The Smithsonian Natural History Museum a public museum containing a collection of over 150 million specimens from the natural world, including fossils, skeletons, plants, gems, minerals, insects, ocean life, and more. Located on the National Mall in Washington, DC, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States.
Permanent exhibits include Ocean Hall, Hall of Mammals, Bone Hall, Butterfly Pavilion and the recently remodeled dinosaur exhibit, called Hall of Fossils – Deep Time. Dinosaur exhibits are displayed in action and in combat instead of static positions.
The Geology, Gems, and Minerals exhibit contains a fascinating collection of colors mined from nature, as well as those converted into priceless jewels. The most famous pieces are the Hope Diamond and the Napoleon Diamond Necklace.
Check the website for hours, security guidelines, and exhibit closures. The summer months are quite crowded, so going off season is recommended. Admission is free except where noted, such as tickets for the Butterfly Pavilion. The museum has cafés, gift shops and an auditorium for special events. The museum also offers school programs, sleepovers, and other research and educational opportunities.