A colossal collection of dinosaur skeletons is a huge attraction at this museum, where more than 30 million fossils and artifacts are spread throughout 42 exhibition halls. A 50-foot-tall Barosaurus greets visitors in the entry rotunda, while other spectacular dinosaurs take up the entire fourth floor of the museum. Popular stops for children include the House of Reptiles and Amphibians, the Hall of Ocean Life, and the incredibly detailed habitat dioramas scattered throughout the halls.
Children ages 5 through 12 should visit the hands-on Discovery Room, where they can reassemble a cast skeleton of a Prestosuchus, a 14-foot-long reptile from the late Triassic Period. Fledgling paleontologists will enjoy examining real fossils or unearthing an Oviraptor nest in a re-creation of a dig site. Whether it's hunting for hidden creatures in a two-story replica of an African baobab tree or tracking earthquakes all over the world on a seismograph, young visitors are sure to find something fascinating here.
After all those earthbound adventures, it's time to head into the galaxies. What better place to explore outer space than in the museum's Rose Center for Earth and Space? Step into the Hayden Planetarium for an exploration of the 13-billion-year history of the universe. The planetarium houses both the Space Theater and the Big Bang Theater.
American Museum of Natural History Information
Address: Central Park W. at 79th St., New York, NY
Telephone: 212/769-5100 general information; 212/769-5200 reservations
Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m., daily
Admission: $14 adults; $8 kids
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.