Museums in New York City: American Museum of Natural History

When anyone thinks about the museums in New York city, they tend to think of three: The Met, with lots of classic art, MoMA, with lots of modern art, and the American Museum of Natural History, with animals, plants, and the cosmos. Natural history differs from art in that it wasn’t created by human hands. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.” Indeed, some of this ecstatic appreciation for natural history can be seen in every exhibit, from the descriptions and interactive experience of outer space in the Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium, to the various stuffed animals from every biome and region throughout the first floor, to the giant collection of dinosaur fossils, to the exquisite life-sized blue whale at the Hall of Ocean Life. The AMNH is a truly awe inspiring learning experience about the world we live in.

Situated in a prominent location along Central Park West overlooking The Lake and Turtle Pond, the AMNH sits at 79th St and 8th Ave. In addition to the Museum of Natural History, you can head across Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a variety of other cultural institutions along Museum Mile. If you’d rather just relax, consider checking out the New York Historical Society just down the street or have a picnic on the grounds in front of Belvedere Castle. The Museum of Biblical Art is located a few blocks south and west. Visitors to the Museum of Natural History will have an easy time on the subway, as the museum has its own subway stop reachable on the B and C trains. The 1 train also stops within walking distance at 79th St. and Broadway just to the west. Visitors by car will be able to park at the museum facilities, an option many museums in Manhattan do not include.

There are so many things that are must-see exhibits at the enormous American Museum of Natural History that it would take a long time to examine every nook and cranny of this massive space. If you’re saving time to see other NY museums too, one area at the AMNH you should be sure to see is the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The Rose Center is the most modern area the museum has to offer, and the exhibits are hands-on and fascinating. You can get to the Planetarium from here, where you should be sure to watch a fascinating retrospective on the birth and development of the universe. Of course, you can’t go to the museum without seeing the dinosaur halls on the fourth floor. Another great area to look at is the Hall of Ocean Life on the first floor, where a life-size model of a blue whale hangs over the giant room. The Hall of Meteorites is host to “Ahnighito,” a 34-ton iron meteor from outer space. The newly opened Hall of Human Origins looks at early hominids before they evolved into modern day Homo Sapiens. The AMNH is one of the most well-known of all the museums in Manhattan, and this is why: nearly every exhibit is fascinating!