American Museum of Natural History – tickets, prices, best time to visit

Image: Amnh.org

The American Museum of Natural History in New York is one of the world’s top scientific and cultural institutions. 

More than 5 million visitors explore its scientific collections and exhibitions every year.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, Titanosaur, Easter Island head, Blue Whale, Mammoth, etc., are some of the highlights of this science museum that inspired the movie ‘Night At The Museum.’

This article shares everything you must know before buying tickets for the American Museum of Natural History.

How to reach the museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History is at 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5102. Get Directions

Museum’s entrance

Visitors can enter the museum through Central Park West (upstairs) at 79th Street or the accessible entrance on 81st Street/Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Members of the American Museum of Natural History can use the member entrance on Central Park West at 79th Street (ground level, via the driveway).

Public transport

You can take the B Line (weekdays only) or C Line (all days) to 81st Street subway station, which is right next to the museum.

Two blocks west of the Museum, the 1 train stops at Broadway and West 79th Street

The West 79th Street station is half a km (.3 miles) from the museum, and you can walk the distance in around seven minutes. 

The closest accessible subway station is the 72nd Street station, serviced by 1, 2, and 3 trains.

M79 bus, which travels East/West on West 79th Street across Central Park, stops at West 81st Street

A brisk six-minute walk can get you to the Natural History Museum.

M7, M10, M11, M86, and M104 are the other buses that stop near the museum. 

Car Parking

American Museum of Natural History has parking with its entrance at 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. 

The garage is open from 6 am to 11 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 11 pm on weekends.

Parking charges depend on the duration – $26 for one hour, $29 for up to two hours, and $36 for up to five hours.


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Opening hours

From Wednesday to Sunday, the American Museum of Natural History is open from 10 am to 5.30 pm. 

It remains closed on all Mondays and Tuesdays.

There is no last time of entry. 

In fact, visitors who enter the Museum during the last hour of the day – from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm – can step in for free.

The museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.


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Best time to visit AMNH

Mastadon at American Museum of Natural History. Image: Amnh.org

The best time to visit the American Museum of Natural History is as soon as they open at 10 am or at 3 pm when you still have two and a half hours left for it to close.

As with most New York attractions, the Natural History museum is most crowded during the middle of the day, from noon to 3 pm. 

If possible, avoid weekends, school breaks, and winter holidays. 


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How long does AMNH take?

If you book the most popular General Admission + One special exhibition ticket, you will need at least three and a half hours to explore the American Museum of Natural History.

If you book the General Admission ticket, which is the cheapest way to get in, you can finish your tour in two and a half hours. 

It is a massive museum, and some visitors spend the entire day exploring.

That’s why we recommend you learn about the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibits and plan out an itinerary.

However long you stay, be assured of lots of walking, so you need good walking shoes and water.


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Is the American Museum of Natural History free?

American Museum of Natural History is free for visitors who qualify for one or more of the following conditions – 

  • Caregivers accompanying visitors with disabilities
  • US military and their families*
  • Cool Culture pass holders

*From Armed Forces Day to Labor Day, all family members can enter for free. Rest of the year, along with the US military personnel, one guest gets free admission.

Even though general admission fees are waived for this set of visitors, they still require a timed-entry reservation

Pay What You Wish Admission

Residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut qualify for the Pay What You Wish entry. 

The amount they pay for General Admission is up to them, but they must provide a valid ID at the entrance. 

The accepted IDs are driver’s license, IDNYC, State ID card, Library card, Student ID, Current utility bill with address, or the Voter registration card.

Special exhibitions such as Nature of Color, Creatures of Light, planetarium show, and giant-screen film are not included and can’t be added to the Pay-What-You-Wish ticket. 

To see the special exhibitions, even the locals must book the General Admission + One ticket


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Tickets to American Museum of Natural History

Easter Island head at American Museum of Natural History. Image: Tiqets

There are two ways to explore New York’s Natural History Museum.

While the General Admission ticket gets you access to all the exhibits at the Natural History Museum, the General Admission + One ticket gets you entry to one of the special exhibitions as well. 

You can opt for one of the two tickets on the ticket booking page.

Where to buy tickets

Visitors can buy tickets for the American Museum of Natural History online or at the venue. 

Depending on the time of the day (and month), you may have to wait in the ticket counter line for half an hour or more to buy your ticket.

That’s why we recommend you purchase the tickets online and save the waiting. 

Update: Due to the Covid pandemic, ticket sales at the venue are suspended. Now, all visitors MUST purchase the tickets online before their visit. Same-day ticket purchase is also possible.

How online tickets work

When you buy American Museum of Natural History tickets online, they get emailed to you within minutes of the purchase.

On the day of your visit, you can show the tickets on your mobile and enter.

You don’t need to take printouts. 

Timed entry

Entry to the American Museum of Natural History is timed. 

After you book your tickets, you will get a link in your email to reserve your time slot. 

Visitors can choose any time between 10 am and 4 pm for their visit. 

You must reach the museum within 30 minutes of your reservation time.

Ticket discounts

The General Admission ticket, the cheapest and most popular ticket, costs $23 for all visitors aged 13 to 59. 

Kids three to 12 years get a $10 discount on their American Museum of Natural History tickets and pay only $13 for entry. 

Seniors 60 years and above and students with valid IDs of educational institutes qualify for a $5 reduction and pay $18 for entry. 

General Admission ticket

The General Admission ticket includes admission to all the permanent Museum halls of the American Museum of Natural History but does not include special exhibitions.

We recommend this only if you are short on time because you can explore everything there is to see in two and a half hours with this ticket. 

Adult ticket (13 to 59 years): $23
Child ticket (3 to 12 years): $13
Seniors ticket (60+ years): $18
Student ticket (with ID): $18

General Admission + One

The General Admission + One ticket includes admission to all permanent exhibitions, plus one Special Exhibition. 

You must choose between Creatures of Light, The Nature of Color, Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker, and Worlds Beyond Earth.

You can select the Special Exhibition you want to try once you are in the museum. 

Adult ticket (13 to 59 years): $28
Child ticket (3 to 12 years): $16.50
Seniors ticket (60+ years): $22.50
Student ticket (with ID): $22.50

Last minute AMNH tickets

If you reach the American Museum of Natural History without tickets, don’t worry.

Even though ticket counters aren’t available, you can use your smartphone to book AMNH tickets

Immediately after purchase, you receive the confirmation email with the QR code, which you can use to enter the museum. 

A word of caution – on busy days, your preferred time slots or same-day entry may not be available. 


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American Museum of Natural History with CityPass

If you are in New York on an extended holiday and want to visit the American Museum of Natural History, we recommend the New York CityPass.

With CityPASS, you can save up to 41% on New York’s top attractions and also skip the ticket lines at all places. 

With the best New York discount card, you get to see some of the city’s most popular attractions, such as the Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty, American Museum of Natural History, etc. 

CityPASS includes general admission to AMNH, one Special Exhibition, and entry to Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Adult Pass (18+ years): $136
Child Pass (6 to 17 years): $112


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Entry to Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals

The 11,000-square-foot Mignone Halls houses one of the world’s most important collections of gems and minerals.

The newly redesigned part of the museum showcases 5,000 specimens from 95 countries. 

All American Museum of Natural History tickets includes entry to the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.

However, visitors must join a virtual line once they arrive at the museum. 

Once inside the museum, look for signs near the entrances for instructions or ask a staff member. 

Since the Halls of Gems and Minerals is popular with visitors, spots in the virtual line often fill up by early afternoon. 


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Map of American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History comprises 26 interconnected buildings and has 45 permanent exhibition halls and a planetarium.

The massive museum contains more than 34 million exhibits, out of which only a small portion is on display at any time. 

Being aware of the museum’s floor plan helps avoid getting lost and missing out on significant exhibits. 

Besides helping you with the location of the exhibits and exhibitions, the American Museum of Natural History’s map also helps spot visitor services such as restrooms, cafes, souvenir shops, visitor assistance booths, etc.

Explorer app

You can also download the free Explorer app, which offers turn-by-turn directions and highlights. It is available on both iOS and Android

The app offers navigation from every corner of the museum, including the shortest and accessible routes.

The Explorer app is available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, and its language is automatically set to your device’s language.


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Restaurants at AMNH

American Museum of Natural History has three places to eat – the Food Court on the Lower Level, Cafe on One on the first floor, and Cafe on Four on the fourth floor. 

These outlets are open from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm, Wednesday to Sunday, and cater to all kinds of palates.

Café on One also serves wines by the glass and a selection of beers.

Since the entry tickets allow re-admission, some visitors prefer to step out, dine and get back in. 

Eating is not allowed in Museum galleries. 

You can get some nearby restaurant recommendations here and here.

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Pooja Das: She has a passion for both traveling and photography, which help her document her memories forever. She loves to explore city streets taking in the people, the colors, and the culture surrounding her. Occasionally she loves to step away from the hustle-bustle of urban lifestyle, and chill-out either alone or with friends. Favorite Cities: Istanbul, London, Marrakech, Venice

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