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Natural History Museum New York Free Admission

How To Get Here

Museum of Natural History suspends free Sunday admission

The American Museum of Natural History is located across the street from Central Park, on Central Park West between West 77th and West 81st streets.

There are several different ways to get there, but well cover a couple of the easier options below.


There is a subway stop right in front of the museum at the corner of Central Park West and W 81st Street. This is going to be one of the easiest ways to get here.

We have created two articles to help those unfamiliar with the NYC subway.

As with most attractions in New York City, the American Museum of Natural History is most popular during the middle of the day from about 12:00 pm 3:00 pm .

If you want to avoid large crowds, consider coming either early in the morning at 10 am or later in the day after 3 pm.

Its also important to note that the museum is even busier than usual during weekends.

Make sure to visit during a weekday for the quietest experience.

If you decide to purchase your tickets on-site, you could end up waiting an hour or longer just to get inside the museum.

Purchasing tickets online or through another service can get you in much faster, saving you a lot of time.

Make sure to check both our tickets and discount sections for more details.

New York Public Library Tours

This library is an NYC icon. You will instantly recognize the two lions on the side of the grand staircase up to the entry.

You can explore the librarys exhibits on your own or you can take one of their free tours.

Find out more about their tours here.

The NYPL is a stop on our guided Midtown Manhattan Tour as well as our GPS-led audio tour.

Free Museum Admission Daily For:

  • CA EBT cardholders with ID
  • CA teachers with ID
  • Active or retired military with ID
  • USC Students and Faculty with ID
  • Children 2 and under

Additional tickets must be purchased to see special exhibitions, Butterfly and Spider Pavilion, 3D Theater, and other special ticketed experiences.

Free Museum Admission tickets are available at any museum ticketing desk by showing your teacher ID, military ID, USC ID or EBT card when you arrive.

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How Long Does Amnh Take

If you book the most popular General Admission + One special exhibition ticket, you will need at least three and a half hours to explore the American Museum of Natural History.

If you book the General Admission ticket, which is the cheapest way to get in, you can finish your tour in two and a half hours.

It is a massive museum, and some visitors spend the entire day exploring.

Thats why we recommend you learn about the American Museum of Natural Historys exhibits and plan out an itinerary.

However long you stay, be assured of lots of walking, so you need good walking shoes and water.

Expansion And Later Changes

61 Free Museums in NYC by Day in 2020

19th century

The original building was soon eclipsed by the south range of the museum, designed by J. Cleaveland Cady, an exercise in rusticated brownstone neo-Romanesque, influenced by H. H. Richardson. It extends 700 feet along West 77th Street, with corner towers 150 feet tall. Its pink brownstone and granite, similar to that found at Grindstone Island in the St. Lawrence River, came from quarries at Picton Island, New York.

20th century

In the early 1920s, museum president Henry Fairfield Osborn planned a new entrance for the AMNH, which was to contain a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt. Also around that time, the New York state government formed a commission to study the feasibility of a Roosevelt memorial. After a dispute over whether to put the memorial in Albany or in New York City, the government of New York City offered a site next to the AMNH for consideration. The commission rejected a “conventional Greek mausoleum” design, instead opting to design a triumphal arch and hall in a Roman style. In 1925, the AMNH’s trustees hosted an architectural design competition, selecting John Russell Pope to design the memorial hall. Construction began in 1929, and the trustees approved final plans the next year. J. Harry McNally was the general contractor. Roosevelt’s cousin, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt, dedicated the memorial on January 19, 1936.

21st century

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How To Get The Most Out Of A Visit To Nycs Natural History Museum

Would you go to Disney World and experience everything in just one day? Imagine trying to do that at the gold standard of natural history museums, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I grew up exploring every dusty corner of this museum. While its recent makeovers have made the museum sparkle, its immense size is no less imposing. Read how you can see the highlights of one of Manhattans top cultural institutions in a one day.

Before we get to the top things to see at the American Museum of Natural History, check out what is new. In May 2022, Northwest Coast Hall reopened. This is one of the first exhibition halls at the museum. New exhibits were developed with Indigenous communities from the Pacific Northwest Coast. The Northwest Coast Hall is reimagined for the 21st century, with the 63-foot-long Great Canoe moved into the hall and over 1,000 cultural treasures. There are historic artifacts, works by contemporary Native American artists and exhibition text that helps visitors understand the context of the artwork. Be sure to check out the short video at the entrance.

Read More: NYCs Hidden Gems: Secrets the Locals Know

Access To The Natural History Museum By Skipping The Ticket Office Queues

With this early admission ticket you can visit the Natural History Museum without having to wait at the ticket office. Once inside, take your time and explore the gallery at your leisure.

Buying tickets to the New York Museum of Natural History will allow you to skip the lines at the ticket office and enjoy the permanent exhibits. Of course, security checks are unavoidable and may delay your access to the collection, which I describe below.

Once you have purchased your ticket, in order to take sanitary measures against COVID-19 during your visit, the museum also asks you to make a date reservation and a scheduled entry on the museum’s website to gain access to the museum. Once you receive the confirmation email you will find all the instructions to access the museum.

Why I like this option: with this advance ticket you are assured access to the Natural History Museum without having to wait in line at the ticket office. In addition, you can stay inside for as long as you want and explore the gallery at your leisure.

Recommended if… you are thinking of visiting the Natural History Museum and want to get an early bird ticket at the best price.

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Hall Of North American Forests

The Hall of North American Forests is a one-story hall on the museum’s first floor in between the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall and the Warburg Hall of New York State Environments. It contains ten dioramas depicting a range of forest types from across North America as well as several displays on forest conservation and tree health. The hall was constructed under the guidance of botanist Henry K. Svenson and opened in 1958. Each diorama specifically lists both the location and exact time of year depicted. Trees and plants featured in the dioramas are constructed of a combination of art supplies and actual bark and other specimens collected in the field. The entrance to the hall features a cross section from the , 1,400-year-old sequoia taken from the King’s River grove on the west flank of the Sierra Mountains in 1891.

Romance Under The Stars

Museum of Natural History opens as vaccine site in NYC

If youre looking for something fun to do with your significant other on Valentines Day, its hard to beat a visit to the Hayden Planetarium.

This event includes an open bar, hors-d’oeuvres, chocolates, and music.

After youve had your fill, head in, and enjoy an incredible view of the stars while your host describes some of the more interesting romantic tales tied to the night sky.

For more romantic ideas, make sure to check our post about Things to Do in NYC in February.

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Free Museums In New York & Free Days

American Museum of Natural History

200 Central Park West, Manhattan

One of the best free museums in NYC for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents who qualify for the pay as you wish donation to visit the museum with an ID. This makes the museum accessible for different budgets, if you can afford a donation, they are appreciated and at your discretion.

Home to over 45 permanent exhibitions halls, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and the Hayden Planetarium, this museum is a must-see for anyone located in the tri-state area interested in scientific and natural history.

If you qualify for the pay as you wish museum admission, this only grants you access to the permanent collection, an extra ticket is required if you want to enjoy any special exhibits. Pay as you Wish tickets are only available in person and not available online.

  • Open Wednesday to Sunday 10 am to 5:30 pm
  • Free or pay as you wish for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents

Museum of the City of New York

1220 5th Ave, Manhattan

Though this museum recommends an admission price of $22, this is a suggested admission fee and individuals can forego the payment entirely to visit the museum gallery and exhibit spaces.

The museum is hosting the New York At Its Core permanent exhibition, the first-ever museum presentation of New York Citys full history.

National Museum of the American Indian

1 Bowling Green, Manhattan

El Museo del Barrio

Bronx County Historical Society

The Bronx County Historical Society, founded in 1955, is a private, non-profit, educational and cultural institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. The BCHS, the historical agency for The Bronx, a county of New York State and a borough of the city of New York, is dedicated to the collection, preservation, documentation and interpretation of the history of The Bronx and lower Westchester County from its earliest historical references in the 17th century through the present.

Address: Museum of Bronx History, 3266 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467Address: BHS Research Library, 3309 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467Address: Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, 2640 Grand Concourse at East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10458Phone: 718-881-8900Website:

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Kids Week At The Intrepid Museum

The Intrepid Museum offers dynamic, interactive exhibits in the Exploreum Hall and a host of fun-filled, hands-on activities for every member of your family every day of the week. From special guests and activities galore to flight simulators and multimedia technology, Kids Week at the Intrepid is action packed and filled with excitement.

Free Museums Using Culture Pass

American Museum of Natural History

Cardholders at the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn Public Libraries can go online and download day-long Culture Passes for free entry into 67 cultural institutions. From the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Flushing Town Hall to Kaufman Music Center and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum this opportunity is available to anyone with a library card. Learn more here.

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General Admission + One

The General Admission + One ticket includes admission to all permanent exhibitions, plus one Special Exhibition.

You must choose between Creatures of Light, The Nature of Color, Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker, and Worlds Beyond Earth.

You can select the Special Exhibition you want to try once you are in the museum.

Adult ticket : $28Child ticket : $16.50Seniors ticket : $22.50Student ticket : $22.50

Map Of American Museum Of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History comprises 26 interconnected buildings and has 45 permanent exhibition halls and a planetarium.

The massive museum contains more than 34 million exhibits, out of which only a small portion is on display at any time.

Being aware of the museums floor plan helps avoid getting lost and missing out on significant exhibits.

Besides helping you with the location of the exhibits and exhibitions, the American Museum of Natural Historys map also helps spot visitor services such as restrooms, cafes, souvenir shops, visitor assistance booths, etc.

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Best Times To Go The Natural History Museum

Get to the museum at 4 p.m. You have an hour and forty-five minutes to see as much as possible. The crowds who arrived between 10 and noon are streaming out of the museum while you dont have to wait online, or jostle to see the dinos or meteorites. You also cant see the Discovery Room, but you can have a quick, focused visit. And you dont have to stop for a snack.

Weekdays, the best time to visit is 2 p.m. School groups come in the mornings, and if they stay after lunch, they have to leave by 2 for 3 p.m. dismissal. This gives you several hours to explore the relatively quiet museum.

TravelingMom Tip: Check the NYC public school calendar. Camps take over the museum when schools are out, and local families also crowd the exhibits.

Biodiversity And Environmental Halls

American Museum of Natural History Inside Walking Tour – New York, USA

It offers a view of life on Earth and its beauty. One hall is devoted to North American forests, another studies the relationship between living things and their environment, another focuses on biodiversity and its threats, and another on life in the oceans, where a 91-feet-long model of a blue whale is on display.

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Hall Of Birds Of The World

The Hall of Birds of the World is on the south side of the second floor. The global diversity of bird species is exhibited in this hall. 12 dioramas showcase various ecosystems around the world and provide a sample of the varieties of birds that live there. Example dioramas include South Georgia featuring king penguins and skuas, the East African plains featuring secretarybirds and bustards, and the Australian outback featuring honeyeaters, cockatoos, and kookaburras.

Admission To Museum Of Natural History

Do people really pay less than the suggested admission?

My 7 year old wants to go tomorrow, but I have a funny feeling my 5 year old wont be that into it. We probably wont be staying too long. My boys are VERY active and love touch museums so I am not sure how this will go. I havent been here in years so I am not sure of exactly what they have for this age group.

We are members of the bronx zoo so we will probably go over to the central park zoo after the museum. It is supposed to be nice out.

I really would rather not pay full price. If people do pay less, how much less? What would be appropriate for a family of 4? I feel silly, but I would rather not just throw money away.

People do pay less. Give them $20 and say its for four. I think your 7 year old will be interestedmaybe even the 5 year old.

I usually pay a dollar a person. just hand them 3 bucks and say this is for 3 They wont AND cant say anything to you.

I have done the same thing at the Met for years

I believe they can only suggest admission because they are publicly funded in the first place by tax dollars and huge endowments.

Let me add more about paying at museums in NYC. They get little money from government agencies and although they do get some large charitable donations, they can not operate without the funds they get from admissions. So give them what you can afford.

Thanks! I just didnt know if this was common practice or not.

I say giving a dollar per person is cheap, no offense.

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What Is There To See & How Long Does It Take

From March 2, 2022, thru September 5, 2022, you have the rare opportunity to follow three bird families throughout their epic migrations in the giant-screen film entitled Wings Over Water. The museum also offers a special exhibition called Sharks, which features dozens of shark models that are not only life-size but also range from 5.5 inches long to 33 feet long! The museum is also offering touch-free interactive exhibits until September 4, 2023. And, you wont want to miss the space show Worlds Beyond Earth where you can explore all of the dynamics of our solar system and the unique conditions that are making life on Earth as we know it possible today. Although some people say that you can see the museum in two to three hours, you really should allow a full day, if you can, to see everything without rushing it.

Rose Center For Earth And Space

American Museum of Natural History (New York City): Top Tips Before You ...

The Hayden Planetarium, connected to the museum, is now part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space on the north side of the museum. The original Hayden Planetarium was founded in 1933 with a donation by philanthropist Charles Hayden, and it opened in 1935. The AMNH announced the modern Rose Center for Earth and Space in early 1995, and demolition began the same year.

The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space was completed in 2000 at a cost of $210 million. Designed by James Stewart Polshek, the new building consists of a six-story high glass cube enclosing an 87-foot illuminated sphere that appears to float, although it is actually supported by truss work. Polshek has referred to his work as a “cosmic cathedral”. The sphere is known as the Space Theater.

Founded in 1869, the AMNH Exhibitions Lab has since produced thousands of installations. The department is notable for its integration of new scientific research into immersive art and multimedia presentations. In addition to the famous dioramas at its home museum and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the lab has also produced international exhibitions and software such as the Digital Universe Atlas.

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