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Located at 79th Central Park West, the American Museum of Natural History could hardly be more central - it’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, right in the heart of the city.
Open from Monday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm, the Museum has some of the world’s most spectacular displays on subjects as diverse as blue whales and ocean life, dinosaurs, space and astronomy, butterfly conservation and Theodore Roosevelt.
Established in 1869 and situated in park-like surroundings just across the street from that other highlight of New York – Central Park – the American Museum of Natural History with its 46 permanent exhibition halls housed in 25 interconnected buildings, its research facilities and famous library is regarded as one of the most popular museums in the world, attracting some five million visitors every year.
The ever growing collection consists of some 32 million specimens, many of which are displayed in habitat dioramas for animals originating in Asia, Africa and North America. There’s even a full-scale model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling in the Milstein Family Hall as part of the Ocean Life permanent exhibition.
The Museum also houses the infamous Star of India, the world’s largest sapphire and a 31 ton fragment of a 200 ton meteorite that came down in Cape York, Greenland, in the Arthur Ross Hall together with some of the most spectacular meteorite finds ever collected.
Not quite as old as the meteorites but still pretty ancient are the fossils and dinosaurs that the Museum has collected over the years. The Museum is in fact home to the world’s largest collection of mammalian and dino fossils, although just a tiny fraction of that collection is actually on display. Some of the best preserved fossil specimen can be seen in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs and in the permanent exhibits located on the entire fourth floor of the Museum. The Museum has stunning examples of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Brontosaurus, Mammoth as well as Styracosaurus.
For visitors who are more interested in where we’re going than were we came from, there are the Rose Centre for Earth and Space and Hayden Planetarium, devoted to research and education.
The famous library does have parts which are accessible to the public and there are reading rooms, where visitors can look at some of the Museum’s most spectacular exhibits that chart human endeavour in the name of science and progress.
The main ticketing lobby is located in the Theodore Roosevelt building in the Rotunda. Many books and films have featured the American Museum of Natural History, not least of all the famous “Friends” TV program, which had the Ross Geller character working at the museum.
How to get there: The AirTrain from Terminal 4 at John F Kennedy Airport connects with the NYC subway service and the main Bus Terminal as well as Grand Central Station and Penn Station on a half hourly service (for more information on travelling times, please visit www.NYCAirporter.com). Several suppliers of car hire rentals have their service desks at John F Kennedy Airport, too (the journey is around 16 miles).
The nearest subway exit is 81 Street and trains B and C both go to the Museum. Buses M7, M10, M11 and M79 also travel to the Museum.