American Museum of Natural History in a Day

American Museum of Natural History in a Day

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

Icons NYC in a Day 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.

  Photographic: Did I mention a 50-foot dinosaur skeleton?! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended!). You’ll get plenty of great photo opportunities in dozens of life-like exhibits here.

Empire State Building NYC in a Day 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.

History NYC in a Day  Historic: Established in 1869, the museum is as much a part of the city’s history as Central Park.

Kid Friendly NYC in a Day  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 NYC in a Day  Literary: The museum has been featured as a setting in book like, Catcher in the Rye. 

Cinematic NYC in a Day  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 NYC in a Day 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.


Cost NYC in a Day How Much Does the Museum of Natural History Cost?/Money Savers:

Pay what you wish/suggested donations:

  • Adults: $23
  • Children: $13


Time Commitment NYC in a Day How Much Time Should I Spend at the Museum of Natural History?/Time Savers: 

Fly-By NYC in a Day Fly-By: 45 minutes

In-Depth NYC in a Day  In-Depth: 90-120 minutes


Why You Should Skip NYC in a Day  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 NYC in a Day  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 NYC in a Day  How to Get to the Museum of Natural History:

Walking NYC in a Day  Walking: Head to Central Park West and W. 79th Street.

Subway NYC in a Day  Subway: Take the B or the C trains to 81st Street (stop name: Museum of Natural History).

Taxi NYC in a Day  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 NYC in a Day 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.


Alternate Ways to See Attractions NYC in a Day  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.

Already know what you want to do? Find out the best ways to get to the attractions you love, find a place to stay, or discover New York City’s neighborhoods to round out your itinerary!

Want all the fun without all the work? Check out my New York City itineraries. Or, get a customized itinerary to save even more time.

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!

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