Travelling Tales: Natural History (New York, Day 2)

(Edit: I’m expanding this on Sunday early afternoon, because on Friday I didn’t have enough time to do the post justice.)

Today I took my first solo steps into New York, and went to the American Museum of Natural History! It was amazing, I spent hours and hours wandering around taking photos and generally being thrilled by all the science. I’ve wanted to go there since I was a little girl (that is, when I was three and decided to be a dinosaur hunter because my dad and I watched a documentary about dinosaurs and a good portion of it involved this museum).

I started off in the Room of the Universe, which is basically a giant model of the near universe with added information (and was full of small children and their parents). Naturally, I located Sirius and took photos of it!

And I found out what my relative weights are on different planets! And for the sake of comparison and thoroughness I weighed myself on Earth and I’m 120 pounds.

I also saw an enormous iron meteorite, but it was surrounded by people so I didn’t get any good pictures.

After the space science, I moved into the rooms of biodiversity, which had models of hundreds of different species covering the walls and hanging from the ceiling. There was an Ocean Life room, too, which was lit a murky dark blue and had a life-size model of a blue whale in it. My first book was about a blue whale, so naturally I took a lot of photos of that. This is one of the best:

And there was an absolutely ENORMOUS chuck of sequoia tree, which obviously I took many photos of (and definitely didn’t plan on tagging my sister as it on Facebook) and on it was written a number of significant dates, from 550 ad when the tree started growing, to 1891 when it was cut down. Here’s a shot to show you the scale of the thing, the detail photos will be in my album!

And then I spent a long, long time wandering around the dinosaur rooms! There were lots of little kids up there, too, so my inner three-year-old was in good company. It was so exciting to see them, and to remember watching them on TV when I was a sproglet. I was EXTREMELY alarmed that an empty case was labelled ‘velociraptor’, though. (On further inspection, it had a skull in it, but still! It was a very large case to hold such a small skull!) Anyway, here’s a triceratops:

And after the dinosaurs, I asked a security guard how to get to the room of gemstones. I received the best directions I have ever received in my life, which were, “Go down this corridor, hang a left at the bear, continue until the giant canoe, turn right, and you’re there.” I did indeed hang a left at the bear and turn right at the giant canoe, and then I got to the geology rooms. My favourite room was the room of precious stones (magpie!) and the sapphires in particular were amazing:

So that’s my Christmas present sorted, okay?

As always, I took a load of photos, which I’ll be putting up in albums later. This is just a report and a taster. But I survived the subway, anyway, and then when I came back Carmel introduced me to her partner, Tom, and we went out to dinner with some of his friends, where he introduced me as their love-child, in town until the paternity suit is done. Dinner was in a barbecue place a few streets away, with a swing band playing in the background – a fun way to spend a Friday night, especially since Tom’s friends are former rock’n’roll musicians – Jerry played with Debbie Harry for years, and has a very impressive list of people he’s met and partied with.

I’m tired now, though, and still haven’t quite got over my jet lag – it’s not too bad, it just wakes me up ridiculously early in the morning, and broken sleep isn’t the best.

In conclusion: I love museums, dinosaurs are still the best, and the Museum of Natural History gets my seal of approval: