New York City’s famed Museum of Natural History is the perfect place for kids to stretch their curiosity and for big kids to regain their sense of wonder. It houses four floors of artifacts including the oldest rock known to man (when are you ever going to care this much about seeing a rock?!). It’s home to the world-famous Hayden Planetarium. Find out why you should visit, how much time to spend here, why you shouldn’t visit, and some helpful hints on getting the most out of your trip.
Why You Should Visit the Museum of Natural History
Iconic: Featured in half a dozen movies, the giant dinosaur skeleton in the lobby of the Museum of Natural History is just as iconic to kids as the Statue of Liberty.
Architectural: The original Romanesque structure can still be seen from the street. The newer entryway is a Beaux Arts structure that was added in 1936. Famed architect Kevin Roche has contributed a structure to the museum.
Historic: Established in 1869, the museum is as much a part of the city’s history as Central Park.
Kid Friendly: The museum is one of the many tourists attractions in NYC geared to kids. You can’t go wrong bringing little ones here for the day.
Literary: The museum has been featured as a setting in book like, Catcher in the Rye.
Cinematic: You can see the Museum of Natural History in movies like The Squid & the Whale, The Devil Wears Prada, Bringing Up Baby, Night at the Museum, and TV shows like, How I Met Your Mother and Friends.
Like a Local: Locals love the museum as much as tourists and often bring their kids here on the weekends for special events and activities.
How Much Does the Museum of Natural History Cost?/Money Savers:
Pay what you wish/suggested donations:
- Adults: $23
- Children: $13
How Much Time Should I Spend at the Museum of Natural History?/Time Savers:
Fly-By: 45 minutes
In-Depth: 90-120 minutes
Why You Should Skip:
Many child-free visitors choose to skip the museum because of the sheer saturation of kids within the museum.
When to Go to the Museum of Natural History:
First thing in the morning, or at lunchtime. The museum is crowded on weekdays with school field trips and on weekends with families.
How to Get to the Museum of Natural History:
Walking: Head to Central Park West and W. 79th Street.
Subway: Take the B or the C trains to 81st Street (stop name: Museum of Natural History).
Taxi/Car: If you’re on the east side of Central Park, it’s not a bad idea to take a cab crosstown over the 81st Street Transverse to Central Park West. Just tell the cab driver to head to the Museum of Natural History.
Bus: If you’re on the east side of the park, you could also take the crosstown bus to the museum. Just hop on the SBS 79 at 81st Street.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
- Adults can visit the museum during the Dinos After Dark program and freely visit the exhibits without children in tow. Alcohol is served during this adults-only program.
- If you only have enough time for one museum, consider bringing the kids to MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics.
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!