With its numerous and renowned exhibits, it’s no surprise that the American Natural History Museum in New York City has remained popular — with both tourists and residents — since it first opened to the public in the 1870s. However, with so many exhibits and additions over the years, visitors to the museum can sometimes miss seeing the less well-known permanent exhibits or new temporary exhibits. Here is a list of 8hidden gems at the Natural History Museum:
Off the beaten path is The Halls of Gems and Minerals and well worth a trip. Containing one of the most important collections of gemstones and minerals, it also features some truly magnificent jewelry. With two amethyst geodes standing 12 feet and 9 feet tall, not to mention the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire and the 632-carat Patricia Emerald, it might become your favorite part of the museum.
Yes, a real one. While many visitors of the museum frequently explore the museum’s Hall of Biodiversity, they often miss the Dzanga-Sangha Rainforest. A 2,500 square-foot walk-through exhibit, it is home to a wide range of mammal species, birds, insects, and plant-life and uses video and sound to recreate the ecosystem.
It looks like an ordinary rock, but the Willemete Meteorite is so much more. Weighing 15.5 tons, it is the largest meteorite ever found in the U.S. Thousands of years ago, while traveling some 64,000 kilometers per hour, it crashed into the earth’s surface. The smooth iron appearance is the result of melting during its blazing entry into our atmosphere.
The Cosmic Pathway
Embedded into the circular ramp that leads away from the Hayden Big Bang Theater, and ending at the base of the Hayden Sphere, most people simply walk past without looking at the exhibit. But they’re missing one of the more impressive features in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. It covers the entire 13 billion history of the universe and categorizes the significant developmental stages of the universes in chronological order.
Hall of New York City Birds
Contrary to popular belief, New York City is indeed home to more birds than just the pigeon. In fact, over 400 species of birds make the greater New York City area their home. This exhibit includes over 300 specimens in its fascinating display.
The Spitzer Hall of Human Origins
Combining fossils with DNA research, this exhibit provides an incredibly detailed look into human evolution. It covers human history across millions of years, going as far back as early human ancestors from six-million years ago.
Hall of New York State Environment
Most people probably don’t go to New York City expecting to see the beautiful geography of the state, but by visiting this often-overlooked exhibit, you can get the best of both worlds.
Hall of New York State Mammals
Another hidden gem, this exhibit displays the wide variety of mammals that call New York state their home. Especially interesting is the opportunity to see many mammals that New Yorkers rarely or, quite possibly, never see. Mammals that once resided in New York state but have since become extinct are also part of the exhibit. These include, bison, cougar, timber wolf, and wolverines.
With so many unique offerings, not to mention the special exhibits featured by the museum, you’ll soon learn that the American Museum of Natural History is much more than just dinosaurs.