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Museum of Natural History
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New York Museum of Natural History

New York Museum of Natural HistoryLess than a mile from the Riverside Tower Hotel and one of the many NYC attractions, is the New York American Museum of Natural History. With 42 exhibition halls and more than 32 million artifacts and specimens, the Museum of Natural History is the world's largest and most important museum of natural science history. Continuing attractions include the natural science theme, which offers the introduction to plants, animals, and rocks in New York City.

One such attraction—dinosaur mania begins in the massive, barrel-vaulted Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, where a 50-foot-tall skeleton of a Barosaurus rears on its hind legs, protecting its fossilized baby from an enormous marauding Allosaurus.

Three spectacular dinosaur halls on the fourth floor demonstrate the awe that inspires all of us towards natural sciences—the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs, and the Hall of Vertebrate Origins all use real fossils and interactive computer stations to present interpretations of how dinosaurs and pterodactyls might have behaved. In the Hall of Fossil Mammals, interactive video monitors featuring museum curators explain what caused the woolly mammoth to vanish from the Earth and why mammals don't have to lay eggs to have babies.

The Hall of Biodiversity focuses on Earth's wealth of plants and animals. This NYC attraction is the walk-through "Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest," a life-size diorama complete with the sounds of the African tropics—from bird calls to chain saws. The Hall of Human Biology and Evolution's wondrously detailed dioramas trace human origins back to Lucy and feature a computerized archaeological dig and an electronic newspaper. The Museum of Natural History 's popular 94-foot blue whale model recently resurfaced when the revamped Hall of Ocean Life reopened as a "fully immersive marine environment," complete with shimmering blue lighting and whale song.

The spectacular Hayden Planetarium at the New York Museum of Natural History is in a 90-foot aluminum-clad sphere that appears to float inside an enormous glass cube, which in turn is home to the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Models of planets, stars, and galaxies dangle overhead, and an elevator whisks you to the top of the sphere and the planetarium's Sky Theater, which, using "all-dome video," transports you from galaxy to galaxy as if you were traveling through space. The sky show, "The Search for Life: Are We Alone?," narrated by Harrison Ford, is the most technologically-advanced planetarium show in the world, incorporating up-to-the-minute scientific knowledge about the universe in computerized projections generated from a database of more than 2 billion stars.

Films on the American Museum of Natural History 's 40-foot-high, 66-foot-wide IMAX Theater screen are usually about nature (climbing Mt. Everest , a safari in the Serengeti, or an underwater journey to the wreck of the Titanic) and cost $17, including museum admission. The cost for a visit to the Museum of Natural History is a $12 suggested donation; the museum and planetarium show combination ticket is $21. Prices may vary for special exhibitions. The Museum of Natural History is open Saturday - Thursday from 10 am - 5:45 pm and Friday from 10 am - 8:45 pm.

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