Do You Have to Pay for Museum of Natural History?

Are you a nature lover or a history buff? Do you enjoy exploring the wonders of science and the natural world?

If so, the American Museum of Natural History is a place you cannot afford to miss. But, the question arises – do you have to pay for the Museum of Natural History?

The answer is yes and no. Let’s dive into it.

Free Admission

Like many other museums in the United States, the American Museum of Natural History offers free admission on certain days. Visitors can enter for free on all days, but there are specific time slots allotted for free entry.

If you plan your visit accordingly, you could save some money and still enjoy all that the museum has to offer. Here are some examples:

  • Tuesday – Pay-what-you-wish
  • First Friday of every month (except September and October) – Free entry from 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Thanksgiving Day – Free entry
  • Christmas Day – Free entry


The museum has made some changes due to COVID-19 pandemic, so please check their website before planning your visit.

Paying for Admission

If you cannot make it during free hours or wish to avoid long queues, purchasing tickets online or at the museum is an option.

The admission fee varies depending on age and whether or not you want access to special exhibitions like The Butterfly Conservatory or The Hayden Planetarium.

Here’s an overview of general admission prices without any additional exhibitions:

  • Adults – $23
  • Seniors and Students with ID – $18
  • Children Ages 2-12 – $13
  • Children Under 2 – Free


The museum offers discounts for groups and combination tickets. Also, if you are a Bank of America cardholder, you can take advantage of “Museums on Us” program which allows free entry to the museum on the first full weekend of every month.

Special Exhibitions

If you wish to access special exhibitions, there is an extra charge. Prices vary depending on the exhibition.

Here are some examples:

  • The Butterfly Conservatory – Adult: $33 / Child: $20 / Senior and Student with ID: $27
  • The Hayden Planetarium Space Show – Adult: $28 / Child: $16.50 / Senior and Student with ID: $22.50
  • Dinosaurs Among Us – Adult: $28 / Child: $16.50


If you plan on visiting multiple times or want to attend special exhibitions frequently, it may be worth purchasing a membership. Memberships grant free admission to the museum and discounts on special exhibitions, tours, and events.


In conclusion, while admission is not always free at the American Museum of Natural History, there are options available for those who want to save money or avoid long lines.

Whether you choose to visit during free hours or pay for admission, one thing is certain – the museum’s vast collection of exhibits will take your breath away!