Disclosure: We attended the American Museum of Natural History as press and received complimentary passes. As always our post is our unbiased opinions.
The last weeks of summer vacation are fast approaching, and it seems like every idea of a fun family outing has been exhausted. Yet, the Dancing Hotdogs family has found one more ray of sunshine, and while it was extremely educational, I have to say it was also extremely entertaining. That find is the American Natural History Museum…let’s skip the music stopping and the records scratching for a moment and let me tell you want you are missing.
As most New Yorkers and Tri-state residents know, this has been an extremely wet summer and not in a good way. The Natural History Museum in NYC is an Oasis were we escaped the brutal rain and humidity in an enormous air conditioned time capsule. Even with the large amount of people streaming in you could really quietly sit and enjoy the history. Not to say that this is boring for kids.
This was the first Museum visit for our sons. Watch the video. Do you think they had fun?
Tip #1, go to the top floor (4th) and see the dinosaurs. You could spend half a day just reading and learning about each type and how they were discovered. Disbursed throughout the exhibits were interactive stations from videos to hands on fossils that you can touch. But you might be saying that the Dinosaurs never change and you want to see something different with your family.
Tip #2, check out the specials exhibits and displays. Throughout the year the museum has a number of special exhibits that change regularly. These displays are segregated from the rest of the Museum and require an additional purchase of a ticket, but boy do you get a more that what you pay for. During our visit, we got to see the Whales exhibits and the Frogs exhibit. The Whales were by far one of the most impressive museum displays that I have seen in a while. You honestly do not really appreciate the full scale of these creatures until you are faced with a full skeleton of a Sperm Whale. It seemed like everywhere you looked there was an interactive aspect from a short film on cultural beliefs on whales to a full sized replica of a blue whales heart that children could climb in and out of and watch a video within the chambers. It was honestly crazy.
After that display in size, we were brought to a smaller perspective in Frogs. In one of the more rare exhibits in the museum you were able to see actual living specimens of various varieties of frogs. AS you can tell this was a big hit with the boys. Keeping with the theme there were various interactive elements all over the area, from sound machines to trivia questions on frogs. All were made in a why that was interesting to kids from 5 to 105. There was so much to see.
Tip #3, don’t try to see everything in one day. The way we approached it was to see the big things (like the dinosaurs) and then just wander around and get lost. Everyone is going to have a different approach, the one important thing to remember is that trying to see everything prevents you from truly enjoying the experience. But what if your thing isn’t natural history or the Earth.
Tip #4, admission to the museum also gives you access to the Rose Center for Earth and Space. If your little one has their heads in the clouds being able to see real meteorites and asteroids should be a fantastic experience. There is also a Planetarium where the Center does a space show narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. We were not able to catch the show (see tip #3) but Rock has already let it be known that the next visit will figure outer space very prominently.
Finally, Tip #5, go to www.amnh.org. This is where you can purchase tickets (heavily recommended if you don’t to spend time waiting in a long line on a busy day), learn more about the exhibits and plan your visit. In addition, there is a App for iOS that helps you find your way around, something I wish I knew when I got separated and lost from the rest of the family.
Overall, our visit was amazing, it was a day our family could spend together outside of the elements without watching a movie or TV. It was educational, athletic (from all the walking) and most importantly entertaining.