how long does it take to walk around the natural history museum

Visiting the Natural History Museum is a wonderful experience for anyone interested in the natural world. But if you’re wondering how long it takes to walk around the museum, the answer isn’t as simple as you might think. As someone who has visited the museum multiple times, I am happy to share my insights and tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Arrival and Entrance

When you first arrive at the museum, you will need to go through security and possibly wait in line to enter the building. This process can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day and the season.

Orientation and Map

Once inside, I recommend taking a few minutes to orient yourself and grab a map. The museum is a large and sprawling complex, so having a map will help you navigate the exhibits more efficiently. This orientation process should only take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Main Exhibit Halls

The main exhibit halls at the Natural History Museum are the main attraction for most visitors. These halls are home to iconic exhibits such as the dinosaur skeletons, the Hope Diamond, and the Hall of Human Origins. Depending on your level of interest and engagement with the exhibits, walking through these halls can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

Special Exhibitions

In addition to the main exhibits, the museum often hosts special exhibitions that showcase temporary collections or themes. These special exhibitions are worth checking out, but they can add an extra 1 to 2 hours to your visit, depending on the size and scope of the exhibition.

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The Butterfly Pavilion

If you’re a fan of butterflies and other insects, don’t miss the Butterfly Pavilion. This immersive exhibit allows you to walk among live butterflies and learn about their life cycle and habitats. Spending time in the Butterfly Pavilion can add 30 minutes to an hour to your visit.

Restrooms and Dining

It’s important to factor in time for restroom breaks and dining during your visit. The museum has several restroom facilities and dining options, including cafeterias and snack bars. Budgeting an additional 30 minutes to an hour for these activities will ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience at the museum.


In conclusion, the amount of time it takes to walk around the Natural History Museum can vary greatly depending on your interests and engagement with the exhibits. As a general estimate, I would recommend budgeting at least 4 to 6 hours for a comprehensive visit to the museum. This timeframe allows for a leisurely exploration of the main exhibit halls, special exhibitions, the Butterfly Pavilion, and time for restrooms and dining.


1. Is the Natural History Museum suitable for children?

Yes, the museum is family-friendly and has interactive exhibits and educational programs specifically designed for children of all ages.

2. Can I bring food and drinks into the museum?

Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the museum, but there are dining options available inside the building.

3. Are there guided tours available at the museum?

Yes, the museum offers guided tours led by knowledgeable experts who provide in-depth insights into the exhibits.

4. Is photography allowed inside the museum?

Photography for personal use is permitted in most areas of the museum, but flash photography and tripods are not allowed.

5. Can I purchase tickets in advance for the museum?

Yes, you can purchase tickets online in advance to skip the ticketing lines and enter the museum directly.

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