It’s not hard to figure out that we’re crazy about nature. One of its consequences is that whenever we visit a city and there’s a natural history museum there, there’s good chance that we include that in our sightseeing program.
We’ve been to some big, famous and amazing natural history museums before (like the one in London or San Francisco) and we’ve seen a lot of smaller ones. But the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is THE Natural History Museum for us.
Why choose between education and entertainment?
It is the most perfect mixture of education and entertainment what we’ve seen anywhere so far!
How many of you remember yourselves as children being curious and enthusiastic to know everything about space, astronomy, volcanoes, ocean life, dinosaurs… whatever?
As soon as we entered this museum we became those children again. Children who once had no idea that education and entertainment are two different things – and they really shouldn’t be. That’s what we love the most about this museum: here they are the same.
The amazing 3D theater
Watching movies in 3D could be such a great experience (it definitely has the potential, everything else depends on those who make the movie…). What about nature series?
Watching Tiny Giants in the museum’s 3D theater was a completely new experience for us: we felt ourselves as one of the animals and actually saw the world from their perspective. What life is like when you are under 1 foot tall? Story about a chipmunk and a grasshopper mouse from an interesting, new perspective…
Exciting temporary exhibitions
There was two ongoing temporary exhibition at the time we visited the museum and both sounded so exciting that we had to start with them. It turned out that they don’t only sound exciting, they are very exciting!
Life at the Limits was about extremes of every kind in the animal world and Nature’s Fury was about natural disasters. These topics have a lot of potentials and the exhibitions were examples how to do a great job with them.
Temporary exhibitions are also good reasons to revisit, because there’s always something new.
Try things out!
What could be more exciting than learning about new things? Of course, trying them out. Touch it, smell it, measure it, build it…
Build a volcano. Measure the seismic vibration you can create when you jump. Compare the eggs of different dinosaurs. They are a lot of fun both for children and adults.
The planetarium inside the museum is also amazing. Though our first reaction was: ‘Oh, it’s not so big’, but this is because a couple of months earlier we’ve been to the biggest digital planetarium on Earth (in San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences) which became the reference for us.
And how funny we’ve seen the same space show in New York as in San Francisco, because the two museums worked on it together. But Dark Universe is a show exciting enough to see several times!
You get what you want
We loved that this museum give us choices. There’s so much knowledge here, but there’s also opportunities to decide how much we want to know.
We could spend half day in one room easily if that’s the room we are the most interested in and we want deep knowledge. But if we don’t have enough time or we are curious only about the most fun and interesting facts in that topic, we could also get what we want.
You can get help, too
It’s not always simple to decide what we want especially if we have so much choices. Detailed maps and the museum’s mobile app can help with that.
We found out that the best way to start exploring an exhibition is to watch the short introduction in the movie corner (if there’s one for that exhibition). It gave us an overview of the exhibition and helped us where to start and how to get the most out of it.
And we’ve still hardly seen anything
There’s a LOT to see and learn in this museum and you better accept the fact that you probably won’t even see tenth of it in one day.
After all the currently ongoing events and the planetarium we hardly had time for the permanent exhibitions. We chose space and dinosaurs as the priority to explore during the day and we didn’t even see everything in those rooms what we wanted to see.
It’s that big. And that exciting. It’s well worth a day at least if you visit New York.
Do you have a favorite natural history museum?
Please note that this is not an advertisement and we were not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are solely our own as always.