The American Museum of Natural History is a place where you can go every day for a week and find something new each time. Which also translates to me spending about 20 minutes trying to find an exit every. single. time. I can’t grasp the layout of the place. A Museum Highlights Public Tour is the perfect way to get introduced, or get reoriented to the museum no matter how often you’ve visited before.
Right across from Central Park, walk up the steps to the main entrance. They’ll check your bag when you go through the doors so have them ready to be inspected.
The free public Highlights Tour meets on the first floor by the entrance to the North American Mammals every hour from 10:15AM – 3:15PM.
Every tour guide gives a slightly different tour. Ours started with the dioramas of the North American Mammals.
The animals displayed were all real animals, not reproductions. The only parts that were not original to the animal are the eyes, nose, and mouth since they’re made up of soft tissue.
I looked for small doors to the sides of the dioramas and couldn’t find one. Turns out they remove the entire glass partition if they need to get inside. They do this for any light vacuuming (!), or for any work that needs to be done.
We looked at a total of four dioramas then moved to the Hall of Ocean Life.
Spotted on the way to The Blue Whale.
The Blue Whale is HUGE and quite a sight. It’s impressive each time I see it. Definitely a highlight.
Then up to the fourth floor to see the dinosaurs. I think most of what I know about dinosaurs came from watching Jurassic Park. I’m not proud of that fact.
At the main entrance is a dinosaur but that’s all made from casts of bones, due to security issues, but on the fourth floor, about 85% of the dinosaurs are made up of real fossils.
The tour lasts about an hour and we ended ours with the dinosaurs. From there, I headed to the Our Global Kitchen exhibition. (Get tickets at the admission desk since it’s an extra cost.)
The birds led the way to the exit. Would it kill them to put up some more signs?
Next, at Our Global Kitchen. I did not love this exhibition. The best part though was the interactive cooking table where you can watch international recipes being made. That was nicely done.
Here’s a close-up of the cooking table screen.
There’s a small kitchen inside the exhibit and I was really looking forward to trying out interesting food, but it was a total bust. I got a Dixie cup sized portion of green tea and a tiny piece of fig on a toothpick. Thanks, but no thanks. (Confession: I drank the tea and ate the fig.)
Bottom line? Our Global Kitchen was a disappointment and underwhelming.
Once again, as I spent 20 minutes trying to leave, I encountered these animals, who I would never win a staring contest with.
INFO: American Museum of Natural History | Central Park West at 79th Street | New York, NY 10024 | 212.769.5100
ADMISSION: $19 (General), $12.50 (Our Global Kitchen)
TOUR: Public Highlights Tour is free with admission.