American Museum of Natural History

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
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Wendy Connett

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Upper West Side

RECOMMENDED: American Museum of Natural History

No matter which wing you wander through or where your curiosities lie (dinosaurs, gems or something else entirely), it’s hard to explore this Upper West Side fixture without being awestruck. You’ll immediately spot the rotunda’s hulking Barosaurus skeleton replica, but delving further into the museum’s collection, you’ll find actual specimens, such as a Deinonychus, in the fourth-floor fossil halls. Roughly 80 percent of the bones on display were actually dug out of the ground; the rest are casts. During the museum’s mid-1990s renovation, several specimens were remodeled to incorporate new discoveries. The Tyrannosaurus rex, for instance, was once believed to have walked upright, Godzilla-style; it now stalks prey with its head lowered and tail raised parallel to the ground.

The rest of the museum is equally dramatic. The newly opened Hall of Human Origins boasts a fine display of your old cousins, the Neanderthals. The Hall of Biodiversity examines world ecosystems and environmental preservation, and a life-size model of a blue whale hangs from the ceiling of the Hall of Ocean Life. The impressive Hall of Meteorites was brushed up and reorganized in 2003. The space’s focal point is Ahnighito, the largest iron meteor on display anywhere in the world, weighing in at 34 tons (more than 30,000kg).

The spectacular $210 million Rose Center for Earth and Space—dazzling at night—is a giant silvery globe where you can discover the universe via 3-D shows in the Hayden Planetarium and light shows in the Big Bang Theater. An IMAX theater screens larger-than-life nature programs, and you can always learn something new from the innovative temporary exhibitions, an easily accessible research library (with vast photo and print archives), several cool gift shops and friendly, helpful staff.

RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions

Venue name: American Museum of Natural History
Contact:
Address: Central Park West at 79th St
New York
10024
Opening hours: Daily 10am–5:45pm
Transport: Subway: B, C to 81st St–Museum of Natural History; 1 to 79th St
Price: Suggested donation $22, seniors and students $17, children 2–12 $12.50, children under 2 free. Special exhibits $27, seniors and students $22, children 2–12 $16, children under 2 free

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  • Until Sunday November 29 2015
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  • Classes and workshops Saturday October 31 2015
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Average User Rating

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Linda

This museum is on the "must do list" for anyone coming to NYC, particularly with children between 5 and 16. It's got something for everyone, from the dinosaur collection (must be the largest in the world, really) to the Planetarium show (narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, no less!). The only negatives are that it can be costly if you have 2 adults and 2 kids, so you may as well purchase a membership so you can come back and spend more time with the many exhibits, in addition to seeing the IMAX movie (we saw the one on Flying Monsters, narrated by David Attenborough....excellent!). Also the food in the cafe', while providing a nice variety, is NY-style pricey (but my son thought the cheeseburger was perfect, so it was worth the $10).