National Museum of Natural History Tips

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On our recent trip to Washington DC, we took some time to visit the National Museum of Natural History. Just like each of the Smithsonian Museums, there is more to see and experience than you can do in one visit to Washington DC. But here are the highlights that we enjoyed and a few tips to help you on your next visit.

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National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History Tips

If you have seen the Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, then you know how cool it is to step in to the actual Smithsonian Museums and see the exhibits. There are some really fun things to see in the National Museum of Natural History but the place is quite large. There are some definite highlights that you don’t want to miss!

The Elephant in the Rotunda

Whether you enter from the front door or come in through the back entrance, you will want to take time to enjoy the rotunda and the classic elephant. Take your time and get your picture of this iconic exhibit!

National Museum of Natural History
Classic Elephant in the Rotunda

Highlights of the Musuem

If you are on a limited time schedule, then check out this list of museum highlights.

Here are a few of the memorable exhibits that caught our attention!

National Museum of Natural History
Polar Bear
National Museum of Natural History

Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals

If you have a family member who loves ‘rocks’, then the Hall of Gems is a paradise! My son is an avid rock collector. Of course, you will definitely want to see the Hope Diamond, but don’t miss the chance to see all the other gems, minerals and pieces of jewelry.

The Hope Diamond

Over 100 million visitors have experienced the beauty of the Hope Diamond since Harry Winston donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958.

Hope Diamond - National Museum of Natural History
Hope Diamond

National Museum of Natural History

There’s just not enough time to see them all!

Hall of Gems – So much to see!

Find the Highlights

Download the free Smithsonian app and follow the prompts to easily find the highlights of the Museum.

Find the Highlights at the Smithsonian Museums

Helpful Tips

  • The Smithsonian Museums are FREE!
  • You will pass through security to enter the Museum.
  • You can enter the Museum from two different entrances. If you are on the National Mall side, then you will probably have longer lines to get through security. Insider tip: Go around to the other side of the building if you want to avoid some of the lines. Why? The tour buses line up and drop off their passengers on the side of the National Mall so you will have less people to contend with on the other side of the building.
  • You can do a very quick walk through of the Museum in about an hour but to fully appreciate the exhibits, you need to allow several hours.

Connect with National Museum of Natural History

10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20560
(202) 633-1000

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Heading to Washington DC? Check out these other articles to help you plan your visit.

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  1. I definitely second all of this. My husband and I did the American History Museum in the morning and tried to walk through Natural History after lunch, but we barely managed to finish the first floor before our feet were too tired to do more. I definitely recommend narrowing down to the highlights or giving a full day for this one.

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