Updated November 21st, 2018
No doubt, it is one of the most acclaimed museums of the city and perhaps the best in the world in its category. Personally I have seen two other famous ones, London and Washington DC, and certainly this is my favorite. It receives more than 5 million visitors a year, but it is big enough not to seem crowed while being explored.
- At least two hours are needed to enjoy the museum.
- PRICE: IT’S FREE. This is really important: there is a “$23 suggested donation” but it is by no means mandatory. Twice I entered, I paid $1. You have to make the queue and take the ticket in the desk. Getting it out on the lobby machines or on the internet we would force you to pay those $23.
- Hours: open daily from 10 am to 5:45 pm.
- How to get there: it’s on Central Park West, between 77th and 81th Streets. There are several entrances. The nearest subway station is 81st Museum of Natural History, on the A, C and B lines. You can enter from the station, without going up to the street level.
- Eating: as far as I remember, the museum cafe was not bad for quality or price, especially considering that the admission to the museum is free.
THE MOST OUTSTANDING
We propose the following itinerary:
From the main entrance, on the first floor (in the United States there is no ground floor), once past the hall, you enter the most praised part of the museum, the one that distinguishes it from others we have seen, the Hall of American Mammals. It is a spectacular room where there are dissected animals in glazed dioramas, decorated with such perfection, that most of them not only seem to be alive, but also to be in their natural habitat.
Subsequently, the same scheme is repeated immediately above, in the second and third floors, being in this case African mammals.
To see them all, and believe me when I tell you that you will want to see them all, I recommend to see the first floor, go up to the second (the stairs are two sides of the main entrance) and then the third, without leaving the room.
Once we have seen the third floor, let’s keep on going one floor up more using the same stairs and we will reach the dinosaurs room. Moving through fourth floor, we’ll have no choice but to turn right after each room, going through more dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals.
If we go back down to the third floor, there is an amphibian and reptile room, another North American birds, and a smaller for primates. More rooms in the background are dedicated to Native Americans and the Pacific.
Going down to the second floor, practically everything is dedicated to the human being, except an interesting room of birds of the world and another one of Asian mammals.
Personally, I recommend descending on the right side of the museum, one of my favorites, where the Rose Center is, an area in the shape of a glass cube, dedicated to the universe and its formation, which has 3 levels, being the only one that occupies part of the lower floor (where there is also a food court).
That forces us to go back from the lower to the first floor, where we will conclude the visit, because on the other side of the Hall of Mammals there is another of the great attractions, the Halls of Biodiversity and Ocean Life, with a lot of amazing creatures and a 30 meters blue whale (although it is a replica, you will not notice).
The rooms at the back of the museum, although exceptional, will not be of interest to all visitors, since they are usually less fond of geology than zoology, but it is fair to say that there are magnificent pieces. There is also a meteorite zone.
Going from one room to another, we will always make interesting finds. Apart from the permanent sections, there are temporary exhibitions, an IMAX theater and a planetarium, which have to be paid separately.