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Central Park W. at W. 79th St. (Upper West Side)
New York, NY
(1) 212-769-5100 | www.amnh.org
PRICE (SUGGESTED DONATION)Adults: USD 19; Seniors/Students: USD 14.50; Children (2-12): USD 12; Under-2s: Free; Museum Members: Free
POPULAR TIMESWeekends; school vacations
RESERVE IN ADVANCERecommended for special exhibitions, the planetarium, and IMAX
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONNone for permanent collections; 1-2 hours for special exhibitions, the planetarium, and IMAX
HIGHLIGHTSFossil Hall's dinosaur skeletons; Rose Center for Earth and Space
SUBWAY81st St.-Museum of Natural History (B, C)
Though most often associated with the magnificent dinosaur skeletons under its gilded rotunda, the American Museum of Natural History offers scientific and anthropological riches that range far beyond its (admittedly top-notch) Jurassic fossils. From a 15-ton meteor to a 94-foot replica of a blue whale, a herd of African elephants, and the world’s largest sapphire, there are enough jaw-droppingly cool items among the collection of 32 million artifacts to keep us fascinated for hours on end. And don’t be fooled by the old-school 19th century granite premises and the vintage displays like taxidermied animals in dioramas: high-tech offerings like the futuristic planetarium shows in the Rose Center help keep the museum among the top science education institutions in the country.
GO HERE WITH
Science buffs; children
WHY WE LIKE IT
Scoping the dino bones and then adventurously exploring the echoing halls is a classic NYC rainy day experience. We also love how the museum's size and variety means every visit can be different. If we’re keen on hitting the major sights, we opt for a guided tour. Otherwise, we block out a chunk of time and let the eye-catching displays determine our path. (Some of our coolest finds have been in exhibitions we stumbled upon while wandering aimlessly…)
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
When you buy tickets online, you not only have to pay the full “suggested” ticket price, but you also have to pay a USD 2 booking fee per ticket. And of course, extra charges for special exhibitions and the planetarium can add up quite quickly on top of that. Another downside is that it can get really crowded during peak times, especially at popular exhibits.
GOOD TO KNOW
Ticket prices are only “suggested”–you can actually pay what you wish (unless you book online). The Hayden Planetarium Space Shows (which are narrated by celebs like Robert Redford, Whoopi Goldberg, and Harrison Ford) are so popular that it's a good idea to book tickets in advance. If you’re interested in visiting the “extras” (like the Rose Center for Earth and Space, special exhibitions, IMAX films, or the Hayden Planetarium Space Show) it might be worth getting a “SuperSaver” ticket, which bundles everything together. (Prices for SuperSaver: Adult: USD 33; Children (2-12): USD 20.50; Seniors/Students: USD 25.50; Adult Members: USD 16.50; Child Members: USD 12.) Parking is available in the museum’s facility at 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. If you’re a diehard or coming with family, consider the renowned Night at the Museum sleepover experience—you know, the event that inspired two Ben Stiller movies. It’s also worth coming specifically for the special exhibitions and shows.
The Field Museum (Chicago); The British Museum (London)
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