Last week I went on a fun field trip adventure to NYC, and the forecast called for rain. A quick search of rainy day fun in NYC brought up the idea to visit the American Museum of Natural History along Central Park West — an exciting and educational place indeed!!
Here are some of the highlights from my trip along with a few tips you may want to keep in mind if you’re planning a visit to the American Museum of Natural History:
1. Call Ahead
If you are planning your visit during the week, it doesn’t hurt to call ahead and confirm the hours of the museum. On one of my visits there, they were hosting an event so many of the exhibit halls closed early and this was not posted to their website. On the weekends, this is less of an issue, but you may want to call ahead just to be safe. You can reach the museum at 212-769-5100.
2. Download the Free App
The American Museum of Natural History has its own app complete with interactive exhibit maps, and other important information. You can even customize your own exhibit tour, or explore one of the pre-designed tours that even have the estimated time they would take to complete. Also, the app is free!
3. Sign up for the Newsletter
Another free resource that is great to explore before your visit. You can sign up for the email newsletter to receive the latest news and updates from the museum.
4. Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes
In general, comfortable walking shoes are a MUST in NYC, and the museum is no exception. This place is huge and you will do a lot of walking.
5. Take the Subway (there’s an app for that too)
If you are coming from Penn Station or the Port Authority Bus Terminal, you can hop off the local C train to the 81st Street/Museum of Natural History stop. There is an entrance to the museum right from the subway station. Ideal for traveling on a rainy day or other inclement weather! On a related note, I highly recommend the NYC Subway app, since it doesn’t require online access, which can be very spotty in the subway tunnels. Very straight-forward and easy to use.
6. Plan Your Exhibit Tour
You can do this using the museum’s app. I recommend planning your exhibit tour ahead of time, at least a day or two before your visit. There is so much to explore!
7. Consider Super Saver Tickets
Suggested General Admission, which supports the Museum’s scientific and educational endeavors, includes admission to all 45 Museum halls and the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Should you wish to pay less than the suggested admission, you may do so by purchasing tickets at any admissions desk at the Museum. If you’re planning to spend most of the day at the museum, consider the super saver ticket option. This lets you enjoy admission to all of the museum’s paid exhibits, an IMAX film, and the planetarium’s space show. If you’re local to the museum, and plan to visit frequently, a membership pass may be great for you. More ticket info can be found at the museum’s website here.
8. Factor in Time for Frequent Breaks
With all the walking and learning going on, you’ll want to take plenty of time for breaks. Even a few minutes to sit on a bench and review what you’ve already seen can make a big difference!
9. Check in Your Coat and/or Bags
There is a coat check on the first floor of the museum, and it is just $2 per person to check in any unnecessary bags and your coat (space permitting). Well worth the price of not having to lug around any extra baggage into the museum.
10. Have Fun Exploring the Museum
Enjoy all that the museum has to offer. Later, once you return home, you may want to invite the kids to explore the museum’s award-winning website, Ology, to continue the learning fun at home!