuals of all ages.

I’ve been to the American Museum of Natural History NYC multiple times which is why I want to share my personal highlights of the museum. This is your complete guide to the Museum of Natural History NYC and a list of things you shouldn’t miss during your visit.

Where to find the Museum of Natural History NYC Dinosaurs

American Museum of Natural History

There is one thing the Museum of Natural History NYC is famous for and that’s their dinosaurs exhibitions. When you enter the museum you will be greeted by one of their many artifacts related to the large dinosaur exhibition at the Museum of Natural History NYC.

On the fourth floor, you will find a large dinosaur exhibition where countless original dinosaur fossils have been assembled to give you a feeling for the magnificent prehistoric creatures. The two halls of the Koch Dinosaur Wing feature about 100 specimens, 85 percent of them fossils rather than casts.

These 100 specimens are just a small fraction of the Museum’s collection of dinosaur fossils, which is among the largest and most scientifically important of such collections in the world. You will love the many inspirational displays. Many of them were featured in the film “Night at the Museum” such as the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on display in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

The Big Bang at The Rose Center for Earth and Space

The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a large glass cube that encloses the equally impressive Big Bang Theater and Hayden Planetarium in a huge sphere. Watch the four-minute Big Bang presentation, walk along the Cosmic Pathway, and explore our planet from a completely different perspective.

This humbling display reminds us every time of how we are only tiny specks in a huge unknown universe. This is definitely something you don’t want to miss!

Valuable collections From the past at the Hall of Minerals

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals contains hundreds of striking mineral-bearing specimens collected from around the world. On display are, among others. a giant topaz crystal from Brazil, a 4.5-ton block of azurite-malachite ore from Arizona and a nephrite jade from Poland. The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems exhibits an array of precious and ornamental stones – some uncut, some polished and others set in elaborate pieces of jewelry.

Organic materials such as coral and amber are also displayed in a fantastic exhibition of natural elements and colors. Drawn from the Museum’s collection of more than 100,000 minerals and gems, several glass cases feature decorative objects and jewelry spanning three millennia. At 563 carats, the Star of India is the world’s largest gem-quality blue star sapphire. With an impressive age of 2 billion years, it is also one of the worlds’ best-known gems.

Experience the blue whale at the Museum of Natural History NYC

Blue Whale inside the Museum of Natural History

The Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life highlights the ocean’s diverse and complex web of life as well as the beauty of our underwater companions in a fully immersive marine environment. The Highlight of the exhibit is the 94 feet long fiberglass replica of a female blue whale. 

Blue whales have been hunted to near extinction which is why today, the museum’s blue whale serves as a reminder of our responsibility to our environment. It is amazing to see, how big these animals really are. In case you are wondering if the blue whale at the Museum of Natural History real? No, it’s just a model. It is pretty impressive though. Make sure to check it out while visiting the Natural History Museum NYC.

Catch a movie at the IMAX theater at the Museum of Natural History NYC

The museum also has its own IMAX theater which is really impressive thanks to the huge high definition cinema screen. Films are shown in 2D and 3D and they are always breathtaking. The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater is an elegant beaux-arts theatre that features a 40-foot-high, 66-foot-wide screen and a state-of-the-art digital sound system.

The stunning giant-screen films are directed by the likes of Steve McNicholas and Luke Cresswell, taking viewers around the world for breathtaking encounters with predators, for example, looking at their critical role at the top of the oceanic food chain. This is something you really have to try, its an amazing experience.

Films screen in 2D or 3D from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, every hour on the half-hour. The theater is wheelchair accessible, and captioning devices and audio description devices are available.

Guided Tours at the Museum of Natural History NYC and Tickets

Is Natural History Museum Free NYC?

Admission to the Museum is free for NYC school and camp groups. Tickets are available from $23 to $33 (depending on how many additional exhibitions you want to see). You can save money and time and buy your tickets online.

If you’re the owner of a New York Sightseeing Pass, the entry is included in the American Museum of Natural History is included. Interested and you want to know more about the New York Pass? Just click here for more information.

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How much time do you need for visiting the Museum?

The museum is huge, to cover most of it you will need a full day, potentially even longer. This is why I have highlighted the main and best exhibitions for you above, giving you the ability to plan your trip. Otherwise, there are maps of the museum given to you upon entry with which you can figure out what you’re interested in and have time for.

Is the NYC Museum of Natural History worth a visit?

This is an extraordinary place. It’s beautiful, extensive, and educational. Our most important piece of advice is to give it the time it deserves. If you try to rush it, you will be overwhelmed and leave with the feeling that you missed something. It’s very big and there’s so much to see, so set aside a day for the trip rather than trying to squeeze it into an afternoon. 
Take your time and really appreciate all that the museum has to offer.

I recommend starting at the top floor and working your way down.

The Ocean Room at the bottom is my very favorite and provides a peaceful place to take a rest under the Blue Whale. Central Park is also just nearby and enjoy a breather in the park – just remember to hold on to your tickets! We hope you enjoy your visit to the American Museum of Natural History!

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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