The new year is a time for reflection on the past as well as a time to look to the future – to the coming year and beyond. For a fresh idea, we’re planning our next trip to reflect on the history of our planet. We cannot think of a better way than to marvel at the beauty and inspiration the natural world provides. We will be chasing down the best natural history museums in some of the greatest cities on the planet, and we invite you to join us!
One of the most rewarding vacation experiences is to chase a hobby or dream. Whether you’re seriously into snorkeling, Disney Parks, or wine tasting, we always invite travelers to think of what brings them the most joy and then follow it all over the world! Below we’ll travel across the globe to explore some of the world’s best natural history museums. We’re off!
Natural History Museum – London, England
London is an obvious place to start when considering the natural history of the world. The United Kingdom has long been a collector of samples from around the planet for you to experience for yourself. David Attenborough has long been fascinating us all with new and exciting wonders, who wouldn’t want to visit his home museum.
The museum’s collection holds 80 million items, meaning there is truly something for everyone.
Whether you are there for Hope, the 4.5 ton blue whale skeleton hanging above the main hall, or you are more entranced by the Ostro stone, a 9,381 karat blue topaz, there is something for you. Did we mention Charles Darwin’s entire collection is housed here as well?
If you want to visit the museum most likely to be considered the home of natural history as we know it, you won’t miss the Natural History Museum of London.
With more than 170 museums in London waiting for you, the most of any of our highlighted cities, you are hard pressed to get bored in your hunt for knowledge here.
The National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian – Washington D.C.
A bit closer to home but arguably equally impressive is America’s own gem of a museum, the Smithsonian. The National Museum of Natural History also happens to be the 11th most visited museum on Earth.
The collection here also is far from modest. At 145 million specimens, it is nearly twice the scale of the National History Museum of London and in fact the largest collection in the world. With seven million fish, half a million reptiles, and over two million cultural artifacts, there is no shortage of new sights to see.
The 45 carat Hope diamond is housed here, a live butterfly pavilion gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with our flying friends, and even a collection zone with thousands of specimens you can actually touch and handle to get a real hands-on experience of history and the world around us. This makes the National Museum a perfect destination for the little ones in your family.
There are about 70 museums in Washington D.C., including many national historical sites. Couple a trip here with a few days of American history to make a great research and learning trip for all ages.
Naturhistorisches Museum Wien – Vienna, Austria
While far smaller than the first two museums, the Natural History Museum Vienna is a personal favorite.
This smaller museum with about 100,000 specimens on display at any given time is still one of the largest museums in Austria, and what it lacks in enormity it makes up for in charm and character. The painted ceiling above the grand staircase will have you staring for hours.
For those of you interested in anthropology and early man, Vienna will most certainly need to be a stop on your world museum tour. Housed here is the most iconic fertility symbol, and perhaps the most iconic image of the arts of early humankind, the Venus of Willendorf.
A trip through the exquisite mineral gallery and past the vast collection of meteorites will have you feeling as if you are in a scene from “The Journey to the Center of the Earth”.
With over 100 museums in Vienna, you won’t have to come simply for the one. Take your time and explore the many sights of the city on your educational trip.
The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle – Paris, France
Started in 1635 as the Royal garden of plants, and formally founded after the French Revolution in 1793, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris is made up of five galleries on beautiful royal grounds along the river Seine.
One aspect other than the exquisite natural surroundings that sets this museum apart from the others is the original medicinal plant garden and zoo which are a major part of the attraction here. The menagerie du jardin des plantes as it is called in French happens to be the second oldest public zoo in the world due to its royal beginnings. The five gallery buildings are spread out within the grounds of the botanical garden and zoo.
It can be quite rewarding to spend a morning among the animals and inhabitants of the zoo, followed by an afternoon learning about their ancestors, their history, and even their anatomy in the Grand Gallery of Evolution.
If you are more drawn by the plant life, botany is well represented as well. The Gallery of Botany, built in the 1930s is home to 7.5 million plants and samples for you to explore in an exquisite Rockefeller funded building.
While in Paris, there are about 130 other museums within the city limits for you to experience, so you will have plenty to do here on your journey of learning and exploring.
Ready to take a tour of some of the world’s best museums?
Pack your most comfortable shoes and take off on a vacation to see some of the world’s most impressive natural history museums. Whether you’re staying in the US or venturing into Europe, a museum tour vacation can be a great way to kickstart the trip of a lifetime. Get in touch with us and let’s get planning!