American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St., is one of the world's preeminent scientific, educational and cultural institutions. It houses 45 permanent exhibition halls, state-of-the-art research laboratories and a permanent collection of more than 34 million specimens and cultural artifacts. Six fossil halls with more than 600 specimens are arranged by evolutionary relationships in the form of a giant family tree. The Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops and Stegosaurus are three of the most popular fossil skeletons.
The Hall of Biodiversity celebrates the variety of life on Earth and examines threats to the planet's health. The hall's centerpiece is a 2,500-square-foot walk-through diorama that depicts part of the Dzanga-Sangha rain forest, one of Earth’s most diverse ecosystems. Featuring more than 160 species of flora and fauna, the diorama uses video and sound to re-create the ecosystem at dawn, at an elephant clearing and degraded by human intervention along a road. The Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals features 46 mammal species in dioramas of various North American environments.
Guided tours are available. Food is available.
(includes Rose Center) $23; $18 (ages 60+ and students with ID); $13 (ages 2-12). Combination ticket for museum, Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium show $28; $22.50 (ages 60+ and students with ID); $16.50 (ages 2-12).
Station: 81 St-Museum of Natural History
Hours: Daily 10-5:45. Guided tours depart daily every hour 10:15-3:15. IMAX films are shown daily; phone ahead for schedule. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Allow 4 hours minimum.