It’s high time we wrote a post about one of our very favorite spots in the city, an old go-to we’ve frequented since childhood, first as kiddos on school trips and then eventually as teenagers in love looking for something to do in the city for the day with our boyfriends. I’m talking about the incomparable American Museum of Natural History. These last few years the museum has undergone quite a transformation in our eyes. It’s big ‘ol halls have been reinvented, if you will. Gone is young adulthood with its endless hours of freedom with which to explore. Instead, a new era has been ushered in- one replete with shorter attention spans and a much more touchy-feely entourage!
Where once we were perfectly content with reading all about the finer points of mummies and the history of human origins, these sorts of exhibits just don’t have the same effect on 4-7 year olds, ya feel me? So where do we hang these days? At the Discovery Room! This little known corner of the museum is our jam and it’s where you’ll usually find us each and every time we visit. Located on the first floor just past the grand gallery, the Discovery Room offers kids a huge array of hands-on, interactive exhibits and activities and it keeps our kiddos exploring for hours!
The focal point of this magical space is the giant replica baobab tree you see when you first walk in. It’s filled with nooks containing specimens kids can search for. My littles particularly love to assemble the life-sized dinosaur skeleton and get their goggles on to dig for dinosaur bones at the mock paleontology dig site! There is even a second floor at the Discovery Room filled with activities for older kiddos! Just be sure to reserve your designated 40-minute slot at the entrance when you first arrive as spots fill up fast!
Other kiddo favorites we love at the museum are the Hall of African Mammals with its incredibly detailed and impressive dioramas, the Hall of Ocean Life with its enormous model blue whale hanging from the ceiling and interactive stations, and- of course- the dinosaur fossil halls! The Hayden Planetarium is increasingly popular with the brood of late and we try to take in a show every time we visit as well.
Over the years we’ve definitely developed a flow when it comes to the AMNH and there’s no denying it’s one of our all-time favorite destinations. We’ve grabbed a bite to eat at the museum’s cafe a few times but usually we take our show on the road. Tarallucci e Vino and Calle Ocho nearby are favorites. The best part? You’re only steps away from the one and only Central Park with its many playgrounds, carousel, puppet theatre, and climb-worthy boulders! Have fun exploring this spring, friends, and let us know your thoughts! Make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram for some more visiting NYC with kids tips!