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10 Terrific Exhibits to Explore in National History Museums NYC

The American Museum of Natural History is regularly placed at the top of the best things to do in New York City. Anyone who has visited is sure to tell you just how incredible this museum is. Whether you want to explore land, sea or outer space, the American National History Museum NYC will take you on a journey you will never forget. No other museum on the planet allows you to discover a mammoth, T-Rex, the start of the universe and a real meteorite all in one day. The collection at the American Museum of Natural History is breathtaking and cannot be missed.

There are a mind-boggling 32 million artifacts to discover. Here, we have managed to list the top 10 exhibits to help you on your visit to the National History Museum NYC.

Manhattan Dinosaur Bones Exhibition

This magnificent collection of dinosaur fossils gives you a chance to really get a feel of what these creatures once looked and lived like. The highlight here is the fully constructed skeleton of T-Rex which dominates the main hall. It’s a great chance to see just how ferocious and big this terrifying creature would have once been. In the Koch Dinosaur Wing, you will find over 100 specimens of which the vast majority are real fossils. The dinosaur collection here is one of the largest and most scientifically important collections on the planet. This part of the museum was once famously screened in the movie, Night at the Museum.

Dino Skeleton
Image by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Also, do not miss the most recent addition to this section of the American Museum of Natural History, The Titanosaur. Added in 2016, this 122 ft long cast dinosaur is something you need to see with your own eyes. Discovered in Patagonia, Argentina this huge dinosaur was named after its sheer size and strength. Scientists suggest this monster was, in fact, a herbivore that lived 95 to 100 million years ago and would have weighed at around 70 tons!

Oceans: Our Blue Planet

This exhibit allows you to discover more about the least explored habitat on earth, the ocean. New technology has allowed humans to recently explore areas of the deep ocean where we have never been able to see before. This awe-inspiring 2D and 3D film will captivate you. It shows you some of the oceans unknown secrets, marine life, and amazing new discoveries. Discover the untold stories of the oceans most amazing marine life. This film helps us to understand more about how precious and vital our ocean is to all life on earth. It should not be missed by visitors. Kids will also love the 3D showings of this stunning feature film.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The ocean is currently under huge threat from commercial fishing, nuclear leaks and oil spills endangering all of its marine life and biodiversity; affecting all life on earth. A must-see for all people visiting The American Museum of Natural History.

The Big Bang Exhibit

Why are humans here? How did we get here? Discover one of the most interesting and compelling exhibitions about the start of our universe in this unique glass cubed building presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Inside you will discover the impressive Big Bang theater and Hayden Planetarium inside a huge sphere. Here, you can walk along the Cosmic Pathway to discover more about our ever-expanding universe we call home.

Hayden Planetarium
Image by WikiCommons

Also, watch a short film about the Big Bang and explore our universe on a whole new level. The presentation takes you back to the dawn of time from the initial spark that started it all to the expansion and cooling; the emergence of simple clouds to galaxies with stars. The exhibit will have you feeling like just a speck floating around a space that is incomprehensible.

The Dark Universe

Dark Exhibition
Image by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

If the Big Bang exhibition left you wanting more, then head over to the Dark Universe exhibition. Here you can discover some of the most amazing cosmic phenomena that have taken place deep into the universe. Just over the last 100 hundred years, our species has built the technology to be able to observe our universe in ways never thought possible. This special exhibition takes place inside the Hayden Planetarium and seeks to expose visitors to some of the breathtaking scenes that have taken place in our universe via film. The show lasts approximately 25 minutes but may just feel like an eternity. This is also an opportunity not to be missed. To learn about some of the most recent discoveries scientists have made using the most advanced space telescopes and technology available.

The Mammoth Exhibit

National History Museum NYC
Image by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

In the American Museum of Natural History NYC, you will find much more than dinosaurs including this outstanding skeleton of a real mammoth, known as Mammuthus. This creature lived 11,000 years ago and was discovered in Indiana, USA. These Mammoths were much larger than their relatives the wooly mammoths; looking similar but minus the shaggy hair. This display also gives visitors a real feel for just how large these fascinating creatures once were. Visitors can also discover how humans once lived and fought against them. In the same area, you find the remains of a baby wooly mammoth named Effie; found in Alaska in 1948. Additionally, this young wooly mammoth lived 21,000 years ago and was preserved frozen in ice.

The Blue Whale

National History Museum NYC
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The huge animals continue with this stunning exhibition which showcases a life-size blue whale hanging from the ceiling. The Blue Whale is the largest creature on the planet; even bigger than the dinosaurs that once roamed 65 million years ago. The display is nothing short than breathtaking and allows visitors to understand the magnitude of these great marine creatures.

Additionally, the Blue Whale model is iconic in the National History Museum NYC. It was created in the 1960’s based on photographs of a female blue whale found dead in South America. In 2001, designers were able to remodel the blue whale on the latest photography and information they had gained. Now, the model hangs as a true replica of a Blue Whale. Do not miss this.

The Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest

Rainforest National History Museum NYC
Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash

You will find this wonderful tribute to plants and vegetation in the Hall of Biodiversity and it is a wonder to behold. The exhibition was put in place to pay homage to the real Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest in Africa which is home to a vast array of plant species and trees. It is also home to elephants and lowland gorillas. Here you have a chance to learn about this unique place of biodiversity. You can also learn how you can help support, preserve and protect the forest life.

Additionally, the forest is under constant threat from agriculture, timber and mining operations making it all the more important to teach people about how to protect it. This exhibition teaches us just how important the biodiversity of the Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest is and should not be missed.

The Great Canoe Exhibit

National History Museum NYC
Image by Thomas Quine on flickr

Probably one of the most famous and popular exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History and for good reason! This seaworthy canoe was carved in the 1870s from the trunk of a single cedar tree. On the boat itself you will see markings of different Native American people from the Northwest Coast. These include the Haida and Heiltsuk. The Canoe was also made to order for British Columbia where it started its journey to New York to be displayed in the museum in 1883. The artwork on the canoe is fascinating. Most notably, the depiction of a killer whale that was most likely carved by Charles Edenshaw; one of the most influential Haida artists of all time.

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Moai Cast

Easyter Island
Image by Jamie Norman from Pixabay

If unfamiliar with the mysterious head statues of Rapa Nui then you are in for a real treat. These magnificent statues can still be seen on Easter Island even today and are still shrouded in mystery. Many speak of an ancient civilization of Rapa Nui people drawn into civil war through a lack of resources and eventually killing each other. Other talks about aliens who came down to construct these statues as a mark of terrority.

The statues are also known as Moai, huge figures of god-like ancestors constructed from volcanic rock. This impressive cast was made during the 1930s expedition and now stands proudly in the American Museum of Natural History for all to discover and learn about the Rapa Nui people. Easter Island is home to 887 moai where they are revered by people and considered to be sacred.

The Willamette Meteorite

Willamette Meteorite National History Museum NYC
Image by WikiCommons

There are many areas of the American Museum of Natural History where you can learn about space and the deep universe. However, there is only one place you can see an actual object from outer space, The Willamette Meteorite. Weighing a massive 15.5 tons, this meteorite made of iron was discovered in Oregon, USA. It is the largest meteorite ever found in the USA and the 6th largest meteorite found on the planet. Stand back, observe and take in the mesmerizing journey this object once took flying through our universe for an unknown amount of time only to crash into the earth just over a 1000 years ago traveling at 64,000 kilometers an hour. Before crashing, maybe the meteorite glided through space for a thousand, a million or even a few billion years!


National History Museum NYC Opening Hours
Open daily 10 am – 5.45 pm except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

National History Museum NYC Admission

Adult – $23
Student (with ID) – $18
Senior (ages 60+) – $18
Children (ages 2-12 – $13

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