Monday, August 19, 2013

American Museum of Natural History

...the one in which we are almost eaten by a T-rex...or was it swallowed by a whale???

So...after our adventure at Yankees Stadium, we headed south on the subway to the Central Park area. Our destination was the famous American Museum of Natural History - forever immortalized in the 'classic' film, "Night at the Museum", starring Ben Stiller.

The museum is gigantic...with several floors, wings, and galleys to explore. While we'd been on the subway, we'd studied a map of the museum, and each of us named 1-2 items that were a "must-see". Even doing this, our list was daunting. So...we decided to play one of our "games" - a scavenger hunt from a company called Stray Boots. We'd downloaded, via an app on my phone, a scavenger hunt designed specifically for the American Museum of Natural History...and by solving clues and puzzles, it would let us explore the gigantic museum in a different, but fun, way.

A screenprint of how the app appears on your cellphone....

The game costs $12 per person, and the description, from their website, says:

"Traverse the globe and go back through millions of years of history as you discover some of the most fascinating creatures ever to have walked the earth. Whether you love lions, tigers, or bears...OH MY...there's something for everyone at the American Museum of Natural History, and now that you're seeing it through a cell-phone based scavenger hunt, you can finally interact with all of those dead animals you've longed to befriend. So show T-Rex who's boss by grabbing your cell phone and a friend and attacking this Game Zone like a blue whale goes after plankton...(hungrily)."

We entered the museum, and paid the "suggested" entrance fee of $22 per person. Remember, technically the museum is free - but they don't really encourage that or remind you of that.

Once inside, we immediately began playing our game. It's very simple, begins with a clue, or a have to traverse through the museum to find the answer. Once you find the answer, you type it in - and if you're correct, it will first give you a bit more information about the exhibit that you're now in front of, but secondly - give you your next clue. I had initially only thought that Daughter would be into playing this game, but it soon brought out the competitive spirit in ALL of us, and it didn't take long before the three of us were eagerly anticipating the next clue, so we could solve each puzzle before moving on to the next:

Daughter, reading the next clue....

The game had approximately 20 some clues, and it ultimately had us going (in an orderly fashion, thank goodness!) into pretty much every wing and exhibit that the museum offered. Some of the highlights included:

#1 on MY list had been the was just as awesome as I had anticipated! There's an entire Hall of Dinosaurs on the 4th Floor that has the world's largest collection of dinosaur fossils....WAY cool.

Our game asked us to do our "best" T-Rex impression, and snap a photo of it...I think they nailed it!

#1 on Hubby's list...the largest meteorite discovered in North America (6th largest in the world)....

The 94-foot suspended Blue Whale in the Hall of Ocean Life...EEP! This thing was HUGE!!!

Part of a giant sequoia tree...I think this was 90' around at its base....

"Lucy" - who lived about 3 million years ago...this was #1 on Daughter's list....

Star of 563 carats, the Star of India is the world's largest gem-quality blue star sapphire. Some 2 billion years old, it is also one of the most well-known objects in the world. EEP!

We spent hours at the museum...and I don't think there was anything we DIDN'T see. I was impressed with how well the museum was organized, as well as exhibited. We could have spent DAYS in there and not seen enough, as it was just massive. There's animals. There's rocks. There's bones. There's gemstones. Truly, something for everyone.

Most visitors enter the museum through the Central Park front entrance...but there's a "hidden" treasure at the 77th Street entrance...the original exterior of the building, which is absolutely beautiful:

Squee! Isn't it AMAZING??!!!

All in all, the museum is a DO NOT MISS while visiting New York City - for adults and children alike. It must be in your Top 10 Attractions to visit!

My best tips are:

1. Do your research ahead of time. Know what attractions you MUST visit.

2. Check out this free app that will help you navigate the museum: Explore App
3. Allow for several be well-rested, and well-fed, before visiting.

There's a subway station VERY close to the museum, so within minutes, we were back at our hotel, resting up a bit before dinner....We had something special planned this evening...a little "off," if you will.....

Stay tuned!


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