1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Top 8 Permanent Exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History


With four floors full of exhibits, it can be overwhelming to try and decide which ones to include on your visit to the American Museum of Natural History -- especially if you've never been there before. I recommend new visitors check out the free Highlights Tour to get a good overview of the museum, and check out this list of my favorite exhibits at the museum.

More: American Museum of Natural History Visitors Guide

1. Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs (Fourth Floor)

Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs
Heather Cross
The American Museum of Natural History has the world's largest collection of dinosaur fossils, so you don't want to miss a chance to see them in person. The Saurischian dinosaur hall features the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus), as well as many other fossils from the Saurischian branch of dinosaurs.

2. Hall of Ortnithischian Dinosaurs (Fourth Floor)

Hall of Ortnithischian
Heather Cross
Just a short walk from the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Apatosaurus, is the museum's second major hall of dinosaur fossils, all of whom have a backward facing pubis bone. The two stars of this hall are the Stegosaurus and Triceratops.

3. Milstein Hall of Ocean Life (First Floor)

Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
Heather Cross
No visit to the American Museum of Natural History would be complete without seeing the 94-foot blue whale suspended from the ceiling in the Hall of Ocean Life. Displays in the Hall of Ocean Life also feature detailed information about the ocean's many ecosystems, as well as the creatures that occupy the oceans covering 2/3 of the Earth's surface.

4. Hall of Biodiversity (First Floor)

Discover the diversity of life on Earth in the Hall of Biodiversity. My favorite exhibit in the hall is the life-size Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest, which offers an opportunity to experience the sounds, sights and smells of the Rainforest first-hand.

5. Guggenheim Hall of Minerals (First Floor)

Guggenheim Hall of Minerals
Heather Cross
The Hall of Minerals is one of the AMNH exhibits I remember vividly from my childhood. Children really enjoy being able to touch and examine close-up the large mineral specimens throughout the hall. And just about everyone is impressed by vastness of the 90,000 mineral specimens in the museum's collection.

6. Akeley Hall of African Mammals

Hall of African Mammals
Photo by Heather Cross, licensed to About.com
The herd of African elephants in the center of the Hall of African Mammals is captivating. First opened in 1936, the Hall of African Mammals features life-like specimens in 28 dioramas which are well-known for the meticulous accuracy that was used in designing and building them.

7. Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway

The events of 13 billion years of cosmic evolution and gives visitors a sense of the vastness of the universe, as well as the proportionally small amount of time human-beings have been a part of it.

8. Eastern Woodlands and Plains Indians

Artifacts from Native American peoples in the East and in the Plains are engagingly displayed throughout this exhibit. Models of dwellings used by Eastern Woodlands people, including longhouses and wigwams are particularly interesting to examine. This area is also home to one of the museum's most important pieces -- Folsom Point -- an arrowhead found in 1926 near Folsom, New Mexico, that proves that there were humans in the Americas as early as the last ice age.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.