Once the home of explorer, sailor, and heir to the vast Vanderbilt fortune William K. Vanderbilt II, the Vanderbilt Museum today is a well-curated educational space, with a vast collection of art, antiques, and scientific relics. Highlights include Galápagos Islands specimens, habitat dioramas, and the world's biggest taxidermied fish.
A perfect stop for science enthusiasts—and history fans that want to visit the home of one of America's wealthiest heirs—the Vanderbilt Museum is an ideal day-trip destination from New York City. Most visitors purchase general admission tickets to explore the grounds and museum, or get a combined admission to the museum, mansion, and planetarium. Plan to drive from Manhattan and combine a visit with a trip to Long Island's East End, a coveted vacation destination.
Things to Know Before You Go
Bring the kids, since the Vanderbilt Museum is a family-friendly destination.
Learn more about William K. Vanderbilt II on a guided tour of the mansion; tours are offered daily, at regular intervals, and cost extra.
Nature lovers shouldn't miss the Hall of Fishes and Stoll Wing, featuring wild-animal dioramas.
History and anthropology enthusiasts appreciate the Memorial Wing galleries, showcasing diverse ethnographic relics.
Be sure to explore the grounds, which have fantastic views of the Long Island Sound.
How to Get There
The most convenient way to reach the Vanderbilt Museum is by car. You can find the museum via exit 51 on the Long Island Expressway, exit 42N on the Northern State Parkway, or exit 39N on the Southern State Parkway. The museum is located off of Route 25A, on Little Neck Road.
When to Get There
The Vanderbilt Museum holds seasonal hours, and is closed on major holidays. In winter, the museum is open from midday to afternoon on Sunday, Tuesday, and Saturday. In fall, the museum is open from midday to late afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday. In summer, the museum is open daily from late morning to late afternoon, with shorter hours on Sunday. Expect more crowds over the weekend and during the warmer summer months.
Viewing Stars at the Planetarium
Make the most of your time at the Vanderbilt Museum with a visit to the on-site planetarium. Though entry is not included with museum admission, the planetarium is well worth the price, with its films, laser shows, and live talks. Don't miss a video show at the dome theater, or stop by on Friday night to visit the rooftop observatory, where you can check out the night sky through a reflecting telescope.