Monday, December 8, 2008

American Museum of Natural History

It's the first weekend of the month again and we decided to take advantage of Bank of America's "Museums On Us" program. The last time we used that was when we visited the NY Aquarium in Brooklyn. This past weekend, we went to the American Museum of Natural History in the city. It's located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on 79th Street. The best way to get to the museum is by subway. You can either take the B or C train and get off at the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History stop. Keep in mind that the B train doesn't run on weekends, so you would have to either ride the C or transfer at Columbus Circle if you are coming from downtown.

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums the America. Founded in 1869, it comprises of 25 interconnected buildings that houses 46 permanent exhibit halls, research laboratories and it's famous library. The collection contains over 32 million specimens and has a scientific staff of over 200 people.This photo was taken while lining up for tickets at the main lobby. We didn't know that we didn't have to stand in line with the others if we are visiting under the Museums On Us program. All we need to do is go to the members only line, show them our Bank of American card and we get free general admission tickets as well as the Climate Change exhibit tickets for free. If you are visiting and need to buy tickets, it cost $15 for adults and $8.50 for children.

Call me sheltered if you like, but I have never seen such an impressive natural history museum before. From the moment you walk into the main lobby to the last exhibit you see, everything is a little bit more impressive and a little bit more spectacular than the other natural history museums I have been too.

My favorite section in the museum is the 4th floor exhibits. This is where all the Fossil Halls are located. Here are some photos that we managed to take from that floor.

Yup, doesn't he look familiar? I believe the T-Rex from the Ben Stiller movie Night at the Museum was based on him :D

This is a Mammuthus. It's larger that its relative the Woolly Mammoth and this are fossils of the animal who lived more than 11,000 years ago in India. Here are more photos from the Fossil Halls.

Among the other highlights of the museum is their extensive collection of gems, featuring the Star of India. It's the largest blue sapphire in the world. The museum also has a very impressive anthropological collection of various people group of the world. Apart from that, it also has a big collection of full size models of animals from African, Asia and North America. Here is a photo of me standing in front of a massive 34 ton piece of the Cape York meteorite. It boast to be the largest piece of meteorite to be on display in any public museum.

Some of the more notable mentions of the museum in movies or tv shows is of course the ever popular Night at the Museum movie. It's based on this museum, even though most of the filming was done on a set in Canada. Another famous mention of the museum was in the tv show Friends. This was where Ross worked in the early part of the series (before he was working in NYU) and also where Ross and Rachael had their 'date'. One small part of Exorcist II was also filmed at the museum.

The American Museum of Natural History opens daily from 10am to 5:45pm. I would recommend that you go early if you want to cover everything in the museum. We only spent a few hours in the afternoon there (because we had a late start and was distracted by some Indian food on the way to the museum) so we didn't have enough time to cover everything. We might return again next month and spend the whole day there.

Ameircan Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street,
New York, NY 10024
Tel: (212) 769-5100

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