Mystery at the Museum: Experience the American Museum of Natural History in a Brand-new Way
If your family is anything like mine, you and your kids spend so much time at the American Museum of Natural History, you probably feel like you live there. But if you think you've seen and done everything the museum has to offer, guess again. Mystery at the Museum is a brand new-way to explore AMNH.
Equal parts interactive mystery and live environmental theater, Mystery was developed by the same team behind Accomplice, that cool, adults-only walking tour of lower Manhattan. Mystery, however, is great for tweens and up, and takes patrons on an exciting scavenger hunt that renews your appreciation for this awesome institution.
We took this magical Mystery tour right before it went on summer hiatus, but now it's back at the museum. It's a fun brainteaser and total hoot, but I don't want to reveal too much—it would kind of ruin the point. But I can share a few details that will make you eager to solve this Mystery.
Mystery at the Museum actually starts the day before you visit AMNH, when you get a phone call from your enigmatic guide, who arranges your covert meeting. Once at the museum, your guide explains your special assignment, which involves visiting many iconic exhibits looking for clues and interacting with various characters to help solve a series of puzzles.
My team was made up of adults, and some of the riddles stumped us at first. They forced us to slow down and think, and to look at the museum in a different way. I suspect tweens and teens may figure out the answers more quickly than we did, and they should really get into the fun storyline.
Mystery isn't for the introverted. You need to chat with various performers along the way and in some instances, you need to figure out who they are! At one point, we approached several very confused museum visitors with our secret password before we found who we were looking for. Honestly though, we were having so much fun that we didn't mind people staring at us like we were little crazy.
My favorite part of my Mystery experience was being able to check out behind-the-scenes AMNH spots. Nothing top secret like where the fossils are kept, but we definitely hit a few rooms that aren't usually open to the public.
Mystery at the Museum takes about 90 minutes to complete, and is best suited for families with children ages 10 and up. Since it must be done in groups of four to 10 people, it's a great activity for birthdays or family gatherings. (If it's just you and the kid, you can still do it; you'll just be partnered with strangers.) I plan on bringing my out-of-town guests over the holidays. Granted, at $40 per person, it's not a cheap outing, but it is a unique experience that you'll never forget.
Mystery at the Museum takes place at the American Museum of Natural History on Saturdays and Sundays through December 31. $40 per person.