National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History information

Location
Washington, DC , USA
Address
cnr 10th St & Constitution Ave NW
Getting there
Bus: Circulator
Metro: Smithsonian
More information
www.mnh.si.edu
Opening hours
10am-5:30pm, to 7:30pm Jun-Aug
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Smithsonian museums don't get more popular than this one, so crowds are pretty much guaranteed. Wave to Henry, the elephant who guards the rotunda, then zip to the 2nd floor’s Hope Diamond. The 45.52-carat bauble has cursed its owners, including Marie Antoinette, or so the story goes. The beloved dinosaur hall is under renovation until 2019, but the giant squid (1st floor, Ocean Hall) and tarantula feedings (2nd floor, Insect Zoo) fill in the thrills at this kid-packed venue.

Adults will find lots to love here too: Easter Island heads (lobby at the Constitution Ave entrance), enormous stuffed creatures in the Mammal Hall (1st floor) and creepy skeletons in the Bone Hall (2nd floor). In a somewhat political statement, which is uncommon for the Smithsonian, the museum has heavily promoted its Darwin and evolution exhibits as a counter to creationism proponents.

The Johnson IMAX Theater (per ticket $9) shows nature extravaganzas in 3D daily. Movies sell out so buy tickets as soon as you arrive, or online in advance. The Butterfly Pavilion has a separate admission fee ($6); it's free on Tuesdays.