One of New York City ’s greatest museums, the huge, sprawling American Museum of Natural History (CPW at 79th St., 212/769-5100, www.amnh.org , 10 a.m.–5:45 daily, suggested admission adults $16, students and seniors $12, children under 12 $9, shows cost extra) is especially famous for its breathtaking dioramas of animals in their natural habitats and state-of-the-art dinosaur exhibitions.
Housed beneath soaring windows, the dinosaurs are mounted in dramatic poses, just as they might have appeared millions of years ago. The most amazing skeleton of all is that of a skinny, 50-foot-high barosaurus arching its angry neck high into a dome as it protects its young from the much smaller allosaurus.
Other highlights of the museum include the African Mammals wing, featuring seven furious stampeding elephants, and the 94-foot blue whale suspended from the ceiling in the Hall of Ocean Life who looks regally down on visitors, inspiring social media accounts noting his wry observations of the crowd below.
Those traveling with kids in tow can take advantage of the museum’s special overnights, an experience that captures the imaginations of every age, as seen by the success of the movie, Night at the Museum, filmed here.
In total, the American Museum of Natural History owns close to 40 million specimens.
Adjoining the museum is the Rose Center for Earth and Space (included with museum suggested admission). Here, you’ll find the Hayden Planetarium, equipped with a state-of-the-art Zeiss sky projector capable of projecting 9,100 stars as viewed from earth.