Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC: Hours, Address, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Reviews: 4.5/5

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
4.5
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice
About
Established in 1910 and located on the National Mall, this prestigious museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, holds the world's most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts including the remains of dinosaurs and tools used by early man.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: National Mall
How to get there
  • Federal Triangle • 5 min walk
  • Archives • 6 min walk
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Restaurants
3,024 within 5 kms
Attractions
577 within 10 kms
Popular mentions

4.5
12,230 reviews
Excellent
8,206
Very good
2,878
Average
919
Poor
168
Terrible
60

G.z.
Berlin, Germany36 contributions
Good exhibition, free!
Oct 2021 • Solo
Amazing experience, some very good exhibitions, make sure you give some more attention to the mineral exhibition , very good to go solo or family
Written 21 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kinda Invisible
Greater Seattle Area276 contributions
Goes on forever
Sep 2021
How lucky are we to have these kind of museums available to us at no charge?! Take your time and just enjoy everything it has to offer. Note that many of the exhibits are casts of actual skeletons because the originals are fragile and part of research.
Written 21 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

bradziker1
Lake Mary, FL1,328 contributions
too much to see in a few hours
Sep 2021
This was just so much fun and too much to see. I only had a few hours, so had to go to the exhibits that I prioritized. By the end of a few hours I was exhausted. You could spend several days here. Really enjoyed the human history part with all the models of Neanderthals and other human faces - very interesting and well done. The cafeteria was not up to standards - just rows of tables and not inviting. Needs a major redesign. So glad there are still some things free. Make sure you research which days the various museums are open. Wish they had a bag room like the British museum.
Written 3 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew T
108 contributions
Visit
Sep 2021 • Solo
Went recently. We did all the floors available and read as much as possible. This museum really is a 2 day type experience if you want to get all of it in. If you want to just go in a day allot around 3-4 hours. Pretty cool overall.
Written 3 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cheryl B
4 contributions
Life long dream.
Sep 2021
Enjoyed greatly but sadden not all of the exhibits were opened neither was the gift shops. Food in the cafeteria was terrible but then again it was a cafeteria.
Written 16 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Prakash R
Delray Beach, FL917 contributions
Fascinating look at the world of Nature from the start of time
Sep 2021
I was able to enter the the Museum of Natural History without the timed tickets that the other Museums in the Smithsonian wanted you to take. I was able to go in freely after a bag check. You are required to wear a mask at all times. Photography is allowed and encouraged but no selfie sticks.

The Museum is organized in various segments with a oval Central Hall and exhibits radiating from each pie segment. The Visitor Guide is available for $1.00 which goes as a contribution to the Museum which does not charge any admission fee.

The entrance from the National Mall (Constitution Avenue) takes you into the rotunda directly under the majestic dome. On the left is a display of the Mammals and there are many exotic animals stuffed and mounted in an approximation of their natural habitats. Think of it as a zoo where all the animals have gone to a taxidermist to be stuffed and mounted!

On your right as you come in are fossils and remains of creatures that dies several hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Also on the same floor are the origins of human beings from the apes of Africa and a section on African voices and life in African countries in the bush, the villages and the jungle dwellings.

The second floor is probably the one you are looking for as it contains the famous Hope Diamond. The Diamond is mounted on a rotating stand that turns 90 degrees every few seconds so that visitors on all four sides of the glass enclosure can see the necklace with its humungous center piece - the blue Hope Diamond that had brought so much bad luck for so many people.

The hanging exhibits of huge prehistoric creatures is very imposing. The size of these creatures is stupendous and the fact that these ancestors of the reptiles of today dominated the earth before a meteor destroyed most of them is daunting when you see them full size.

Another interesting exhibit is the submersible used for undersea exploration and the film that is shown about exploring the deep ocean beyond where sunlight can ever reach (Twilight Zone). Some of the exhibits such as the pavilion of insects were closed when I went in.

You will enjoy the museum more if you read up on some of the facts about mammals, fossils, paleontology and other items - the museum is too much to take, cold and can be quite overwhelming, Be prepared for questions from your children as you go from exhibit to exhibit.
Written 13 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kayla K
Naples, FL64 contributions
Wonderful time
Sep 2021 • Family
We had a great time. Second time here, once when my daughter was 8 and now that she is 13. She enjoyed it both times, but appreciated it more now that she’s older, and learning about all this stuff in school. Such a great experience.
Written 7 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TRivers142
Boston, Massachusetts203 contributions
In awe. Not only of the exhibits but also the architecture.
Sep 2021
Open to all and easy to get to. Beautifully maintained, organized & updated. Great for all ages. I was in awe. Not only of the exhibits but also the architecture of the building itself.
Written 7 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mrobSyracuse_ny
Weedsport, NY26 contributions
Best for children
Sep 2021
My favorite museum, excellent for children lots of life size animals. The displays are out of this world wonderful.
Written 4 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LovesToGo_1
Greeneville, TN108 contributions
America the Beautiful
Aug 2021 • Solo
Arrive early and stay late. This museum is easy to navigate and has exhibits for everyone. Staff members were friendly and helpful.
Written 26 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:00 - 17:30
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We recommend booking Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 28 Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History tours on Tripadvisor