TravelMuse.com recently posted an article featuring the Top 5 Natural History Museums in the United States. It is no surprise that the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History made their list. Below is their list of the top 5 Natural History Museums in the United States.
5. Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History’s main attraction is the Hall of Evolution which traces 600 million years of life on Earth through fossils, models and dioramas. In the Michigan Wildlife Gallery, there’s a large collection of native Great Lakes birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, with taxidermy mounts and habitat scenes. Great ways for families to explore the museum are the downloadable themed scavenger hunts on the website.
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, with 20 exhibit halls, was founded in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie. The Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit (formerly the Dinosaur Hall) is the big crowd-pleaser, with two Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons posed in mid-fight. The Hall of Ancient Egypt boasts 2,500 artifacts, including the showpiece—a 30-foot royal funerary boat that is more than 3,800 years old. Make sure you check out a “family museum bag” from the Discovery Room for an interactive family museum tour. Themes include “Visit My Home,” which directs you through a Polar World snow house and ends in a Southwest pueblo. Puzzles, books and touchable materials help kids better understand the exhibits.
3. New York City, New York
The American Museum of Natural History has 45 halls to explore, but the museum’s fossil halls are by far the most popular attraction. Housing the world’s largest collection of vertebrate fossils, the museum showcases nearly one million specimens. Other must-sees include the Hall of Human Origins, which traces human evolution and the Hall of Meteorites, which boasts a 34-ton iron meteorite fragment called “Ahnighito.” The Discovery Room is a great way to get an overview of the museum for families. There are behind-the-scenes displays and every major field of museum science and research, from anthropology to zoology, is explained.
2. Chicago, Illinois
Sue, the world’s largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, is the big draw at the Field Museum, but of course, there is much more to see here. Check out the 19,000-square-foot “Ancient Americas” exhibit, which explores 13,000 years of human history. Make sure to take your kids to the PlayLab where they can dress up as animals, examine insects in amber, pull out drawers and discover hidden objects, among other interactive activities. On weekends, check out special interpretive station activities located throughout the museum—see what your name looks like in Egyptian hieroglyphs, dissect an owl pellet or put together a map of Africa.
1. Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is astonishingly the size of 18 football fields, with 325,000 square feet of exhibitions and public space. That means a game plan is in order. The museum’s website is a great planning tool with family guides you can download before you visit, to help get kids excited. Once there, head straight to one of the kids’ museum exhibits like the Discovery Room, for interactive displays. One of my favorite exhibits is the newly renovated Sant Ocean Hall. The showpiece here is Phoenix, a 45-foot-long model of a real North Atlantic right whale that has been tracked since birth.