The gem at the heart of the Museum of Natural History is a state-of-the-art IMAX cinema and an 80,000sq ft brushed steel and granite Discovery Center housing a cafeteria and exhibition space. The rotunda, too, is an impressive structure, dominated by an eight-ton African elephant. In 2003, the museum’s restored west wing opened its glistening, 25,000sq ft Kenneth E Behring Hall of Mammals, featuring interactive displays alongside 274 taxidermied animals striking dramatic poses. The gem and mineral collection attracts spectators, who ring two-deep the very well-guarded 45.52-carat cut blue Hope Diamond. The David H Koch Hall of Human Origins tells the story of evolution, examining scientific evidence and providing striking representations of early humans, while the Sant Ocean Hall examines the world’s oceans through items from the museum’s collections, as well as research in marine science. The museum is a real magnet for children: its Dinosaur Hall has an assortment of fierce-looking dinosaur skeletons and a 3.4-billion-year-old stromatolite; tarantulas and other live arthropods ripe for petting inhabit the Insect Zoo.
National Museum of Natural History
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