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The Amazing American Museum of Natural History

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Ringing Rocks, geocaching, biking, and yard work weren’t enough-we capped off the weekend by taking Monday to go into the city and visit the American Museum of Natural History.  I love this museum; my parents took us in to it every now and then when we were kids.  We took our kids a couple years ago and were delighted with the renovations and fascinating things they’ve done (the dinosaur floor is arranged evolutionarily.)  In fact, it was Clark who asked to return (when discussing day trips I’d been rooting for the Liberty Science Center.) So, here was our mega day in the city.
We arrived at the museum, which is delightful right from the get-go. The facade, the words, the big statue of Teddy Roosevelt.  If Ben Franklin is my favorite founding father, Teddy is my favorite president. I find many of his words inspiring and love what a big part of the museum he is.
With Teddy Roosevelt, whom I greatly admire
We enjoyed the special pterosaur exhibit, but what really got me excited as the Hall of Biodiversity. I could have easily spent at least an hour in that hall alone.
the amazing Hall of Biodiversity
I also loved the Hall of Ocean Life, which features the iconic blue whale hanging overhead. The kids were quite blown away by this.
The Blue Whale-so iconic, so amazing
The animal dioramas were wonderful, and I think one of the things I love about them is how old-fashioned they are.
I never tire of these beautiful detailed dioramas
At the end of the day we played Name 5 and the category was “things you especially liked at the museum.” Clark listed dinosaurs twice and the display of gold from Central American/Mexico (?) and Tabby surprised me by saying how much she liked the people dioramas.  We really moved pretty quickly through the peoples exhibits (basically just trying to find the Easter island head that features in Night at the Museum”) but she was apparently really taken with them. These exhibits get a lot less attention, I think, than the animal exhibits, and they really are fascinating.  I suppose it’s not until you’re an adult that you really want to go slowly in a museum and read all the placards.  As of now the kids like to just look and quickly move on. Consequently we saw: dinosaur skeletons, totem poles, gems, minerals, a giant ancient canoe, an Chinese New Year dragon head, a sacrificial Mayan table thing with a big penis (much giggling), ancient ammonites, a humongous jellyfish, a humongous giant squid, a humongous spider crab, stuffed horned deer like animals of many varieties, neanderthals, touched a meteorite, learned about pterosaurs, and more.  Coincidentally, there was an article in the newest Mental Floss about things the museum owns that are not even on display.  It was wonderful and fascinating and I was so happy that the kids loved it.  We took a break after just about an hour and a half to leave the museum and have lunch.  We got fresh air and a fantastic lunch in a charming Mexican cafe.
We had a great lunch out at Cafe Frida
Afterwards we went to Crumbs and each had a cupcake.
followed by cupcakesThen, fortified, we returned to the museum.  After more exploring, oohing, and ahhing, we hit the gift shop (of course.) Then exited and went across the street to Central Park.  All the daffodils were blooming, people were out and about enjoying themselves, and it was very lovely.  Although we were all very tired, we walked through the bramble and eventually made our way to Belvedere Castle, where we had a spectacular view.
The view across the pond to the Great Lawn, with skyline
I had never been there before and it was charming.  From there it was a trudge back to the car.  By this time Tabby was whining and nearly crying about how tired she was “I can’t go any further…I’m soooo tired… can’t we stop…I’m so ti-is that a playground? Can I go play?” and suddenly Miss Tired was off and running into the marvelously named Diana Ross Playground, making friends, and having a grand time.  We eventually left in the early evening and because it was actually convenient, we made the cherry on top of this sundae of a day, be stopping at Ikea for meatballs for dinner. (Astonishingly, and for the first time ever, we left without buying a single item.) We got home quite late and were all super exhausted.
It was a great day all around. Not just beautiful weather and a majestic museum, but also a day where, you’ll be happy to know, we all enjoyed being together, no one was grumpy, cross, or nasty.  It was totally great. We have another outing planned for my birthday this weekend, but honestly, it felt like the whole day was a big birthday present. I know we’ll all have happy memories of it.
The impressive dinosaur skeletons
So now we’ve had a relaxing recovery day-a breakfast out with Clark while Tabby went to her nature program and a rainy afternoon watching Jumanji (terrific family movie). The chickens are mostly doing ok with the new coop, except 4 little ones who are getting out. On a side note, I often feel like I write this in a vacuum and it was really nice to hear from many of you with encouraging words when I was showing my frustration with events of late. Thank you!


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

2 responses »

  1. So glad to hear that you all had a fantastic day out. You managed to fit a lot into one day. Great photos.

  2. What an awesome day! I have to admit I’m a bit jealous of the fact that you can do a daytrip drive to the city to see a world class museum! 🙂 So awesome!


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