NYC - Museum of Natural History, a Castle and some Strawberry Fields

I've managed to keep my spending to a minimum throughout my trip and have been lucky enough to be able to take advantage of museum free day such as at the Californian Academy of Sciences. Today, I'm splurging a little with a ticket to New York's American Museum of Natural History and spending my day exploring the exhibits.
I always try to take full advantage of attractions I visit so I'm up super early and waiting outside the door before the museum even opens. There is a fair about of people outside with me but once inside I manage to get the museum pretty much entirely to myself as I head to upper levels first and work my way down. In some exhibits I seem to also have beaten the security guard so it's quite creepy being in the animal exhibits entirely alone.

Exhibits
There's plenty to see in the Museum of Natural History with exhibits on geology, biology and space sciences and plenty of historical features from origin of man to native American tribal history.

Many may recognise the museum as another movie location, namely A Night at the Museum. Apparently the first holiday season after the movie's release in the US showed a 20% increase in visitors to the American Museum of Natural History. Quite impressive how much sway a movie can have over our actions.  While I was visiting it seemed the majority of children seemed to only be interested in finding a stuffed capuchin monkey Dexter from the movie - who by the way is a real monkey named Crystal so isn't in the museum, sorry kids.

However, I was quite impressed with one kid I spotted...

Little girl versus the universe

After my museum outing my walk back to the hostel takes me through Central Park where today I have two new attractions to find. The first is Belvedere Castle which is a sort of "miniture castle" which was build in 1869. It gives a nice view point and is open to the public for a fee but it turned out quite difficult to find. Unless you're good at memorising the boards that are infrequently dotted around the park those that are keen to find specific pits of Central Park in a hurry might want to purchase a map from the visitor point in the park.

Belvedere Castle

After the Castle next stop is Strawberry Fields which, despite what the name suggests, contains no fruit but is instead a reference to The Beatles record Strawberry Fields Forever written by John Lennon. The main point of interest in this part of the park is the famous Lennon memorial, a simple black and white mosaic with the title of his legendary song Imagine in the centre. This is a very popular spot but people do seem to respect that this is a quiet spot and some even bring flowers to place on the memorial.

John Lennon Memorial 
With tomorrow my last full day in New York, those following along may have notice a glaring gap in my NYC tourist trail. It is, of course, the Empire State Building. I've hopefully left the best to last or perhaps just the most touristy but I look forward to my plans for my final day but not that it brings an end this year's travel adventures. 

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