Located in Manhattan, New York, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the oldest and most visited attractions of its kind in the United States. From dinosaur fossils and animal dioramas to ancient artifacts and extraterrestrial relics, the AMNH has dozens of galleries that celebrate biodiversity and anthropology.
History of the Museum
The museum dates back to its founding in 1869 when the official bill was signed to create the American Museum of Natural History by New York Governor John Thompson Hoffman. John David Wolfe became president of the museum in 1870 and it wasn’t until 1871 when a series of collections went on display for the first time in the Central Park Arsenal. Central Park Arsenal was the original home of the museum.
The museum outgrew its original building and moved to its current location in 1874. However, the first building didn’t open to the public until 1877 after President Rutherford Hayes performed the public ceremony.
From 1880 to the early 1930’s the museum was involved with many expeditions that took place to discover unmapped areas of Siberia, North Poke, Gobi and Mongolia. These explorations sent representatives and scientists on a journey all around the globe to bring back different discoveries that would become artifacts in the museum today.
Exhibits and Amenities
The Hall of Biodiversity at the AMNH feature dioramas of some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Notable galleries in this exhibit include the Dzanga-Sangha Rain Forest, Spectrum of Life and Endangered Species. At the Hall of Ocean Life, visitors will discover hundreds of aquatic species. Covering nearly 30,000 sq feet, this section includes a life-size replica of a blue whale. The world’s most beloved animals are also featured in the Mammal Halls. The Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians includes presentations on the alligator, Komodo dragon and other cold-blooded animals.
If you’re curious about extinct beasts, check out the Fossil Halls. Hundreds of authentic and restored dinosaur fossils are on display in these halls. A dinosaur fossil also stands in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda near the main entrance. The Rose Center for Space and Earth covers everything from the Big Bang and astronomy to aerospace and aeronautics. Don’t forget to explore the Human Origins and Cultural Halls, which focus on ancient and modern civilizations.
Located on the lower level, the Museum Food Court serves dozens of a la carte items, including gluten-free treats. Beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages are available at the Cafe on One, which is located on the first level. Gourmet snacks may be purchased at the Cafe on Four, which overlooks 77th Street.
Occupying three levels, the museum shop sells books, toys, puzzles, artwork and other souvenirs relating to the exhibits on display. The Planetarium Shop and Cosmic Shop sell an array of interesting items relating to outer space. Kids can buy awesome dinosaur-themed merchandise at the Dino Store on the fourth level. Additionally, the special exhibitions at the AMNH often include temporary vendor kiosks.
Location and Travel Tips
The American Museum of Natural History has its own subway station near the corner of 81st Street and Central Park West. You can take the B and C trains to this underground station in Manhattan’s Upper West Side district. An on-site parking garage is also accessible from 81st Street. Additionally, the AMNH is located just steps away from the scenic Central Park, one of NYC’s premier green spaces.
Click to visit the American Museum of Natural History official website.
Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the museum or company in question.