American Museum of Natural History

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Where do butterflies mingle with jellyfish? What place allows you travel from Africa to outer space within a few minutes? Throw in a little IMAX and you have the American Museum of Natural History in New York. When visiting AMNH, kids of all ages can comingle with creatures great and small from this world and beyond. Consisting of 25 interconnected buildings just across the street from Central Park on the Upper West Side, AMNH is a must see for science lovers of all ages.


Aside from being one of the preeminent museums in New York and the world, AMNH is one of the county’s oldest. The Museum is located at the intersection of 79th Street and Central Park West in one of the finest neighborhoods in Manhattan. It was founded by, among others, President Teddy Roosevelt, in 1869. However, the AMNH itself was the brainchild of American naturalist Dr. Albert S. Bickmore. Dr. Bickmore was a passionate zoologist who lobbied for years to have a natural history museum established in New York. His legacy is one of the largest museums in the world which, to date, holds more than 32 million specimens and employs over 200 scientific staff members.

Today, the museum’s mission is “to discover, interpret and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education and exhibition.” Its goal is to make its premier exhibitions and scientific collections a field guide for the entire planet. As well it seeks to present a landscape of all cultures which appeals to visitors from across the country and the world.

In addition to its service as a museum and research laboratory for the natural sciences, AMNH is also home to graduate programs of study through the Richard Gilder Graduate School that lead to a PhD in comparative Biology or a MAT in teaching Earth Science for grades 7-12 in New York State. Both programs allow students unprecedented access to the museum’s labs and collections, combining to create a truly unique learning experience and allowing AMNH to contribute to the future of the scientific field.

Main Attraction

The AMNH is home to 46 permanent exhibition halls which include several fossil halls (two of which are home to dinosaurs), the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, and the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites. In addition, the museum houses several scientific laboratories and a world famous scientific library. The Library at the American Museum of Natural History contains natural science texts and documents that date back as far as the 15th century.

In addition to their permanent displays, AMNH hosts several special exhibitions and seasonal displays. This includes a Butterfly Conservatory, Hayden Planetarium Space Theatre, and a continual rotation of science-based IMAX films that are shown in the Museum’s renovated theatre. The Education department at the museum also offers learning opportunities by way of guided tours and themed events designed for everyone from preschool to Senior.

AMNH also features several specialized programs for kids and families. The blend between scientific learning and fun is inherent at AMNH and begins at their excellent educational website, Ology, which can serve as a great “appetizer” of sorts for kids planning on visiting the museum. Their offerings also include a hands-on discovery room, special guided tours and shows, even limited-engagement family themed events like special Member sleepovers and Mystery at the Museum which combines museum discovery with a clue-based adventure game.

Why It’s a Must-See

The American Museum of Natural History literally has something for everyone, whether you’re a bonafide “science geek” or just a visitor looking for a good time. The 25 buildings that make up the complex and rotating special exhibits ensure that even repeat visitors will not be disappointed. There is a reason that this is one of the most famous and respected museums in the world, the AMNH contains all of the best that natural science and history has to offer – education, fun, and discovery – all under one roof.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from American Museum of Natural History either online or in person.

Purchase a Tourist pass. American Museum of Natural History is available on the The New York PassNew York City Explorer Pass and New York CityPass