In this handy guide, we’ve put together some helpful info and tips to enhance your next visit to The American Museum of Natural History.
The American Museum of Natural History is easily one of the largest natural history museums in the world. It is housed in a complex comprising of 28 interconnected buildings!
I want you to visualize a past experience at any museum and see what comes to mind. Now imagine visiting one of the largest museum on the planet! Can you handle it?
As mentioned above, this is the largest natural history museum on the planet. There are always so many exhibits happening at any moment, so you may not be able to see it all in a single visit. You can plan your tour in a way that allows you to see the exhibits and events that interest you the most. For instance, I always make it a top priority to visit any new exhibits first, then check out some of my usual favorites like the Fossil and Mammal Halls later in the day.
Capturing memories is an important part of any museum visit. As such, here are some important items you can carry with you, including:
A camera: If you think your phone camera will not be enough, carry another one with extra batteries.
Get a map of the museum: Technology has made things easier; you can simply download a free Explorer app for iOS and Android. There is also a PDF map of the museum. You can’t lose your way.
Your passes and identification documents
Buying tickets in advance. They are available online and will help you avoid waiting in lines for admission.
Get to know CityPASSES. This will help you save close to 50% on top attractions
Visit in groups. School and camp visits are always cheaper.
The American Museum of Natural History is located at Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024.
One of the aims of the AMNH is to ensure easy and free accessibility to all facilities for everyone. As mentioned earlier, however, it has 33 million+ specimens, which cannot be displayed all at once. The key is discovering the right time to make your move.
It depends on the events of the day and when they close. Therefore, get the list of events and the time they are listed, you can then get the best time to visit.
As long as you have the essential tools mentioned above, traveling in and around the museum should be easy. Consider the following, for convenience:
Public transport: There are busses like the M79, which make it easy for travelers. But taking the subway seems a much better option. It is faster, though more costly, if you don’t have passes.
Bike parking: Use the bicycle racks in the driveway of the museum’s Rose Center for Earth. There is space at the parking garage, as well.
Taxi vs. Driving: These are more expensive options but can save you on time if you are up for it.
I don’t recommend driving, as with most places in NYC, there is not much street parking available. This area currently has a lot of construction zones as well, making the driving situation even more of a nightmare. There are a few parking garages in the area, but be warned, they tend to be pricey.
The museum is a massive phenomenon. You will, therefore, need a ticket to get in. The problem is, you will always get tourist crowds and ticket lines. This can be overwhelming and sometimes discouraging.
Why should you go through such trouble when there is an easy way out? Simply go online and purchase your tickets beforehand. You skip the lines if you already have your ticket.
Ensure you review each ticket type, though. Some give you access to special exhibitions, films, and shows.
AMNH has 45 permanent halls dedicated to exhibitions. There is also a planetarium and a library. Here are a few more facts about the museum:
For a start, every visitor is required to pass through the security checkpoints. This ensures the safety of the visitors, staff, and stuff. This process may take a while since you will be required to open your bags.
But the most important thing to consider is carrying a museum map. You’ll want to see everything from the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life (I personally love this one) to the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins.
Highlights Tour – daily between 10:15 and 3:15
Spotlight tours- Focused on specific halls or themes
Explainers – come with volunteers to answer questions and explain fossils.
Private group tours – there are a number of them at your disposal
Use the free Explorer App.
The truth is, this massive museum contains a significant record of this planet’s history.
It is hard to say for sure which areas once must visit. It all depends on what you are most interested in. From animal fossils to human culture, plants to sea life, there is literally something for everyone.
Check out some of my recommended events and exhibits in the next section.
There are several special exhibitions you need to be aware of. Among, many, there is:
The American Museum of Natural History has more to offer. There are programs that have been designed both for students as well as family members to benefit from.
Adventures in Science classes: This program is designed to cover all areas in Museum science. It is meant for children in grades pre-K-5.
Lang science program: Are you looking for a hands-on science exploration? Then this is the program for you. The program is ideally meant for middle and high school students in New Tork City.
Science Alliance program: This is a hands-on investigation program for kids. It is mostly targeted at preschoolers who would like to become part of the museum’s investigators.
The Early Adventure program: This program is meant for young children, their parents as well as caregivers. It is meant to encourage exploration among young children.
The science and nature program: This program is designed to help young children understand as well as respect the natural world and get skills for scientific inquiry.
Capture the best moments with popular photo opportunities/ spots. Unless stated otherwise, you are free to take photos in any area of the museum. You can pause at the entrance with your family as you exit and get some great shots!
Now that you are done admiring the museum, why not take a moment to check out the gift shop? This is one of the best ways to ensure you have your very own little piece of museum history to carry back home.
By now you’ve probably walked the equivalent of a mini New York City marathon inside the museum. Naturally, this will be a big drain your on your energy, and you may have to refill afterwards. Luckily for you, there are several restaurants that serve a variety of delicious local cuisine. The food court provides a wide range of family-friendly fare. Get foods such as burgers, pizza, sandwiches, tacos, salads, and sushi. The Shake Shack behind the museum has top rated burgers and shakes. There are carts across the street as well, where hot dogs are served. Finally if your feeling even more adventourous, take a stroll and check out some of the other local restaurants in the area.
At the museum, you probably did more “seeing” and less “talking”. If there is anything you wish to discuss, now it a great time to share your favorite moments, exhibits and experiences with your friends and family. If you took advantage of the Photo Ops, be sure to share those as well!
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