Stella, May I know how you do the Natural History Museum in under 20 minutes?

11:36 AM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may, but first of all be prepared to do some fast walking! (If you saw Monday's post, this a non-moving brother to the Fennec Fox that wouldn't face me for a picture.)
Second of all, don't be put off by the long lines. They move pretty fast (less than 5 minutes when both lines were down the steps and almost to the end of the building), but if you aren't carrying any bags or purses, you can actually skip the line and head right up to security! Thirdly, this isn't a guide to see absolutely everything in the museum. It's a guide to see the highlights (especially when you only have twenty minutes before your lunch reservations!).
Once you head in, the first thing you will see is the giant African elephant and right next to it is the Information desk. Grab a map and find yourself in it. If you are Joey, then place the map on the ground and step into the the Rotunda.
Facing the direction you came in, make a left turn and see the mammals. This is a huge exhibition of so many mammals. For us: it was like a preview of what's to come when we went to the zoo later that day. 
This is not the order to see the mammal animals as I don't remember the order that we saw them in. Just make a general circle around and make sure you hit up your favorite animals. The mammal exhibit is placed by where you would find the animals. The cheetah animal you see above is based in Africa, so you would find them in the Africa section.
To make sure you see all of the sections start with Africa. (Africa is the section you start with anyways as it is the first one you see.) 
Then turn left to Australia (where the above platypus is located), and continue down until you see South American mammals. 
Then make a right and you should see the Family section. In the Family Section, you will find the your earliest mammal ancestors: like the orangutan. 
After the Family Section, you will want to finish off the Mammals with the North American section 
Then head down the Iceland Revealed exhibit and enter the Ocean Hall.
As you enjoy this hall make sure you keep to one direction and keep walking towards the back of the hall. Let this whale be your guide and head towards its tail. 
 Don't miss the giant 2 year old squid. I didn't take a picture, but look for the live coral reef too!
When you reach the end of the hall you should see some stairs. Take them up to the second floor.
You will then be greeted by the end of the special exhibit currently showing. At the time we went, it was the 20th Anniversary Nature's Best Photography Awards. So the picture you see above, it's a picture of a picture.
Going backwards through the photography exhibit isn't ideal, but its the best way to make it to the Hope Diamond. If this is the exhibit you just have to see, make sure you check the schedule. They are renovating soon and will only be open to pubic Fridays and weekends. 
The display rotates around so you just have to get to the front and wait for it to spin for you to get a full view of the diamond. That blue color was stunning! 
After the Hope Diamond, turn right or left and you should see the rest of the National Gem Collection. (this is starting from the right of the Hope Diamond)
Dom Pedro Aquamarine, the world’s largest faceted aquamarine gem.
The GIANT crystal ball. 
This collection was the one that took up the longest time. It was just so fascinating to me. If you still had time after this I would head across the hall to the Live Butterfly Pavilion. We went on a particularly busy weekend so tickets were out, but it did look really cool! 

And that's twenty minutes! I wouldn't suggest doing this unless you were really trying to cram your day with all the museums as there were so many other things we didn't see. (Dinosaurs, mummies, T.rex skull!, and the Mud Masons of Mali.) 

links: Natural History Museum map

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