The American Museum of Natural History has dedicated its 5 floors to our planets’ history. It covers everything from dinosaur fossils to far away galaxies, discussing the worlds past and present. Its 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 a architecturally magnificent building complex.
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. Due to our many visits and our fascination with the museum, we have listed our top 5 highlights here that you have to go see.
1. Manhattan dinosaur bones exhibition
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 where featured in the film “Night at the Museum” such as the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on display in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.
2. The Big Bang
The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a large glass cube which 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!
3. Valuable collections From the past
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 slab 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 jewelery. 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 jewelery 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.
4. IMAX theater for the full experience
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 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.
5. Incredible ocean life
The Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life highlights the oceans diverse and complex web of life as well as the beauty of our underwater companions in a fully immersive marine environment. The Highlight o 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.
Tickets are available from $22 to $35 (depending on how many additional exhibitions you want to see). You can save money and time and buy your tickets online. To avoid long lines, waiting time and save money you can buy your tickets here.
If you’re the owner of a New York Pass, the entry is included to 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.
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 we have selected the top 5 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.
Our conclusion: 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!
Header Picture: ©American Museum of Natural History / Chesek