On Thursday, 5 May 2011, we visited the American Museum of Natural History. It is located just outside Central Park, on Central Park West. Founded in 1869, it is one of the largest museums in the world, with 25 interconnected buildings and 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories and its renowned library. The collections contain over 32 million specimens, of which only a fraction can be displayed at a time.

Some of the more well-known exhibits include Ahnighito which is the largest meteorite on display at any museum in the world. Weighing 34 tons, it requires support by columns that extend through the floor and into the bedrock below the Museum. There is the Patricia Emerald, a 632 carat (126 g), 12-sided emerald discovered during the 1920s, one of the few large gem-quality emeralds that remains uncut. You can see the 563 carat (113 g) Star of India, the largest, and most famous, star sapphire in the world. The museum is also famous for its habitat dioramas of African, Asian and North American mammals.

The Museum is made even more famous by popular culture - it is the setting for the Night at the Museum movies, and scenes from Splash (Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah), The Nanny Diaries and The Day After Tomorrow were shot here. It is where Ross Geller (of Friends) used to work. It is mentioned in literature such as The Catcher in the Rye and it is even featured in video games such as Grand Theft Auto IV.

We did not intend to cover all the exhibits - our main purpose was to see the dinosaurs! The Museum houses the largest collection of fossil mammals and dinosaurs in the world and we thought that Ryan would get a huge kick out of it after having watched Walking With Dinosaurs -The Arena Spectacular in Singapore.


This is a T-Rex!

Woolly Mammoths!

Ryan had a fabulous time marvelling at the dinosaurs! He was running up and down the place, going "Wow!" at everything. It was a great experience for him.

Here we are having lunch at one of the cafes before continuing our exploration of the Museum.

Here we are in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, admiring the dioramas.

We wandered through some of the other halls, lots of interesting stuff to see.

A section of a very very very very very big tree trunk.
This the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, where there are more dioramas plus this 29-m model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling.

This photo was taken outside after we finished our visit. The spherical structure inside the glass cube is the Space Theater. Actually, this was where we began our day at the museum - the Hayden Planetarium in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. It is connected to the Museum. We didn't spend a lot of time there, we just watched the planetarium show in the Space Theater, which explained the scientific theory of the universe and how stars and planets are formed. The voiceover was done by Whoopi Goldberg. The closest thing I can use to describe the show is iMax, but a hundred times better.

Side shot of the glass cube from Richard's iPhone. I like this.

The museum is situated in a 17-acre (69,000 m2) park known as "Theodore Roosevelt Park". We rested there a while before continuing on our walking tour. We had a fantastic time at the Museum - don't miss it if you're in Manhattan!


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