Dinosaurs to butterflies

Today we spent most of our time at the American Museum of Natural History.

To me, it’s the museum where Ross from Friends worked. My children gave me blank stares when I said that, though – to them, it’s the museum which comes alives in Night At The Museum.  Either way, it’s an exciting place to visit.

First, of course, you have to get there…

We are staying near the UN, and were awake reasonably early so wandered over to Rockefeller Plaza to see the Today Show being filmed. It seemed like they had finished all the outdoor segments when we got there, so there wasn’t all that much to see.  We found the metro station and hopped on a train going towards the museum. It promptly sped right past the museum and another 40-odd blocks! A kind New Yorker sitting across from us laughed and said “You need a local train! Everybody does this – it’s a New York ritual.” He helped us find a local train going back in the other direction, and so finally we found the museum.

We decided to get some morning tea before going in, and found some nice cafes in Amsterdam Ave a little north of the museum, before wandering back.

We were exceedingly fortunate to be gifted passes to the museum which allowed us into the exhibitions as well.  We had a very full day indeed!

Look at all those teeth!

Look at all those teeth!

First stop had to be the Dinosaur halls.  It was very exciting to see all the dinosaur bones, but the halls were very very noisy and Babess began to get quite upset.  Fortunately, it was soon time for us to see the Pterosaurs exhibition, which was much quieter.  This was a fascinating exhibition for all ages.  The children particularly enjoyed the interactive stations where they could “fly like a pterosaur”.

Pearl glides like a pterosaur over rivers looking for fish

Pearl glides like a pterosaur over rivers looking for fish.

Fainjin did very well, even managing to catch a fish!

Fainjin did very well, even managing to catch a fish!





We had lunch in the museum foodcourt, which we won’t say too much about.  Then we had tickets to the IMAX show, “Mysteries of the Unseen World“.  It was my first ever IMAX show, and I really enjoyed it, although I had my usual trouble with 3D films and occasionally had to look away or take off the glasses to rest my eyes.  The kids were fascinated and repulsed by turns.  We all agreed the scene where the owl approaches on the hunt was one of the best – we all leaned back in our seats to avoid its talons!  Pearl was especially disgusted to learn of all the “things” floating about in the air we breathe, though – particularly “insect parts” which were graphically illustrated and massively magnified.

In between exhibitions we enjoyed viewing some of the museum’s permanent displays, particularly the dioramas of the larger mammals.

We also went to the planetarium show, but by this stage Babess & Fainjin were tired and they didn’t like the dark theatre and the scary noises & music as the narrator talked about dark energy & dark matter.

For “something completely different” we went to the Butterfly Conservatory and watched beautiful creatures flit around (and on) us.

This one picked The Dad's orange shirt as camouflage!

This one picked The Dad’s orange shirt as camouflage!

Immediately outside the butterfly enclosure, we spotted some familiar shapes… a moa! and a kiwi! and tui! kereru! ruru! piwakawaka! It was a diorama of NZ birds including all our favourites and several we see at home (although not the moa so much, of course).  It was quite cheering to see a piece of home represented in this huge museum nearly halfway across the world.

After a compulsory stop at the museum shop (I think the children believe the sole purpose of this whole trip is for them to buy soft toys, and that my sole job is to thwart them in their desire to bring back several cubic metres each of plush), we headed out into the warm New York afternoon and made our way south through Central Park.

We paused at Strawberry Fields, which is always busy and always has buskers playing Beatles songs.  I tried to get a photo of the kids all together, but Fainjin has decided that he won’t be in any family photos and that he will scowl in any photos I do get of him (unless he forgets, which fortunately is fairly often).  It is most frustrating and disappointing, and I think he will regret it in years to come.  Any time I get a shot lined up, he runs out of it.

Fainjin & Babess run for joy in Central Park

Fainjin & Babess run for joy in Central Park

Another pause came a little later, this one accompanied by icecreams and the chance to watch a man make GIANT bubbles.  When we reached the end of the park, we went into FAO Schwarz (of course) – just looking, you understand… and it was really so overwhelming that the children just wanted everything they could see and decided on nothing, which was fine.

We had considered going to a Broadway show tonight, but we were all worn out from our big day, so we walked down 5th Avenue instead, goggling at Tiffany & Co, Trump Tower et al, and came home for dinner, baths and bed.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.


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