I feel like a lot of parents in NYC have most likely been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). But have you checked out the Discovery Room? I hadn’t until I organized a homeschool field trip there last year. This year I learned anyone can visit the Discovery Room, even if you are not part of an organized group with a scheduled time. Apologies if this is common knowledge. It was news to me! My kids visited again recently with their grandparents and had an awesome time!
Setting up the field trip was very easy, I simply sent an email and then got a response rather quickly. While I thought the room might be booked through the school year, it was not and I got our first choice of dates.
First, the staff who was working the day of our trip was just FANTASTIC. Not only were they knowledgeable and had planned an interesting schedule for our time there but it was obvious they really loved children. Sadly, this is not always the case when visiting places, even places intended for children. They moved our group of 4 year olds through several hands-on and engaging activities.
My son’s favorite part of the field trip and his recent trip there was their “paleontology field site.” The museum fills a pit with plaster every so often to cover up dinosaur bones on the bottom. Kids use real archaeological tools to uncover the bones.
He also loved the magnetic dinosaur bones which you can attach to a frame to recreate a dinosaur skeleton.
There are also live animals in the room along with several other artifacts and specimens to explore.
The field trip was very inexpensive as far as NYC field trips go, $75 for your group which includes museum admission for the kids and chaperones. The museum had no problem with a large number of chaperones as each child’s mom accompanied them. I’ve organized other homeschool field trips where places have not been able to accommodate that many adults. The discovery room is a large and homeschool friendly place!
But again, even if you’re not part of a group, you can head to the Discovery Room while you are visiting the museum. You will either be allowed to enter right then or invited back at later time the same day if if’s too crowded at the moment. It’s worth the wait.
We highly recommend it!