The Hayden Planetarium, one of the highlights of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, is best known for its impressive visuals of space, including a high-resolution video projection of the night sky.
From the outside, the Hayden Planetarium—a sphere measuring 87 feet (26.5 meters) in diameter—appears to float inside a six-story-tall glass cube. Inside, video programming, under the direction of renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, offers glimpses of far-off galaxies, planets, and stars, all in ultra-sharp resolution. Visitors can witness the birth of the universe in the Big Bang Theater; walk the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, which illustrates the history of the universe from the Big Bang to present day; and check out Dark Universe, the planetarium’s popular space show that charts the discoveries that have led humankind to greater knowledge about the universe. (It’s narrated by Mr. deGrasse Tyson himself.)
Things to Know Before You Go
- All theaters in the American Museum of Natural History, including the Hayden Planetarium, include wheelchair locations and companion seats.
- The museum has plenty of food and drink options, including the Museum Food Court, the Café on One, and the Café on Four.
- Although the planetarium is safe for kids of all ages, those under 5 may not understand some of the sophisticated commentary.
- Avoid waiting in long lines by purchasing tickets in advance.
- Dark Universe is not included in general admission tickets.
How to Get There
The planetarium is located in the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History at Central Park West and 79th Street in New York City. The easiest way to get there is by subway; the B and C lines stop at 81st Street.
When to Get There
The Hayden Planetarium is open from 10am to 5:45pm daily; shows run every half hour from 10:30am to 4:30pm.
More Sights to See at the Museum of Natural History
The Hayden Planetarium is part of the Museum of Natural History, a world-class museum where it’s easy to while away a few hours. Visitors can see one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils, stand beneath a 94-foot-long (28.6-meter-long) model of a blue whale in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, and see live butterflies in action inside the Butterfly Conservatory.