American Museum of Natural History Visitors Guide

Everything you need to plan your visit to AMNH

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY

TripSavvy / Brakethrough Media

Founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History is an important scientific and cultural institution. Located on the Upper West Side the museum features impressive exhibitions and collections about human cultures, the natural world and the universe. Whether you're interested in dinosaurs or ecology, Native Americans or cosmic pathways, this museum has something for everyone. There are also special exhibits for children. 

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American Museum of Natural History Introduction and Directions

USA, New York State, New York, elephants in Museum Of National History
Marvin E. Newman/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Wondering how to get to the American Museum of Natural History? Located on the Upper West Side here's a helpful page with directions, admission information, as well as information about the museum's history.

The closest subway stations are the 81st Street station on the C and B trains or the 79th Street station on the 1 train. If you are coming from the Upper East Side, and it's a pretty day consider walking across the park to reach the museum. It's directly on the park. 

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Tips for Navigating the Museum

Haida Canoe at AMNH
Heather Cross

Like many great museums, it would be impossible to see everything at the American Museum of Natural History in just one visit, but our AMNH visitor tips will help you make the most of your time. 

One of the most important pieces of advice is to get a museum map before you begin and plan out where you want to go. The museum is large, and you could spend the entire day walking in circles if you simply wander around. 

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Recommended Exhibits

Blue Whale Model in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
Heather Cross

With so many great exhibits, there is no way to see everything that the AMNH has to offer in a single visit. If you are overwhelmed with options stop by the information desk to ask about topics you might be interested in learning more about. Also don't miss the dinosaurs. They are what makes this museum famous. 

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Tours Around the Museum

Meteorites, Minerals & Gem Exhibit
Heather Cross

The American Museum of Natural History offers a variety of tours to enhance your visit. They are all free with museum admission. 

  • Highlights Tour - Offered daily at 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15. Leaves from the entrance to the Akeley Hall of African Mammals on the second floor.
  • Spotlight Tour - These tours focus on specific halls or themes. Check in the information desk for that day's schedule. 
  • Explainers - Volunteers are on hand to explain fossils (4th floor, wearing red buttons) and answer questions about astronomy and geology (Rose Center and Meteorites, Minerals & Gem halls, wearing purple buttons). Daily from 1-5 p.m. (beginning at 10 a.m. on weekends).
  • Private Group Tours: AMNH offers a variety of tours for private groups visiting the museum.
  • Down the museum's free Explorer App to download a variety of self-guided tours. 
Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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AMNH Explorer - iPhone App

Getting Directions on the AMNH Explorer App

Tired of getting lost in the American Museum of Natural History? There's an app for that! The AMNH Explorer app is a free download (and if you don't have an iPhone or iPod touch of your own, you can borrow one for free at the museum) that makes it easier to navigate the museum, as well as providing the features you get from an audio tour.

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Visiting with Kids

Dinosaurs at AMNH
Heather Cross

The AMNH is a great choice for families visiting New York City. From toddlers to teens, there is something for just about every age-group at the museum. Find out about all the programs and opportunities for families on the website

Older kids will enjoy preparing for their visit by checking out the American Museum of Natural History's website.

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American Museum of Natural History Map

Want to make the most of your time at the American Museum of Natural History? You might want to print out a copy of the AMNH's floor plan/information brochure before you arrive.
Map: See a Floor Plan of the AMNH (PDF)

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Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

Origami Holiday Tree at the AMNH
Heather Cross

Every year the American Museum of Natural History displays their holiday tree decorated with origami from late November through early January. The theme of the tree varies from year to year, but it always features beautifully folded origami animals that volunteers spend many months folding for the tree.