Introduction to the AMNH
The American Museum of Natural History is between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, and between 77th and 81st street in Manhattan in New York City. It is most famous for its huge dinosaur collection, but there is much more besides! It is connected to the Rose Center for Air and Space, but this review is just about the AMNH. If you are visiting New York City, especially with kids, the American Museum of Natural History is a great attraction.
History and Development of the American Museum of Natural History
The AMNH was founded in 1869, and moved to its current site in 1870. It has grown into a huge complex of 23 buildings with 1.2 million square feet of space. In fact, in terms of cubic space, it’s got more than another New York City site: The Empire State Building. One of the key figures in its growth was Teddy Roosevelt, who supplied it with many finds, led expeditions, and added to the funding for this museum.
Some permanent exhibits at the AMNH
The most famous exhibit, and almost surely the most visited, is the dinosaurs; it is the largest collection of dinosaurs in the world. The collection is in 2 huge rooms on the 4th floor. One room is for [Saurischian Dinosaurs http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/fossils/sauris.html] including tyranosaurus rex and apatosaurus (formerly known as brontosaurus). Saurischian dinosaurs are those which have hands that can grasp things. T. rex would hold its prey in its claws while eating it. The other hall has [ornithischian dinosaurs http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/fossils/ornithis.html] which have backward pointing pubic bones. Famous ornithischian dinosaurs are stegosaurus and triceratops.
But there are 44 other permanent halls. From American Indians to Whales, there’s something for everyone here. The blue whale is housed in the hall of Ocean Life, and though you’ve probably read about how big these animals are, you don’t really get a sense until you see one, life size. The hall of human origins tells the story of human evolution, and includes dioramas of Australopithecus afarensis, Homo ergaster, Neanderthal, and Cro-Magnon, as well as casts of many other hominids.
You may not think of NY State in terms of its natural inhabitants, but the hall on New York State environment may open your eyes. There’s a lot more nature in NY than you might think!
The hall of biodiversity stresses the huge variety of life on Earth, and the danger it is all in due to one animal: Man.
Current (Summer, 2010) exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History
Current exhibits include Race to the End of the Earth, about going to the South Pole, Lizards and Snakes Alive! which features 60 live snakes and lizards in their natural habitat, Traveling the Silk Road, Mysteries of the Great Lakes, Spider Silk featuring a textile made of spider thread, Birds in Flight with amazing pictures of birds on the wing, New Diamonds, and the Great Inca Road
Shopping and dining at the Museum of Natural History
There is one very large museum shop, and several smaller ones near key exhibits. These are worth visiting. There’s a restaurant in the basement, and several cafes elsewhere, but I would stick to snacks here, and eat at one of the restaurants on the Upper West Side.
Admission prices to the Museum of Natural History
As of July 2010, suggested admission is $16 for adults, $9 for children, $12 for seniors and students
Membership in the American Museum of Natural History
If you live in New York City and want to visit more than once, consider joining. Individual membership is $70 and family membership is $110 per year.