Activities & Resources
American Museum of Natural History456in New York, NY 10024
about American Museum of Natural History:
The Hall of Biodiversity is another big crowd-pleaser, with a walk through faux rainforest and lots of sea and land creatures to gaze upon.
The Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins presents the remarkable history of human evolution from our earliest ancestors millions of years ago to modern Homo sapiens. The innovative Spitzer Hall combines the most up-to-date discoveries in the fossil record with the latest in genomic science to explore the most profound mysteries of humankind: who we are, where we came from, and what is in store for the future of our species.
The Discovery Room houses hands-on exhibits for older children in the company of an adult. Kids can hunt for hidden creatures in a two-story replica of an African baobab tree (read the Little Prince before visiting!), check out an authentic Kwakiutl totem pole, dig for fossils (the staff tell us it takes about two weeks for kids to uncover the skeleton, at which point the museum covers it back up with packed sand for the next round), put a dino skeleton back together (our kids' favorite) with ingenious magnetized bones, and track earthquakes all over the world on a seismograph.
The Discovery Room holds about 50 inquisitive kids and parents at a time; when it gets too busy, you might be asked to wait for the next 40 minute stretch.
IMAX films are screened in the Lefrak Theatre, which features a forty-foot-high, sixty-six-foot-wide screen and a state-of-the-art digital sound system. Tickets can be reserved in advance by calling 212.769.5200, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Highlights Tours are offered daily at 10:15am, 11:15am, 12:15pm; 1:15pm, 2:15pm, and 3:15pm. Tours begin at the entrance to the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, on the second floor.
Special exhibits and seasonal events, like the annual Butterfly Conservatory, require additional ticketing, and often an additional fee, and it can all be somewhat confusing. The smartest way to visit the museum is to plan in advance - and order tickets before you go. The Will Call ticket booth (located at the entrance at 81st between Central Park West and Columbus) usually has shorter lines than the drop-in booths, and if you order in advance you're sure to be able to see what you want to see.
AMNH offers summer camp and school vacation camp options for kids ages seven to 12. Check the website for updated information.
The museum is justly proud of its Food Court on the lower level; walk through the center and choose food to put on your tray - the options range from the very healthy and nice looking fruits and vegetables (and lovely cheese plates), to kid-pleasing pizza, burgers, and fries. Even on a crowded Saturday at 12:30pm, we had no trouble sailing through the brilliantly designed self-serve section, paying, and finding a place to sit.
The Hayden Planetarium is housed in the new Rose Center for Earth and Space.
Parking is available in the Museum's three story lot (enter on 81st Street between Columbus and Central Park West), for typical NYC prices. Still, you can't beat the convenience. Don't forget to have your ticket validated in the museum; you'll save at least a couple of dollars off the full price.
The museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
CityPass: The American Museum of Natural History is a participant in CityPass®, the most convenient way to visit five city attractions. Tickets are combined in an easy booklet for one low price, with no waiting in ticket lines!