Whether you want to explore the history of animals, plants, oceans or outer space a Museum of Natural History can teach you all about it in a unique and fun way. Museums of Natural History allow us and our children to explore our natural world in fun, exciting and interactive ways like never before. These museums can teach us about anything from the life of a Sauropod dinosaur to the life of our ancestors in Sub-Saharan Africa over 100,000 years ago. This article discusses the top 10 Museums of Natural History and their must-see exhibitions that you can visit and see right now.
American Museum of Natural History – New York City
Have you ever wanted to see the fully constructed remains of T-rex, wooly mammoth or a life-size model of a Blue Whale? The American Museum of Natural History is probably one of the most famous natural history museums on the planet and gives lucky visitors the chance to explore the history of our natural world like no other place. Discover how the universe was created in state of the art Hayden Planetarium, explore the depths of our Oceans in the special feature film ‘Our Blue Planet’ or wonder at the 11,000-year-old remains of a real Mammoth! There are a staggering 32 million artifacts inside the American Museum of Natural History just waiting to be discovered.
If that isn’t enough, you could visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washinton D.C. It’s a close 2nd to the American Museum of Natural History but has so much to offer to visitors. This includes the Hall of Fossils, Objects of Wonder and Butterfly Pavilion exhibit.
Open daily 10 am – 5.45 pm except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Adult – $23
Student (with ID) – $18
Senior (ages 60+) – $18
Children (ages 2-12 – $13
Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) — Wellington
The collection held at the Museum of New Zealand covers environment, history, art, Maori, and Pacific cultures making this one of the most interesting and unique museums in the world. The name of the museum ‘Te Papa’ is an abbreviation of the Maori translation for the ‘Museum of New Zealand’. Inside you will find an incredible nature exhibition, celebrating the rich and diverse nature in New Zealand. Special exhibitions are also regularly held here including displays on Gallipolli, wildlife photography and special artist galleries. Don’t miss the unique collection of Maori artifacts on display, you won’t find them anywhere else in the world.
Open daily 10 am – 6.00 pm except on Christmas Day.
Free for everyone.
Natural History Museum of London
The iconic full Blue Whale skeleton dominates this impressive museum of natural history. Divided into four separate zones, the Natural History Museum of London will take you on a journey of a lifetime discovering anything from the evolution of humans to Ancient Egypt to modern space exploration. There are also many opportunities for interactive learning here making it perfect for families with children. The four zones include Blue (biology), Green (evolution), Red (geology) and Orange (outdoors/hands-on).
Open daily 10 am – 5.30 pm except on the Christmas holiday (24th-26th).
Free for everyone.
National Museum of Natural History – Vienna
125 years old and still going strong. The Natural History Museum in Vienna is also an important institution, one that still fascinates any visitors lucky enough to walk its halls. The architecture is simply stunning and may even interest people more than the artifacts on display! The main piece on display here, however, has to be the one and only Venus de Willendorf, the carved stone effigy that is now nearly 30,000 years old. Additionally, Charles Darwin plays an integral role throughout the museum as it was the first museum dedicated to the theory of evolution.
Thursday-Monday: 9 am – 6.30 pm
Wednesday: 9 am – 9 pm
Also closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day
Children (under 19) – Free
Seniors – €10
Beijing Museum of Natural History — Beijing
At the Chinese National Museum of Natural History, you can explore some of the wondrous history and ancient artifacts discovered in China covering 86,000 sq feet. There is no way you could see it all in one day so just get lost in awe. Most notably the museum’s dinosaur bone collection is one of the best in the world. Also, it’s the only museum displaying an intact Stegodon Zdanskyi skull. The South China marine life display is also an exhibit worth visiting, it covers 10 different sections and has around 300 different specimens to learn about.
Open daily 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. Closes on Mondays at 4.00 pm.
Free for everyone.
National Museum of Natural History — Paris
The French National Museum of Natural History is huge, boasting some amazing specimens and exhibits to explore including a number of botanical gardens, the museum of man, a children’s museum and the natural history museum itself. All the work and displays here are on a mission to educate people on the natural world and spark activism within us all to help protect our beautiful planet. Additionally, here you will find specific buildings for paleontology, geology and even virtual reality (located in the gallery of evolution). The Gallery of Evolution also allows visitors to explore 7,000 lifelike specimens and learn about how evolution has shaped animals into their present-day form.
Open daily 10.00 am – 6.00 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Prices vary for the various sections of the museum, please check the website.
Melbourne Museum — Australia
The Melbourne Museum is not technically just a natural history museum but with so many specimens covering nature and wildlife it easily could be and shouldn’t be missed. Here you will find an abundance of knowledge on plants, trees, animals and of course dinosaurs. Australia is home to some of the unique and diverse life on the planet. There is also a focus on indigenous Australia, exhibiting some of the ancient artifacts of people who lived 1000’s of years ago and exploring their way of life.
Additionally, do not miss the opportunity to walk through the stand of Victoria’s forest, here you will find 1000’s of species of animals from Australia’s wildlife. The museum also has an IMAX theater which regularly shows special feature films about anything from our oceans to the great barrier reef to climate change and even our microbiome.
Open daily 10.00 am – 5.00 pm except for Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Adult – $15
Children (under 16) – Free
Tickets for IMAX theater vary, check the website for details.
La Plata Museum — Argentina
One of the most fascinating sections of the La Plata Museum is the Mycology area, for those that don’t know, that is the study of mushrooms. Mushrooms are some of the most fascinating life on our planet, this section gives visitors a unique insight into the history of mushrooms and how they live.
Additionally, being in Argentina, the museum is of course filled will millions of dinosaur bones, most notably the Diplodocus. You will also have the chance to discover many archaeological artifacts that have been discovered in the country over the last couple of hundred years. La Plata also has a strong collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts that should not be missed.
Open Tuesday- Sunday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Adult – $1.50
Children (under 12) – Free
Origins Centre, South Africa
Located in Johannesburg, the Origins Centre explores the history of humans and how we evolved from running around the plains of Africa to working in New York City. The museum combines natural history, archaeology, anthropology, and art to allow visitors to explore the amazing evolution of our species. Additionally, expect to find a large array of ancient artifacts once used by some of our oldest ancestors dating back to the stone age. Inside the Origins Museum, you will also find exhibits detailing the history of the geology in the country; some of the most unique in the world, including the area of the Drakensberg.
Open Monday- Saturday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Adult – $5.50
Children (under 12) – $3
Seniors and Students – $3
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum — Singapore
Singapore’s National Museum of Natural History, Lee Kong Chian, is heavily focused on the conservation and biodiversity of South-East Asia. It’s a rare insight into the natural history of the exotic area including nearly 1 million animal specimens to see and learn about. There is also a dinosaur zone in which you can see the impressive display of 3 sauropods, a large herbivorous dinosaur that once dominated the treelines of SEA millions of years ago. The building itself is split into 3 sections: Heritage, Organic Material and Biodiversity. Each offers visitors fascinating displays and interactive activities for all ages.
Open Tuesday- Sunday 10.00 am – 7.00 pm. Closes on Mondays at 5.30 pm.
Adult – $15
Children (under 12) – $9.50
Seniors and Students – $9.50