Visitor’s Guide to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
If you ever find yourself in Washington DC with a few hours top spare, then my suggestion would be to make the best use of that precious time and pay a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – you are not going to be disappointed! One of USA’s most visited natural history museums, the Smithsonian is well known for its huge number of artefacts but also for the always exciting and innovative ways in which its displays are presented. This short visitor’s guide to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History will give you an idea about what to see here, as well as some practical information on when the museum is open and how to get there:
How to get there
Like many other Washington attractions, the Smithsonian NMNH is located in the most touristic area of the capital, close to the Capitol and the Department of Treasury. The huge building occupies and entire block, between Constitution Street and 10th avenue. The easiest way to get here is probably the metro – the Smithsonian has its own designated station. There is also a special bus line serving the Smithsonian complex.
Museum hours and entrance fees
The Museum is open daily between 10 am and 5.50 pm, 364(5) days a year. The only day in the year when the museum is not open is Christmas day. As for entrance fee, here comes the great news, cause many Washington museums and the Smithsonian in particular have free admission for all categories of visitors.
Collections and exhibits
The Smithsonian NMNH is huge so a day might not be enough to see all the rooms and exhibitions in detail. The best thing would be to decide what exactly are you interested in and visit those sections first. Two of the most popular permanent exhibitions are those dedicated to the origins of human kind and oceanography – but in addition to these you’ll be able to see lots of fossils, dinosaur skeletons, documentaries, photographs etc.
A visit at the Smithsonian NMHN is by no means boring. Some of the exhibitions can be quite engaging and interactive, but you still feel bored you can also try the Butterfly Pavilion, with lots of exotic plants and live, colourful butterfly species or maybe watch a documentary on the huge screen of the IMAX theatre. The museum also has two cafes and a coffee and ice cream bar, usually serving snacks and light meals like salads and sandwiches.