Travel Guide

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History

Step through a portal to a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and traverse the globe to explore exotic wildlife in their natural habitats—all without leaving New York City. The extensive exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History include an awe-inspiring collection of dinosaur skeletons and meticulously crafted dioramas depicting animals from around the world.

The American Museum of Natural History in a nutshell…

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s largest natural history museums.

Location: 200 Central Park West in New York City.

Transportation: To reach the museum via subway, take the B (weekdays only) or C train to 81st Street. For bus travel, the M79 stops directly next to the museum on West 81st Street. Other convenient bus routes include the M7, M10, M11, M86, and M104.

Tickets: It’s advisable to book online  to avoid delays upon arrival. Discount passes are accepted and recommended for multi-attraction savings.

Visiting Hours: Open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When you visit the American Museum of Natural History, you’re not just visiting a museum; you’re embarking on a voyage through time and across continents. Nestled in the heart of New York City, this esteemed institution is a gateway to exploring the past, understanding the present, and imagining the future. With its grand façade facing Central Park, the museum is a cornerstone of cultural education, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Inside, you’ll find a mesmerizing array of exhibits that cater to all interests. From the fossil halls boasting some of the world’s most famous dinosaur skeletons to the vivid dioramas showcasing animals in their native environments, the museum offers a unique view into the diversity of life on Earth. It’s an enchanting experience that combines education with entertainment, making it a must-visit destination for families, students, and tourists alike.

Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of science, or simply in search of a fascinating day out, the American Museum of Natural History promises to deliver an enriching experience. Each hall is a window into the natural world, providing insights that inspire curiosity and wonder. Make sure to book your tickets online  to skip the lines and ensure a seamless visit. Dive into the natural world as you’ve never seen it before!

Practical Information

Before you set off to explore the wonders of the American Museum of Natural History, here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your visit.


The American Museum of Natural History is ideally located at 200 Central Park West, nestled between West 77th Street and West 81st Street.

This central location makes it an excellent starting point for a day of exploration in New York City.

How to Get There

With easy access via various modes of transport and a range of ticket options to suit every need, planning your visit is straightforward. Let’s ensure your visit is as enjoyable and efficient as possible!


Reaching the museum is a breeze with New York City’s extensive subway system. Take the B (weekdays only) or C train to 81st Street. From there, it’s just a short walk west to the museum. Alternatively, the 1 train stops at Broadway and West 79th Street, only two blocks away from the museum.


For those who prefer traveling above ground, several bus routes serve the museum. The M79 bus crosses Central Park and stops right next to the museum on West 81st Street. Additional buses including the M7, M10, M11, M86, and M104 provide convenient stops near the museum, making it accessible from virtually anywhere in the city.

Hop-on Hop-off Buses

Exploring New York City’s landmarks by hop-on hop-off buses is not only convenient but also offers a scenic way to move between attractions.

With flexible route options and stops at major tourist spots, including the American Museum of Natural History, you can discover the city at your own pace. It’s an ideal choice for those who want to maximize their sightseeing opportunities without the hassle of navigating traffic.

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While driving in New York City can be challenging due to congestion and limited parking, the museum does provide a parking garage for those who choose to drive.

The garage is accessible from 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue and is open from early morning until late at night. However, for a stress-free visit, public transportation is often the better choice.


Purchasing tickets for the American Museum of Natural History is straightforward and can be tailored to your visiting needs. Doing it online not only saves you time but also secures your entry with minimal hassle.

Pay-What-You-Wish Admission

For residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the museum offers a Pay-What-You-Wish admission option. This allows you to choose the price you pay for general admission, making it accessible to a wider audience. Remember, this option requires proof of residency, so be sure to bring your ID.

Entrance with Discount Passes

Exploring the American Museum of Natural History can be an integral part of your New York adventure. Utilizing discount passes not only provides access to the museum but also to other top attractions around the city.

These passes offer significant savings and convenience, perfect for those looking to explore at their own pace without the burden of individual ticket costs.

The New York Sightseeing Pass

Choose the New York Sightseeing Day Pass for a comprehensive experience. This pass grants access to almost all of New York’s major attractions over a set number of days. It’s a cost-effective and convenient option, especially if you plan to visit multiple sites.

GoCity Explorer Pass

The Go New York Explorer Pass allows you to choose from over 90 top attractions, including the American Museum of Natural History. This flexible option lets you tailor your itinerary to your interests, ensuring you get the most out of your visit.

The New York Pass

For those eager to dive deep into New York’s cultural scene, the New York Pass is ideal. Offering access to over 100 attractions, including museums, tours, and bike rentals, this pass is perfect for those who want a comprehensive exploration of the city’s offerings.

New York CityPASS

For first-time visitors, the New York CityPASS is invaluable. It grants entry to five top attractions, including the AMNH, and saves up to 40% on normal rates. Valid for 9 consecutive days, it’s an excellent choice for those looking to experience the best of New York at a reduced cost.

Opening Times

The American Museum of Natural History welcomes visitors daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day when it is closed. This allows ample time for visitors to explore its vast collections and special exhibitions.

Best Time to Visit

To make the most of your visit, consider coming on a weekday. These days typically see fewer visitors, offering a more relaxed atmosphere to enjoy the exhibits. Early mornings, right at opening time, are particularly quiet, providing a nearly private viewing experience of the museum’s many wonders.

What to Expect at the American Museum of Natural History

Exploring the American Museum of Natural History is like navigating a vast ocean of knowledge, where each exhibit invites you into a different era or ecosystem. Spanning over 2 million square feet, the museum houses everything from the age of dinosaurs to the depths of the ocean, making it easy to lose track of time amidst its wonders.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the first-floor exhibits where you can immerse yourself in the underwater world of Ocean Life. Be sure to capture a memorable photo with the magnificent blue whale model—a favorite spot for visitors. Conclude your tour at the vibrant Gems and Mineral exhibition to see minerals come alive under ultraviolet light, including the stunning purple gemstone.

The museum’s sheer size and the scope of its collections mean you could visit time and again and still discover new treasures. To ensure you see all your must-visit exhibits, it’s wise to plan your route in advance, especially if you’re keen to catch the special exhibitions that often feature 3D films and interactive elements. While some of these may require separate tickets, they offer unique experiences that are well worth the additional cost. Make sure to book your tickets online to enjoy these exhibitions without the hassle of long queues!

Dinosaurs in the Fossil Halls

Begin your adventure in the Dinosaur Wing on the fourth floor, where the past comes alive. This area houses an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including the imposing Titanosaur, which stretches over 122 feet in length and barely fits within the hall. Don’t miss the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs, where you can admire the Stegosaurus with its iconic back plates and the Triceratops known for its formidable horns. The exhibit also features a unique display of dinosaur eggs in a nest, offering a glimpse into the lives of these ancient creatures.

The Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals

The Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals offer a dazzling array of over 5,000 mineral species from around the globe. As you enter, the first thing you’ll notice is an impressive purple gemstone, dating back nearly 135 million years. This hall not only showcases gemstones used in jewelry but also educates visitors on the diversity and origins of these fascinating minerals.

Admire a Giant Mammoth

On the fourth floor, in the Hall of Advanced Mammals, stands the impressive skeleton of a mammoth, a majestic creature that roamed the earth 11,000 years ago. This exhibit, part of the Wing of Mammals and Their Extinct Relatives, also features the Lestodon, a daunting giant ground sloth whose appearance contrasts sharply with the modern-day, adorable sloths.

Mammal Halls – Home of the Wild

The Mammal Halls are divided into six subcategories, each dedicated to a different region or type of mammal—from the African savannahs to the forests of North America. If time is short, make it a point to visit at least one or two of these halls. The dioramas, especially those featuring African elephants and lions or the North American wildlife like Alaska brown bears and musk oxen, are crafted to perfection, bringing these creatures to life before your eyes.

Dive into the Ocean Life

The Hall of Ocean Life on the first floor offers a deep dive into marine biodiversity. Here, you can look up to find a life-sized model of a blue whale, the largest animal ever known. The hall also features dramatic scenes like a sperm whale clashing with a giant squid and a whale shark gliding through the water, providing a comprehensive view of oceanic life.

A Space Odyssey at the Rose Center for Earth and Space

The Rose Center for Earth and Space, spanning the first and second floors, transports you into the cosmos. Explore the digital universe atlas in the planetarium or walk the cosmic pathway, feeling as though you’re aboard a spacecraft. The center’s lower level displays the Willamette meteorite, a colossal visitor from space that offers a tangible connection to the vastness of our universe.

Gilder Center

The newly opened Richard Gilder Center for Science enhances your museum experience with its innovative architecture and interactive exhibits. Enter through the Griffin Atrium, a striking space that resembles a rock-carved canyon, and explore the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium or the Invisible Worlds Immersive Experience, where the marvels of nature are revealed in new and exciting ways.

Other Permanent Exhibitions at the Museum of Natural History

For a broader understanding of biodiversity and cultural history, visit the Biodiversity and Environmental Halls to learn about species that have walked the Earth alongside humans. The Hall of Birds of the World and the reptile displays on the third floor offer close-ups with exotic and familiar species alike. For a walk through human history, the Human Origins and Cultural Halls showcase artifacts from ancient civilizations around the world, including a cast of the famous Easter Island moai, providing a comprehensive view of our shared heritage.

Tips to Visit the American Museum of Natural History

Visiting the American Museum of Natural History is an adventure through time and space, and to maximize your experience, here are some practical tips to keep in mind. From navigating the halls to dining options, these suggestions will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit.

  • Allocate at least 90 minutes to explore, though a full day is recommended to truly appreciate the museum’s vast offerings.
  • Eating and drinking are not allowed inside the exhibit halls to help preserve the artifacts.
  • Personal photography is welcome, but please leave selfie sticks and tripods at home as they are prohibited.
  • Download the official AMNH app for a digital floor map and detailed exhibit information, enhancing your visit.
  • Use the cloakroom at the main entrance on Central Park West (79th Street) to check coats and bags for $2 per item. Note that large backpacks and luggage are not accepted.
  • For quicker access, use the side entrance on 81st Street, but for a grander start, the main entrance offers an immediate view of a towering dinosaur.
  • Refresh and refuel at one of the two cafés or the more extensive food court on the lower level, perfect for family dining.
  • The museum shops are treasure troves for unique gifts like dinosaur plushies and educational kits—ideal for young explorers.
  • Picking up a floor map at the entrance is crucial to navigate this large museum effectively without missing the key exhibits.
  • The museum is a great indoor activity, perfect for rainy days or cold weather, and Central Park’s proximity offers a pleasant post-visit stroll.


The American Museum of Natural History is committed to accessibility for all visitors. Here’s how the museum ensures everyone can enjoy their visit:

  • All exhibitions and public floors are accessible by wheelchair.
  • Elevators equipped with Braille signage and auditory signals are located at key entrances including the Central Park West and 77th Street entrance, the Rose Center, and the Richard Gilder Center for Science.
  • Caregivers accompanying visitors with disabilities receive free admission—be sure to reserve your timed ticket.
  • Service animals are welcome throughout the museum.
  • Strollers are allowed in most areas, with the recommended entrance for stroller access being the 81st Street/Rose Center for Earth and Space.
  • Note that double strollers may be restricted in special exhibition galleries, but stroller parking is available.

Frequently Asked Questions

To get a good overview and enjoy several exhibits, plan for at least 90 minutes, though spending a full day is ideal to fully appreciate what the museum has to offer.

No, eating and drinking inside the museum are prohibited to protect the exhibits and maintain a clean environment.

Yes, photography for personal use is allowed, but please refrain from using selfie sticks and tripods.

Yes, the official AMNH app includes a digital floor map and detailed information about the exhibits, enhancing your visit.

A cloakroom is available at the main entrance where you can check coats and small bags for $2 per item. Note that large items like backpacks and luggage are not accepted.

The side entrance on 81st Street provides quicker access, although the main entrance offers a more dramatic entry with an immediate view of a dinosaur.

The museum has two cafés and a food court. The first-floor café in the Grand Gallery offers wine and beer, while the fourth-floor café serves light meals and snacks. The food court, located across from the subway entrance on the lower level, offers a wider selection suitable for family dining.

Yes, the museum features several shops where you can purchase unique and quirky items like t-shirts, books, and educational toys.

The museum’s large size can be challenging to navigate. Be sure to pick up a floor map at the entrance to help find your way around efficiently.

Absolutely, the museum’s wide range of exhibits and interactive displays make it a perfect place for children, providing educational entertainment.

The museum is an excellent indoor activity, ideal for rainy days or cold weather, and provides a warm, educational escape from the elements.

The museum is fully accessible, with wheelchair-accessible exhibitions, elevators with Braille and auditory signals, and complimentary admission for caregivers.

Yes, service animals are welcome to accompany visitors throughout the museum.

The recommended entrance for strollers is the 81st Street/Rose Center for Earth and Space entrance, which accommodates stroller access to most areas of the museum.

While strollers are welcome, double strollers may not be permitted in special exhibition galleries due to space constraints. Stroller parking is provided where restrictions apply.

Where to Stay Near the American Museum of Natural History

Staying near the American Museum of Natural History is highly recommended for visitors looking to immerse themselves in New York City’s vibrant Upper West Side. The area not only offers quick access to the museum but is also surrounded by charming streets, boutique shops, and a variety of restaurants. Nearby accommodations range from luxurious hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts, catering to all preferences and budgets.

Choosing to stay in this area allows you to start your day with a scenic walk in Central Park, visit the museum, and then explore the historic neighborhoods nearby. For those looking for a more nightlife-centric or downtown experience, staying in areas like Midtown or the Lower East Side might be preferable. However, for museum lovers and those seeking a quieter, more residential vibe, the Upper West Side near the American Museum of Natural History is ideal.

Other Interesting Museums in New York City

New York City is a treasure trove of cultural experiences, with a diverse array of museums beyond the American Museum of Natural History. Each offers unique insights into different aspects of art, history, and science, making NYC a premier destination for museum enthusiasts. Whether you’re interested in modern art, poignant historical accounts, or interactive science exhibits, there’s something in New York City for every interest.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Dive into the world of modern and contemporary art at MoMA, one of the most influential museums of its kind globally. Home to works by Van Gogh, Dali, and Warhol, MoMA offers a profound look at the movements that shaped today’s art scene.

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9/11 Museum

The 9/11 Museum serves as a poignant reminder of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Through artifacts, narratives, and multimedia displays, it offers visitors a place for reflection and understanding of the impact of these events.

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The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney focuses primarily on American art, with a strong emphasis on contemporary works. Its collection and biennials are crucial in finding what’s next in American art.

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Immigration Museum on Ellis Island

Explore the poignant journey of America’s immigrants through the gateway of Ellis Island. This museum offers a detailed look at the immigrant experience through personal stories, artifacts, and interactive exhibits.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Located on an aircraft carrier, the Intrepid Museum offers an interactive exploration of military and maritime history, space exploration, and aviation. It’s a must-visit for history buffs and technology enthusiasts alike.

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Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Get up close with life-like wax figures of celebrities, historical figures, and more at Madame Tussauds. It’s a fun and photo-friendly museum experience unlike any other.

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Frick Collection Museum

The Frick Collection offers an intimate view of some of the finest paintings, porcelain, and furniture collected by Henry Clay Frick, displayed in a beautiful Gilded Age mansion.

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Other Nearby Attractions

The American Museum of Natural History is perfectly situated to continue exploring the richness of New York City. Positioned near Central Park on the Upper West Side, it is an ideal starting point for a day filled with cultural immersion and exploration. After visiting the museum, you can easily walk to other renowned institutions or enjoy the natural beauty of Central Park.

Central Park

Central Park offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets. Enjoy walking paths, boat rentals, and scenic views, making it a perfect spot for relaxation and recreation.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Known as “The Met,” this world-class museum showcases a vast collection spanning 5,000 years of art. It’s a must-visit for art lovers and historians alike.

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The Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim is not only famous for its distinctive architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright but also for its impressive collection of modern art.

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Home to the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, and other prestigious institutions, Lincoln Center is a beacon for performing arts enthusiasts.

Other Recommended Experiences in New York City

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On this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Practical Information
  3. What to Expect at the American Museum of Natural History
  4. Tips to Visit the American Museum of Natural History
  5. Accessibility
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Where to Stay Near the American Museum of Natural History
  8. Other Interesting Museums in New York City
  9. Other Nearby Attractions