Best Natural History Museums in the US

It doesn’t really matter whether you visit a natural history museum in New York, London, or somewhere in Prague; every place has its own unique aura. Whether you admire long-buried ancient cities, monumental architectural masterpieces, or skeletons of giant prehistoric creatures, the best natural history museums hook every visitor from those actually going to kindergarten to those who are simply young at heart.

The best thing about these repositories of the natural world’s wonders is that they have nothing in common with the places with horrible taxidermy and dusty fossils. Today, natural history museums have loads of star attractions that go beyond conventional exhibits. There’s work that helps us know more about crucial issues like the preservation of species, global warming, and changing ecosystems all over the globe.

Below, you’re welcome to browse a list of some of the best natural history museums to add to your how-to-spend-a-weekend cultural list.

The University of Alaska Museum of the North

  • Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

If you’d love to discover some big things about Alaska, the doors of the University of Alaska Museum of the North are wide open for you. As part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the museum is both a research and teaching center. Over two million artifacts and specimens make the museum’s research collection a thriving visitor attraction. The research and collection center includes areas like Archaeology, Ethnology & History, a Film Center, Fine Arts, Fishes, Genomic Resources, a Herbarium, Mammalogy, Ornithology, etc. Those who want to learn more about the diverse wildlife, wonderful architecture, natural wonders, and culture of the North are welcome to visit the museum 7 days a week.

Polar Bear

Photo by Sean Foster on Unsplash

The Science Museum of Minnesota

  • Location: St Paul, Minnesota

Being one of the most popular science museums in the state of Minnesota, the Science Museum of Minnesota is located in downtown Saint Paul. Every year, students from every county of the state visit the museum to enjoy spectacular movies on a giant screen, special exhibits, and various events that make educational programs much more exciting. Students of all academic levels will 100% find something fascinating – from exhibits like the “Dinosaurs & Fossils” gallery that demonstrates ancient creatures’ remains to “RACE: Are We So Different”, where you can learn the science behind the human race. There’s no doubt that even the most boring disciplines will become more engaging and, who knows, maybe even spark a lifelong love of science.

The Field Museum of Natural History

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois

With its incredible “Chicago” exhibits, the Field Museum is an integral part of the world’s scientific community. At the moment, the Field Museum collection includes 40 million specimens.

Since 1921, the museum has always been both an interactive and innovative cradle of science. All the visitors who would like to know more about the well-known museum are welcome to check out the YouTube channel of the American science communicator and educator Emily Graslie.

The best thing about the place is that students, kids, and adults have an opportunity to take part in various science projects that are family-friendly. Thus, visitors of all ages can have fun and learn about nature, its oddities, and its wonders.

The American Museum of Natural History

  • Location: New York, NY

Even though New York has tons of cultural icons, the list wouldn’t be complete without the American Museum of Natural History. Located close to the world-famous Central Park, the doors of the museum open up to an intruding allosaurus and a giant barosaurus mother welcoming every visitor on the hunt for scientific adventures.

Labeled as the largest natural history museum on the planet, The American Museum of Natural History comprises more than 30 million fossils. With such a great collection, the museum looks like a huge, never-ending labyrinth with five levels. Admire monolithic human figures from Easter Island, the remains of early humans, and the cast of a titanosaur, the largest land animal to ever live.

Those who worry about being peed on by an annoying monkey have the chance to try the role of Ben Stiller during the so-called “Night at the Museum” self-guided tour. Not only will you see the well-known characters from the fantasy-comedy film, but you will enhance your knowledge as well. While your peers approach a history essay writer for professional help with history assignments, you’ll have a special, interactive gateway to the wonders of the world.


Photo by Diane Picchiottino on Unsplash

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

  • Location: Los Angeles, California

Being the largest natural history museum in the western United States, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has one of the most grandiose collections of gold in the US. Their fascinating tours provide you with a chance to see spectacular gems like the largest known ammonite on the globe, a pregnant plesiosaur with her unborn baby, and some Ice Age fossils. The visitors are also delighted with the impressive 3D shows that educate them on the beasts that inhabited Earth more than 50,000 years ago.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

  • Location: Washington D.C., USA

Over 146 million distinct objects are there to captivate visitors at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Being one of the most popular natural history museums in the world, it is known for its most famous art piece – the so-called “Hope Diamond”. Together with the 11-ton African elephant Henry, the skeletons at the Bone Hall, the extravagant representatives of the Butterfly Pavilion, ancient tombs, and mummies, the museum enables one to get up close to the biggest wonders of the planet.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

For more than 50 years, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History has been an environmental research center dedicated to education, research, and conservation. Established in 1895, the museum has long had a special status as one of the premier natural history research museums in the world. Over 22 million specimens are on display in 20 galleries that are part of the museum world. Check out the Hall of North American Wildlife and the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems, which will make any educational program more thrilling for children and adults.

The best natural history museums covered above enable visitors to get some valuable experiences that help them gain a better understanding of nature and science. Throughout history, these museums have been the all-inclusive preservers of the wonders of the world around us. Together, they teach how important natural heritage is per se and let undergrads see science, nature, and history in ways that college rarely can.

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Published by
Rebecca Jenkins
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Rebecca has been a freelance writer since 2010. She travels often and is constantly learning something new. Also, Rebecca is a true enthusiast of social sciences, especially of psychology. She gladly shares her experience of enjoying life and finding inspiration across the US and abroad.
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