I'm glad I went but I didn't enjoy this museum as much as other ones I've been to. The entry-room was PACKED at noon on Saturday and there were lines everywhere. There was very little signage directing which line you should be in, so we randomly picked a line to wait 20 min in. I'm not a huge fan of the "suggested entry price" model of business as they almost make you feel guilty if you want to be cheap. Also, you have to pay extra to see the "special exhibits". This museum has aged poorly I think. The exhibits often have small placards with tiny text, so only people up close can read the information. Perhaps this would suffice for a less crowded museum, but for one of the most popular attractions in NYC you'd think they could increase the font size so more than 3 people can read at a time. This was also an issue with several small "theater rooms", where there is literally 2 benches in front of a screen. This museum has thousands of visitors and there are only 2 benches for people to sit and watch the exhibit screen? Really? We encountered several "choke point" intersections, where mass amounts of people were trying to cross a hallway or make it through a door and you had to push people to get where you wanted to go.
Most natural history museums have pretty similar displays, this one definitely has some more impressive displays and it's quite large, you can spend a lot of time here. The Hayden planetarium is pretty neat and of course the dinosaur exhibits are fun. Be prepared for a packed entrance hall and lots of kids. Would also highly recommend stopping by the Teddy Roosevelt area in the middle of the museum, because he's awesome.
The places is great and the entry "fee" is actually a suggested donation so for those who do not have a lot of money pay as you please. The reason I am giving it a 3 star is the staff does nothing. Yes there are some I saw working with a smile and having a great time, but you are surrounded by people of all cultures who do no get a long much, and its a shoving fighting over crowded mess. If you are coming to enjoy the exhibits get your elbow pads ready because you are in for a fight. If you want to get in quick and not wait 20 hours, come early at 10 right when it opens and come in though the parking garage. Do not eat at the food court. A family of 4 will cost well over 100 dollars for okay food.
The American Museum of Natural History is the best of its kind in the world. I have visited it ten years ago and still remember it as if it only happened yesterday. You can spend an entire day discovering interesting facts about our planet and life on it. The building's architecture is particularly elegant. A visit is mandatory if you come to New York City for the first time.
Three times in a row I would still grade a 5 star! Exceptionally well maintained museum, you need a full day to cover the whole level. We loved the Dino level and lucky to see the biggest ever fossils recovered from South America. My favourite is the T Rex dinosaurs.