Recently, I had a conversation with one of my fellow travelers, and she told me something that surprised me: She hasn’t been to this one museum in New York City that is really popular. Why is that surprising? Well, because we’ve both lived in New York for over 20 years and I’ve been to this particular museum three times already and she hasn’t been once! So, today, we put on good shoes,had lunch, and took a day trip…
Every time I visit this museum, the suggested admission price seems to go up ($22), but their policy is pay what you want, so they aren’t forcing you to pay the full price. I paid in full this time, because I feel I should support the museum, it’s going to a good cause, and I can finally afford to. Although I’ve been to the museum a couple of times, I don’t remember it being so big, four floors to explore.
We started on the fourth floor and worked our way down. The fourth floor is dedicated to paleontology; bones and fossils filled the floor, every which way you turned, you were bound to see something old. The displays were nicely organized into separate halls, one for each of the following: vertebrates, mammals and dinosaurs. The dinosaurs were further separated based on the types of dinosaurs.
The third floor didn’t have a larger theme like the fourth did (bones and fossils), nevertheless, the display halls had their own individual themes. The exhibits I thought worth seeing on the third floor include the African mammals (this includes displays in second and third floors), the North American birds and the Hall of the Pacific People. The African mammals and North American birds area were pretty dark, but that made the dioramas of the animals stand out, which I thought was a very good way to draw peoples’ attentions to the displays. The Hall of the Pacific People was organized by area in the Pacific, and the highlight was the Easter Island head replica.
Moving on to the second floor, we took a closer look at the rest of the African mammals display area and the different cultural groups of the world areas (All the times I’ve visited, it’s my first time seeing these exhibits). I really liked the Asian peoples display hall, (probably cause I’m into Asian culture), I felt it was really well organized. The exhibits of the various cultures were organized by countries and proximity to one another, thus it felt like we were traveling through the Asian continent from east to west. We were running short on time by the second floor, so we breezed through some of the display halls. The birds of the world and Asian mammals display halls were a disappointment though. The space the displays were in was big, but so little was on display; and the way the displays were organized made the area feel empty and not appealing. It felt like a they were window displays on a busy street, people just walk by to get to where they’re going and not really stopping to look unless they purposely wanted to go and see.
With 45 minutes to closing, we finally made it to the first floor. We only saw the North American mammals and the Ocean Life display areas because I remember liking them and thought my fellow traveler had to see it. They were great. The North American mammals hall continued the trend from the African mammals area with the dark lighting and bright dioramas. The Ocean life’s highlight is the Big Blue whale, you just have to see it.
Three hours was the time we spent at the museum, and we didn’t even see everything. I would’ve liked to see the gems and the planetary and space areas, too, but the Rose center was closed for renovations, and the museum closes at 5:45pm. However the museum opens at 10am, so you can probably see everything, if you spend the day. The museum wasn’t too crowded, and well worth the full suggested admission price. It’s not a place to be missed, be it that you are a tourist or a New Yorker, so put on your good shoes, pack a snack and spend the day, it’s definitely worth the time and money!