📍 Location and contact
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Washington D.C. The museum is home to over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, and human remains. The museum is also home to the world's largest collection of dinosaur fossils. The museum is divided into four main sections: anthropology, biology, geology, and paleontology.
The museum's anthropology collection is one of the largest in the world and includes over 1 million objects. The collection includes objects from all over the world and covers a wide range of topics such as human evolution, religion, and cultural anthropology.
The museum's biology collection is also one of the largest in the world and includes over 2 million specimens. The collection is divided into five main sections: botany, entomology, invertebrates, mammals, and vertebrates.
The museum's geology collection is the largest in the world and includes over 4 million specimens. The collection is divided into three main sections: mineralogy, petrology, and paleontology.
The museum's paleontology collection is the largest in the world and includes over 5 million specimens. The collection is divided into two main sections: invertebrates and vertebrates.
The museum is also home to a library, which contains over 1 million books and journals. The library is open to the public and is one of the largest research libraries in the world.
🕒 Opening hours
- Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
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🗣️ Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Reviews
Washington DC quickly became one of my most favorite places I’ve visited, partially because of their Smithsonian National Museum. This museum was spacious and very informative. The location was ideal and I would highly recommend to anyone who loves learning or considers themselves a visual learner.
That is the real deal. So much to see so much to read. You can stay here for days. I was there with my 2 and 3 year old kids and at first I thought that was not fitting very well because there are a lot of skulls and bones that could be frightening but they both had a good time here. Staff is friendly and helpful. The only thing I don’t like was the loud nature sounds over the speakers.
Great, free (admission) museum. 2 cafes. Deceptively big --several separate rooms filled with artifacts, exhibits and displays. Kid and stroller friendly, easy to navigate the 2 floors. Lots of signage. Not far from Smithsonian metro stop. Security will check bags. Plan to visit several hours if you want to see and truly take in everything, or perhaps a future visit.
Amazing Museum!! Considering it's free, it's a great place to bring the family and explore many different exhibits from animals to human history & so much more. Only bottleneck was security but didn't long to go through. The hours are somewhat limited so make to get here early if you want to explore everything in one visit. A must visit if your in the DC area for the first time.
The natural History Museum is but a fraction of the Smithsonian collection of museums. The fossil exhibit is amazing. There are maps for sale for $1.00 within the Museum, but other than that, admission is free. This Museum is also home to the famous Hope Diamond within the gem stone exhibit. I have not visited the other museums, but would put the natural history Museum toward the top of all the museums I have ever visited. Try to get there early as parking can be an issue later in the day.
Make sure you allow a lot of time in your day to see everything the museum has to offer!! There is A LOT to see! Also bring your walking shoes! We spent about 5 hours at this museum(that’s with a lunch break). We paid to go into the butterfly exhibit and it was 12/10 worth it if you like butterflies! Tickets were $8 a piece. Lots to see in the museum, lots to read as well. We took the metro into town for parking is slim to none in the area, so my advice is to take the metro if at all possible. It was a great experience and we really enjoyed it. We also learned a lot too by reading the things they had, and by watching the videos they had. Gift shops of all kinds on all floors.
We had a great time! There was no wait to get in, even with security screenings at the door. It was quite crowded both days we visited, but we were still able to see every exhibit in a reasonable amount of time. Masks are required throughout the building, but that was no issue for us. My 7 and 10yo LOVED all the exhibits and were blown away every time we rounded a corner. I highly recommend it if you're in DC!
Amazing museum. If you don’t have a lot of time, there is a few areas you MUST visit, gemstone collection, mammals, dinosaurs and mummies. These were the most impressive areas. The museum is free like all the Smithsonian ones. This is a must visit in DC.
Ive never been to a museum like this. Everything was just so cool to look at. The museum was massive. You could spend an entire day here. The 2 hours we were here we saw so many cool fossils-dinosaurs, human body’s/brains, how things have evolved over millions of years. There’s so much to be seen here & they have a good cafe for lunch! Very crowded on the weekend! But also free$$!
AMAZING! That's all you really need to know about going here. They have everything you could ever imagine in Natural History in one place. Elephants, skeletons, dinosaurs, sparkling gems, animals from the depths of the oceans, historical artifacts, ice age humans and so much more! They also have an awesome store as well! Just go you won't be disappointed I promise!
If you're traveling to the DC area for pleasure you must make this a must visit. It was my partner's and I first time visiting the museum and it was incredible. With several floors of information I wanted to learn and read it all, BUT you absolutely CANNOT do that in one day. My partner is okay with skipping certain things and reading a little here, reading a little there... but me? I'm the exact opposite. If you're like me and just want to stop at everything, you will struggle haha. I had to make difficult choices and skip certain exhibits. But it's free! So you can come back and revisit what you missed. Go visit, you will not be disappointed!
Great museum, of course. Lots of variety and interesting things to see. Almost TOO much stuff. I had to just walk through some of the exhibits and others I didn't even get to. Unfortunately the Pharaoh did NOT come to life. Nor did the T-Rex skeleton. But that's okay. It wasn't night time after all.
Amazing place to visit. Although it was very crowded, staff was friendly and helpful and there weren't long waits to see any exhibits. The museum has an exceptional collection of truly one of a kind treasures. The galleries are all unique in their own way but flow in a way that makes sense. Highly recommended although set aside a few hours to really get a good tour in.
Amazing! I regret going to the American history museum first on the day we went here simply because we needed more time here. Three hours wasn't enough for us. You could easily spend a whole day here and still not see everything! My 7 year old son's favorite part was the mineral and gem collection. This museum is a must see and people of all ages will love it. I plan to return to DC just so that we can spend a whole day here.
Great place to visit as a part of a day trip. The museum is rich with plethora of interesting information. You will need at least 3-4 hours if you want to explore 50% of the stuffs. There are plenty of food trucks outside if you get hungry in the middle.
I have waited over 40 years to go to he Smithsonian National Museums. When I went their I was amazed and blown away by how awesome they are. I would recommend to everyone to bring your kids. There is something there for everyone. My only disappointment was the 2 parts I REALLY wanted to see was Air and Space Museum, and the Entertainment section of American history the most but both were closed. I was sad, but didn't let the destroy my day.
AMAZING experience! They had SO many things to go through! Expect to be here at least 3-4 hours! I would definitely go back. Gemstone room was fascinating! Animal exhibits were neat and organized well. The hope Diamond is a must see. Visited on Weekday Wait time No wait Reservation recommended Not sure Price for adult entry Free … More
I LOVE the Natural History Museum. It never gets old no matter how many times you see it. The gems are always a favorite. It's definitely very crowded, but worth seeing. I took my son who is in a stroller and there's a ramp and elevators inside. The crowd usually goes in the same direction so, it's easy to get through and see everything.
THE BEST MUSEUM I’VE EVER VISITED!!! I’m so happy we got to visit the SNMoNH! We spent the entire day, 10am to 5pm visiting the different galleries and still didn’t have time to visit the Butterfly room. If you have a dinosaur fan kid, it’s worth it going only for that/ We spent the first 2 hours alone in the Fossils Hall. SO MUCH TO SEE! We the. Spent the rest of the days at the Mammals Hall, Ocean Hall, Minerals and Stones Hall, and quickly saw the Objects of Wonder exhibit and glanced at the Outbreak exhibit. We will have to go back the next time we’re visiting DC. Also, it’s FREE!
An amazing museum to visit. So much to discover and learn. We planned only 2-3 hours which was reasonable but not sufficient really. Kids loved various sections in the museum and so did we. A must visit if you happen to be in the Washington DC especially with kids and family. People of all ages will have things to learn and be amazed at. And entrance was free and parking was easily available
An amazing (free) experience that was tons of fun for all of us and we all left smarter. Plan to spend at least 2 hours if you want to see most of the exhibits. If you want to read and learn about the exhibits it, allot at least 3 hours. They do have restaurants inside, ample restrooms and a nice gift shop. Our favorite exhibits were neanderthals exhibits and ancient animals, especially the dinosaur skeletons. They have many real looking animal exhibits, and detailed scientific background on them which was fun to learn.
Definitely worth a visit, but be prepared for it to be busy. This may of been due to the air and space museum being closed. All exhibits well set up with lots of interesting facts and information. From Dinosaur skeletons, seeing archaeologists working on bone samples in the lab, bugs and beasties, sealife, Egyptian mummies and many other exhibits on wildlife and human evolution. The Butterfly exhibition needs tickets which we didn't visit. Excellent museum, well worth the visit.
A place you must visit. there's so much to see. Outside the museum there are food / drink trucks everyone. If your visiting in the months of June, July, August food price are extremely high. Example: 3 sandwich, chips and drink can be as high as $50.00. Bottle water $5.00. A bottle of Beer $7.00 . Pizza: large between $40.00 to $60.00. White house pizza is $60.00 not including tax, delivery and tip. Make sure to stop and shop for food before getting to Washington. You'll have a great time. Remember this tip.. Always stay to your right while walking anywhere. Local people trying to get work get up set very easily because they don't want to be held back and late for work so please be kind visiting. Have fun!
My children and I will come back again and again while living in DC area. In our first two trips to this museum we only got to visit the mineral and gem exhibit and we still feel need more time to see every detail of it. In my opinion this is the best and the unique part of this museum, while other museum may have similar fossils or butterfly gardens (FYI, U of Florida has the impressive butterfly exhibit.)
Great museums to visit in Washington. All the hall brought me back at when I was a kid and for sure this is an experience you should have if you have children. Also if sometimes it can feel a little chaotic and not well organized, this museum delivers a great amount of things to see and learn: from dinosaurs, to gems and minerals; from African animals, to mummies. I liked it very much and there are a lot of things to discover. A must for your travel in DC.
BEST NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM I HAVE EVER BEEN! Fossils are simply awesome, there are tons of interactive items all around. The Mammals section has really cool taxidermy! Insect section has alive animals inside! Quality of the pieces is overall outstanding and it is a very updated Museum! Great for science students, families and children! Gold tip for you: the Museum is normally less crowded during the mornings, especially when you enter around the opening hour (10 a.m.)
Good place to take the kids. It was pretty busy on a weekday, so I imagine it would be even more so on weekends. The part about human evolution is pretty fascinating. The fossil hall is also quite interesting. The exhibit is huge - we tried to embrace it in one day, spent more then four hours there and didn't even get to the second floor. So If you live in DC or stay there for a longer time it would make sense to do two days to really study the museum.
I had never been in a museum as amazing as this one; it's amazing, they have so many things to see; dinosaur fossils are the best, my three year old daughter enjoyed it very much, she has not stopped talking about it in the last two days. We went on a Sunday and it was quite long but it is not overwhelming because it is very big place, there was enough space to see and do things. the museum is very interactive, it has so many things to learn, a single day is not enough to learn about so many things. It has easy access for strollers and wheelchairs, there are multiple elevators, several shops for souvenirs and gifts, it has a very nice cafe area. you won't get bored here. In addition, everything is super clean and it is totally free. When you enter the museum you go through a lot of security but the process is fast.
This was my family and our first time visiting the Smithsonian of Natural History Museum. My kids range from the age of 12 to 23 and they absolutely loved it! Admission was FREE and they asked for a $1 donation if you wanted a map of the museum. The museum consists of three floors, two gift shops and a large food cafe with plentiful eating area on the first floor. There were a lot of terrific exhibits that covered the wide spectrum of ages. We did spend about 3.5 hrs in this museum looking at the exhibits and eating lunch there. The food was cooked, plated, and you would grab what you would like and pay at the cashier. There's a soda fountain if you paid for soda. There are also water fountains to refill your water bottle. The food tasted good, serving size is plentiful, and very fair in cost especially when there is no admission charge into the museum. There's plenty of restrooms located throughout the museum. My family and I had an excellent time visiting and would love to visit this museum again!
No joke, one of the best museum I've visited period. There's a little something for everyone. The infos were great, the artifacts cool and beautiful. The whole place is well designed so one can just keep walking and walking without thinking that they are leaving one exhibit to another. But yeah, this place is amazing and would definitely recommend to anyone.
Truly a national treasure. Tons of excellent fossils, gems/diamonds, ancient artifacts, and one-of-a-kinds. This is a world class museum in every sense. Perfect for kids, families, teens, and adults alike. You should stop here and make sure to check out the dinosaur fossils!
This place is immense. Spent six hours there and still didn't get to see everything. Word to the wise? Plan ahead and tackle the exhibits you want to see the most first. The gemstone exhibit, located on the third floor, features some of the rarest jewelry in the world, including the Hope Diamond. The animal exhibit, located on the second floor, was my favorite as it featured life sized realistic replicas of wild animals. There is a cafe but forewarning, the prices are theme park rates. Food and drinks are not allowed with the exception of water and there is a security point check similar to an airport TSA check to ensure the safety of the public and artifacts. It was incredibly packed when we went so just keep that in mind if and when you decide to go. 10/10
Great place to visit if you are in DC. DC is full of museums and most of it is run by Smithsonian's. They are doing a wonderful work on it to keep the place neat and clean and also allowing free entry for people. This place offer a lot of things to see like the early human and the evaluation history, some of those historical artifact's were very unique and have not seen anywhere else. They also have a huge collection of natural minerals and gemstones it was really a wonderful treat to your eyes.
This is one of the most visited and most popular museums in the world and it’s free (of course from our tax money). The museum has the largest natural history collection (145 million specimens) in the world. It is really interesting, informative and fun to delve into the story of our planet from the beginning and how the life evolved over a period of time. There are excellent exhibits for kids as well for all ages of people. Unfortunately, there is no public parking facility there. If you are lucky, you may get the metered parking otherwise you have to park in the commercial parking garages nearby. There is nice cafeteria with great food in the museum. There are lots of food trucks outside the museum serving variety of food. I loved the exhibit of minerals and gems. There are so amazing pieces of gems and rocks, I bet you have never seen before. There is so much to see that you can’t finish in one day. Some of the exhibits we even didn’t explore due to time constraints. But we will definitely go back and enjoy the same or remaining exhibits. It was busy but not too crowded, we didn’t have to fight for the space. May be it was a weekday, so it wasn’t too bad. This is a must see attraction in Washington DC.
There is SO much to see and learn here! The exhibits are fascinating and so educational. Could have easily spent all day, but we only had a few hours so that we could squeeze everything into one day. Just like all the museums at the National Mall, there is no admission fee, which is great.
The museum is a gem! It's 2 floors, tons of fun interactive exhibits, and it includes over 145 million specimens (99% of which are not visible). There's tons of halls, including mammals, dinosaurs, skeletons, ancient Egypt, human origins, pandemics, and more. Of course there's also the iconic elephant statues in the atrium. I would recommend 2-3 hours, maybe even 4 if you're going thoroughly to see everything. I would highly recommend if you're bored in DC and want something to do.
Hard to say anything negative about this museum. It's well set up, has a great mix of exhibits and best of all free to visit. The kids love the bugs and the rocks so we tend to go the same spots every time we visit. But that's ok because they're pretty cool spots. The new dino exhibit set up is really nice. And more airy than it used to be. If you're in DC this one is well worth a visit. It's one we take guests to all the time.
Great museum, fun and informative for all ages, children and adults alike. So much to see. Give yourself a few hours to take in how much there is here. In addition to the Hope Diamond, there is an extensive gem and minerals exhibit. There is something for everyones interest. Best of all, the admission is free! We had planned on seeing both the Natural History museum and the American History Museums of the Smithsonian, but had time for just one that day. Will go back and do the same to properly explore just as we did at the Natural History Museum. It is centrally located from the other Smithsonian museums and very close walk to Smithsonian Metro Station.
Wide variety of exhibits. Many photo ops available throughout the museum. I enjoy museums so I had a great time there. There was a very long line at the cafeteria so we skipped that. You need at least a couple of days to go through all of the exhibits so try to plan on that. Visited on Weekend Wait time 10–30 min Reservation recommended Yes Price for adult entry Free … More
Now my favorite museum. Must see for a trip to D.C., it is very busy and crowded on our Sunday visit. Rock, gem, and mineral lover / hunters dream ! Kids absolutely loved it Also dream for people who love paleontology. So much awesome we saw fossils, bones, dinosaurs, marine life, Egyptian mummy,, insects and animals from all around, truly amazing.
Amazing free museum for all ages. Perfect activity for nature and science lovers. The variety of what there is to see is what impressed me the most. You can spend the whole day there easily if you read alot of the information and play with the interactive displays. 5 stars would recommend to anyone. Read the rules before going to any Smithsonian museum, as you cannot bring certain items and will go through a security check.
Great museum for kids and adults. We went on the weekend and it was packed with people but we were able to move around with moderate congestion. The gift store was reasonable and there was some unique items available. For the little ones, I would bring a stroller if you’re up to pushing it because their legs will get tired. There were places to sit but they weren’t plentiful. The food court was open but we didn’t purchase anything. You can bring your own goods and water inside the museum. There is plenty to see and read for everyone. Highly recommend for families with small kids (probably 2 and up)
Beautiful exhibits, no lines to go inside, no entrance fees. The food at the Dining Area was also pretty good for a Museum. There’s plenty of fascinating artifacts to see, a must place to go too when you’re visiting Washington D.C. A part of The Butterfly Exhibit was closed when we went there, but we weren’t upset at all because there were so many other amazing exhibits to explore. Our favorite was definitely the “Human Origins” and “Ancient Egypt” Exhibits.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this amazing museum? Well it's free for one thing but they encourage donations and there's so much to see! From the fossils to how humans formed into who we are today. If you haven't already gone and thinking about going just do it! You won't regret especially if you have children, they will absolutely love it! The museum has a lot of displays that are physically interactive so if you or your children learn best through touch this the place for you!
This museum is amazing! From giant sea fossils to the human ancestral lineage and the most beautiful gems, there truly is something for everyone to appreciate here. A must do if you are in DC. Best of all, it is free and walking distance to the National Mall and many other great museums. Visited on Weekday Wait time No wait Reservation recommended No Price for adult entry Free … More
For me was the most impressive collections of specimens from around the world I was able to see I can spend the whole day in here and not be able to watch everything. The dinosaurs bones was my favorite part this place is definitely for the whole family and I will strongly recommend to visit it! This will be in my top five favorite museums for sure. The only thing is they close at 5:30 pm I wish they close later because I will need at least Two full days to cover the whole place.
This is one of THE MUST places to visit while in Washington DC. There's so much interesting history and artifacts abound. The exhibits are amazing and the flow of people is NOT BAD so you get to see everything you want without fighting for space. It's a great place to really take in and enjoy the world we live in by seeing our surroundings in a completely different light from fossils, the living planet, minerals, to different cultures, the Smithsonian Natural Art History Museum has it all.
It’s a National museum, so there is no way to rate it less than 5! Great family experience. Thank you to the front door security gentleman with the beard who did not make us unload our whole double stroller to go through our baby bag! The bathroom closest to the large piece of tree stump and the African American history section was very clean. We went on a Saturday (huge mistake as it was insanely packed). But, still a beautiful museum!
Free museum. Great for kids. Lots of interesting exhibits. I went during Cherry Blossom peak week so it was pretty crowded on a Saturday. I spent 3+ hours exploring. There’s 3 floors. Definitely recommend. There something for everyone. Visited on Weekday Wait time No wait Reservation recommended No Price for adult entry Free … More
What a wonderful place! I loved the diversity of exhibits and my son loved the animals. It was nice and warm inside on a cold night in DC do that was very appealing to us considering we didn’t want to do anything outdoors because of the cold. Anyways, wonderful place, very informative and extremely clean. It’s free to enter right now without any need to reserve advance passes. That was def a perk. We were able to see almost the whole thing in a few hours. I’m sure we missed a few exhibits but the point is is you are crunched for time, with kids, or looking for something memorable to do for free, this is def your spot.