One of the world’s most famous natural science museums, the American Museum of Natural History offers visitors 45 exhibition halls filled with fascinating and intriguing objects covering all areas of the natural sciences, from dinosaurs and animals to meteorites and the cosmos.
Founded in 1869 by some of the city’s wealthiest residents, the aim of building the American Museum of Natural History was to compete with the cultural institutions in Europe and bring prestige to the city, as well as educate the working classes about science. Originally housed in the Arsenal Building in Central Park, the cornerstone of the current building was laid in 1874, opening to the public in 1877.
The museum has an astounding number of exhibits. With over 1.2 million square feet of exhibits, research facilities and libraries housed in 25 interconnected buildings, it is a vast complex with plenty to see. Obviously, everything is worth checking out, but highlights of the museum include:
• Lucy, one of the most complete skeletons found of the early humanoids;
• the Titanosaur, one of the most newly discovered dinosaurs;
• the Warren Mastodon, the first complete mastodon skeleton found in the USA and still one of the most complete in the world;
• Galapagos Giant Tortoise, one of the Galapagos Islands most impressive creatures;
• Giant Sequoia Tree, felled by loggers in 1891.
The American Museum of Natural History is located at Central Park West, and 79th Street and open daily from 10 am and 5:45 pm except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There are different entry rates depending on the ticket package you opt for. There are three to choose from: General Admission, which includes admission to all 45 exhibition halls and the Rose Center for Earth and Space; General Admission + One, which includes general admission plus one special exhibition, giant-screen film, or space show; and General Admission + All, which includes general admission plus all special exhibitions, giant-screen film and space show.
• Adult – $23 / $28 / $33
• Student (with ID) and Senior (60+) – $18 / $22.50 / $27
• Children (ages 2 – 12) – $13 / $16.50 / $20
The museum is busiest in the middle of the day – between 12 pm and 3 pm – so if you want to avoid the crowds, aim to arrive when the museum opens or later in the afternoon. If arriving by subway, take the B (weekdays) or C to 81st Street. Numerous buses also stop at or near the museum, including M79, M7, M10, M11, M86, and M104.
Because of its sheer size and the vast amount of exhibits on display, there is something of interest for everyone at the American Museum of Natural History, regardless of age. Kids will love making discoveries about animals, dinosaurs, and the cosmos, and there is so much information to take in that adults cannot help learning something as well.
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