Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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
About
Established in 1910 and located on the National Mall, this prestigious museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, holds the world's most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts including the remains of dinosaurs and tools used by early man.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: National Mall
How to get there
  • Federal Triangle • 5 min walk
  • Archives • 6 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Thomas P
    Oceanside, New York4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    VIP Washington DC Tour
    Excellent Tour! Joey and driver Thomas were outstanding. Would highly recommend this tour! We visited all of the major monuments to include the Lincoln, Jefferson, and the Natiobal Archives. Also had a boat ride down the Potomac and stopped for lunch in Georgetown. A memorable experience
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written May 7, 2023
  • Rosie C
    11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    excellent place to visit
    It is highly worthwhile to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The written explanations were well done. The museum was spacious. I especially loved seeing all the prehistoric creatures, the insect collections and the rocks and minerals section. We were there all day and didn't see it all.
    Visited April 2023
    Written May 11, 2023
  • 907blaked
    Tampa, Florida1,449 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dinosaur exhibit not as good as it used to be, but Rocks/Minerals and Mammals is still excellent
    We spent a couple of hours here. The most enjoyable parts were the Mammals and Rocks/Minerals/Gems section, including the Hope Diamond. The dinosaur exhibit has been completely redone after being closed for many years, but quite frankly we found it not as well done as it was before; gone are the large-scale models of dinosaurs, replaced with just skeletons; and the written content/organization is difficult to follow and not as good. Nevertheless, this museum is still a staple of DC museums, and the price (free) is of course right!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 10, 2023
  • Liz
    Martinborough, New Zealand3 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth a visit.
    Chose this museum for two reasons - it didn't require pre-booking timed entry tickets - and I wanted to go to the 'butterfly room'. The exhibits were displayed really well in a beautiful building. We arrived early to avoid the crowds and spent a couple of hours there.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 22, 2023
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Memorable and educational
    One of the best museums ever visited. You can cover anything from the Big bang, prehistoric dinosaur era, world history, space exploration while getting informed about wild life and various natural habitat on the planet. Good way to spend a day(half a day) in NYC
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written June 22, 2023
  • Jessica K
    Tarpon Springs, Florida281 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Natural History Museum
    This Smithsonian museum seems to be the most popular, as it’s always crowded. It is a well organized and fascinating museum, hence the popularity. There’s something for everyone - gemstones, fossils, origins of humans, ocean life - really a terrific museum. We spent nearly 4 hours here and still felt like we could stay longer. There’s a nice cafeteria with basic food options (burgers, desserts, etc) and a nice gift shop. Situated near other Smithsonian museums and the Capitol. There’s also food trucks nearby.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 25, 2023
  • srosens6
    Lake Worth, Florida2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique Pieces
    They had really unique pieces. The gem/rock exhibit was really cool. Some speciments were over 3 million years old. They also had a lot of really cool bones. I can see spending 4-5 hours here.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 25, 2023
  • Mira H
    8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Cool museum
    This was such a fun museum to visit. It was much better than the American history museum we visited earlier that day. I'm not really a person who's into nature or biology, but I still had a great time. My absolute favorite part was the geology section. There were so many cool and beautiful stones to look at. That section was on the top floor, so we went there last a few minutes before closing. I honestly wish I knew where that section was so I could've spent more time there. Overall, it was a great experience for me, but remember, if you're a geology fan, make sure to visit that section first!
    Visited August 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written July 3, 2023
  • TravelerAndrew
    Boston, Massachusetts114 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Best Smithsonian!
    This is my favorite Smithsonian by far! The dinosaur exhibit alone sparks wonder and amazement for all ages, and the ocean section, rock section, and really each and every room and display makes you appreciate nature in a city where you're most often considering history and government. The larger than life displays of the dinosaur skeletons and the whale bones and/or sea creature models are jaw dropping!
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 9, 2023
  • Kelly s
    6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    WOW! but charge your phone!
    So much to explore!!! Be ready for crowds inside. Line outside was not terrible around 10:00 a.m. on 7/3/23. No charging stations for phone so make sure to have battery back up, charging cord/box. There are charging cords for purchase for $18! The only charging kiosks that we came across were in the Smithsonian American History Museum next door, 3rd floor, behind the Hall of Music in a couch/seating area or on the 2nd floor, near the gift shop, there's a brown set of 3 stairs box *think the kind of set up for shoe shining* and there are 2 USB ports at the bottom. Smithsonian has requested charging stations. Plan on more than an hour, peak or non peak times. So much to see!
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 10, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles12,518 reviews
Excellent
8,421
Very good
2,924
Average
936
Poor
175
Terrible
63

andyh67186334
Coalville, UK6,854 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
As the weather was poor, I decided to visit the museum, and it seemed everyone else had the same idea. As it ws free to enter, not time slots and Spring Break, it was organised chaos when you were inside. I didn't see as much as I wanted to due the vast amount of visitors, a shame really.
Written April 14, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Enrique G
Mexico City, Mexico20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
It is just a cool, fun way to learn more about different species, animals and humanity itself. It is a must in every Washington trip
Written April 8, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael C
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
It is always interesting, fascinating, and educational when you visit this museum. Easy access, free, and a lot of hustle and bustle.
Written April 4, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SHB
Burlington, VT86 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
For context, my family and I have been to large museums all over the world. This is my 3rd time to this museum. We love that it’s free (well, my federal taxes…) and accessible to all. But there needs to be some suggested or organized flow to the museum. It is so crowded and with people bouncing off each other it detracts from the experiences. Have people start at the top and work down, put down some wayfinder colors or arrows. Be like IKEA. There is a better way to help people enjoy this more. And at lunch time they should have more than 2 registers open (but the food is fairly decent but of course pricey, lunch for my family of 5 was $120).
Written April 3, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Travel X
Miami, FL591 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
My family really enjoyed the experience. It was very informative and the dinosaurs exhibition was very impressive. Recommended.
Written April 1, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

emma
York, UK25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
came here with some spare time on a school trip, just excellent - we spent around 2 hours but could have easily spent more time, lovely collection with live butterflies, fossils, taxidermies and crystals - lots of lovely bits and bobs in gift shop - note that the butterfly exhibit is closed on certain days
Written April 1, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jarrod B
Dunedin, New Zealand98 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
It's a bit of a mixed bag. It's free, so the price is great, the queues to get in can be long but they move quick so that's good. There's a bunch of really nice exhibits, and some that are fairly rare, the Hope diamond for instance, and the pretty good collection of dinosaur skeletons, and skeletons in general actually. There are two issues, first, it's very busy so be prepared to take your time, be patient as others want to look and take photos and read the info panels etc.
Secondly, there doesn't seem to be any natural flow to the layout that we could figure out. This means you can bounce around a bit and not be entirely sure you've seen all the galleries. We noticed this immediately, and heard others comment about it on our way around.
Look, they're minor issues, it was great fun, we love museums, and this one is pretty good. It's just I think it's worth while knowing about so you can do some research before hand, and/or have the right expectations.
Written March 28, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maria
Downingtown, PA10 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Great museum, lots to do and see. It’s free so expect lines to get in to be super long and it was so busy indoors it was certainly difficult to see all exhibitions. It would be good to time the tickets similar to other museums. Other than the insane crowds it was a very educational and nice museum to visit.
Written March 25, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jose R
12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
This museum is huge so you may need to stay at least 3 hours. We stayed only 1/2 hr as we were in a rush and it was our second time. The kids enjoyed that little bit we had though, especially the dinosaurs.
Written March 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mary Y
6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
The museum was great! The exhibitions interesting and entertaining. We probably wondered around 3 hours in it. Really loved the exhibition of the diseases!
Written March 11, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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