National Museum of Natural History

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1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC, USA - (202) 633-1000

National Museum of Natural History Washington Reviews

WalterC WalterC
317 reviews
Very nice museum to visit! Jul 14, 2016
Part of the Smithsonian Institution in the National Mall, the National Museum of Natural History is a museum that tells the story of life on this planet, from its beginning.

Its most notable part is the Rotunda, with its giant statue of the African elephant. The only part that would remain the same over the years, and the first part that one would see if entering the museum from the National Mall side.

From there, where do I begin? There is just so much to see in this museum, so there is no point in trying to see it all in one visit. One could spend an entire day in the museum, and only be able to scratch the surface. So you would have to pick and choose which ones that interest you the most, and add more if interested and still have energy in seeing more.

Some of the highlights for me, included seeing the Korea Gallery (displays on Korean culture), Hope Diamond, and Hall of Mammals (stuffed animals, organized by region). There is even a display of white rhinoceros that was shot by Theodore Roosevelt. And there may be some temporary exhibitions which are really interesting as well. When I was there, there were very impressive photo galleries on wildlife, which I posted about, in the blog.

Other parts include an insect zoo, collection of Egyptian burial artifacts and a huge amount of skeletons. There is usually a room of dinosaur fossils, but most of them were not there when I was there, as it is currently being renovated. And so much more.

What can I say about this place? This museum is definitely worth a visit, as it is very extensive. And if coming during the summer months, definitely take advantage of the days when it remains open until 7:30 PM. Plus a very good place to spend time when the weather is not good outside. I think a natural history buff could spend a week in this place.

Admission is free, which just makes it even better. And gives you the chance to break up your visits into separate days.
museum entrance on Constitution Av…
Easter Island stone figure
display of animals
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Africancrab Africanc…
773 reviews
The Dinosaur Hall and Paleontology Jul 04, 2012
Like all the Smithsonian Museums, admission to the National Museum of Natural History is FREE. The Museum is one of the largest museums within the Mall and houses tens of thousands of artifacts and specimens that tell the story of earth's evolution. Until you actually enter its grand hall entrance, you have no idea how grand and spectacular this museum is. When we started with the idea of going there, I told my husband I had already visited one in Atlanta, GA and that I did not think they were any different. My daughter however would not allow me to get off easily, she was only a year and a half when we went to the museum of Natural History in Atlanta and she really does not remember it.

We went in anyway because we needed to be indoors to shield Alexander and ourselves from the unmerciful feel of the heat and humidity outdoors. It was crowded beyond description; it was 5:15 pm and we had walked a little distance from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Security was strict but the lines were moving quite fast. Soon we were indoors; the giant elephant in the middle of the rotunda grabbed our attention immediately. My daughter did not seem fazed by it; she wanted to go see the dinosaurs. The African bush elephant looks like its walking on its native land without a care in the world.

We were thirsty and in need of coffee/ tea/ drink before we could continue our tour. We headed to the ground floor to the Atrium Café where the lines looked like those at a camp. People lining up for pizza looked like high school kids at lunch waiting to be served. We did not join the line however; we proceeded to the left side where the rest of everyone not ordering pizza was going. We ended up ordering full meals and drinks while we were at it. Take a look at my review of the Atrium Café.

Once we were fed and hydrated, we headed straight to the Dinosaur section which by the way is outstanding. The first thing you see is the tall panel with the timeline of evolution, and right passed it the giant fossilized bones of dinosaurs restored to the actual sizes as were in pre-historic times. At the center is a 90 foot tall Diplodocus longus found in Utah in 1923, and the 40 foot tall Tyrannosaurus rex. We followed the exhibition all through the different ages up until the Stone Age.

We then proceeded to the special exhibition on Africa and on through the ocean exhibition. We did not pay much attention to the latter two as we were headed out by this time. We plan to return to complete touring the rest of the museum. I highly recommend taking the children with, but child or not, you will be entertained and engaged at the museum. Choose from Dinosaurs, Life in the Ocean, Mummies, Butterflies, Bones, Forensic Anthropology, Mammals, Human Origins, to birds. The choices are many. With free entrance, there is no reason not to go.

There are 3 Cafes to eat at when you get hungry; The Atrium Cafe and Cafe Natural are on the ground floor, and the Fossil Cafe located in the Dinosaur Hall.

For souvenirs, postcard and more, the museum store on the ground floor and Gem store second floor will serve you.

Hours of operation: 10:00 am - 7:30 pm daily, closed on Christmas day.
National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
amudha_colaco says:
Very informative - sounds like a must-see
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013
es1418 es1418
11 reviews
Well-organized, Fun and Informative Place Jul 09, 2011
This is yet another of Washington's wonderfully free museums. You'll find a variety of interesting exhibits ranging from land animals to human development over the millennia to geology, and so much more.

The museum is very popular and gets crowded, but things still flow along pretty well. You can easily spend hours there without getting bored.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
montecarlostar says:
I don't fully recall if I was here during my first trip to DC... I have mixed memories with this museum and Toronto's museum. Either way Smithsonian museums are great!
Posted on: Jul 09, 2011
brettjayhawk brettjay…
26 reviews
Smithsonian Museum Of Natural History Oct 13, 2011
Walked straight into the museum and was met with the giant elephant in the middle of the room. I saw everything from the Hope Diamond, Dinosaurs, stuffed animals, saw the animals of our oceans including a giant squid. There is so much to see with so little time you really need to spend a day or more if you enjoy reading everything. There was free admission which was nice but I did decide to donate a little money to help out. The dinosaur hall is by far my favorite. How do people not like seeing these animals and not want to know more about them. The must see halls for me were the Hall of Geology, Hall of Human Origins, Hall of Dinosaurs, and the Ocean Hall.
Giant Squid
HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
A tie for one of the top-two museums to visit if you're limited on time Jul 11, 2010
Eventhough I live in DC, I don't get to do alot of the local touristy stuff as often as I'd like to. My cousin came to visit, so this is one of the museums we went to.

We arrived somewhere between 1030-11am (it opended at 10am but check the time for whatever day your go) and there was no line to get in. As we were leaving, the line of people to get in stretched out the door, down the steps, and made a bend to continue down the sidewalk!

Food and water are not allowed, but everyone had water; I carried frozen bottles that were still ice by the time we got to the museum. I did not see anyone who was asked to throw their water out, but don't bring food, there really aren't any garbage cans throughout the museum.

It is organized quite well and the traffic of visitors easily flows through the museum.

There are schools of kids, so pack your patience. Wear comfy shoes and have a great time.
At the entrance
Dinosaurs everywhere...
...down below and up above. Look …
The Hope Diamond
Andy99 Andy99
579 reviews
The Most Popular of Museums Apr 03, 2010
The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History celebrated its centennial in 2010. It is said to be the most visited museum in the USA and the second most visited, after the Louvre, in the world.

The exhibits number more than 126 million specimens showing rocks, minerals, fossils, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, life in the oceans, and human history and ethnography. Many of the items were collected in the 19th century by American exploring expeditions traveling worldwide. Smithsonian scientists continue to build and study the collections today.

Themed galleries span out from the central rotunda where an African elephant greets visitors. Among the most popular are Gems and Minerals (where the 45-carat Hope Diamond, once in the possession of Louis XVI, is displayed), Dinosaurs, Oceans, and the Insect Zoo. Displays have changed over time and an effort is made to display fossils and animals in natural poses. New interactive exhibits have been added. In 2010, the completely new Hall of Human Origins opened in celebration of the centennial.

Admission is free. Photography is permitted.
National Museum of Natural History
African Elephant in the rotunda
The Hope Diamond
Dinosaur Hall
WalterC says:
I always remember growing up, when going on family trips to DC, and insisting on visiting this museum.
Posted on: Apr 13, 2010
Shaon Shaon
24 reviews
Really nice museum! Jun 18, 2008
It is a really great Natural History Museum. There is almost everything you have ever heard of. There is dinosaur fossil and other animals fossil too and much much more. There is lots of stuffer animal, and some of them are put on display like they are hunting something or roaring or something like that.

There is everything from mammals that live on ground to sharks and whales and other weird fishes. There is also lots of different kind of minerals, and of couse including Hope diamond! Thats one big stone..

And of corse it´s on of Smithsonian Museums so it´s free!

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National Museum of Natural History Map
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