American Museum of Natural History

New York City is home to many of the largest and most prestigious museums in the world, and the American Museum of Natural History is one that most visitors make sure to include at the top of their itineraries. We should know, since the museum was packed with tourists of all ages during our President's Day visit.

Located on the Upper West Side, across the street from Central Park, the museum's 1.6 million square-foot space houses 45+ exhibitions, a planetarium and a library. It's so vast that after spending six hours exploring, we only managed to see less than half of the exhibits.

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It's impossible to forget the giant and iconic dinosaur skeletons that greet visitors in the enormous entry hall--even if you haven't stepped inside--thanks to Night at the Museum, and they are as imposing in person as they were in the movie.

Along with an entire hall dedicated to many more dinosaur skeletons and their history, the museum also features a number of mammal halls for different regions of the world, including Africa, North America and Asia.

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We had a field day taking photos of these eerily life-like scenes of cheetahs, lions, antelope, hyenas and more in their natural habitat.

And had an even better time in the butterfly conservatory trying to coax the beautiful and delicate bugs into landing on our fingers.

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But the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium were hands-down our favorite areas of the museum. Located inside a modern glass cube, exhibits wind around the 87-foot-diameter sphere of the planetarium. There is an overwhelming amount of information on the history and scale of our universe, each fact helping to put our human lives in perspective.

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As kids, we always looked forward to field trips and weekend visits to museums. Spending a day at the American Museum of Natural History was a great way to rekindle that childhood curiosity, and we're already anxious to return and explore all of the exhibits we missed.

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American Museum of Natural History Central Park West at 79th Street New York, NY 10024-5192