I remember being a kid and visiting the American Museum of Natural History for the first time. I was in complete awe. A Night at the Museum captures that experience perfectly. Unfortunately, visiting the same museum as an adult will have a very different experience. Dark, windowless, over-cluttered, and pretty claustrophobic. Just try walking the narrow hallways to get to the “real” Moai from Easter Island. With only one way out, snaking across the length of the building, I couldn’t help but think about what would happen in an emergency. Children don’t think about things like that. Hopefully, the renovation will address this, along with the worn carpet.
Still, the jewel of the Museum is their dinosaur exhibit. Even that seems more cramped these days.
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The Rose Center for Earth and Space, on the other hand, is very open and inviting. It is a completely modern building which replaced the former Hayden Planetarium. Surrounded by glass, the large metal ball at its center contains the various theaters. One look and you can see where Apple got the idea for their Fifth Avenue store. The shows at the Planetarium are always worthwhile. The new Journey to the Stars narrated by Whoopi Goldberg was wonderful.
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If you have kids, one trip to the Natural History will last a lifetime. You can always rent a Night at the Museum to relive the visit and save the $16 admission fee which does NOT include special events and movies. (Overpriced for NYC even in a good economic climate.) However, the Rose Center deserves a second visit, especially when there is a new show in the Planetarium.
NOTE: These 360-panoramas were created from hand-held still photos since tripods are not allowed in either building.