UPPER WEST SIDE — Autumn is a great time to museum hop: the crowds of summer tourists have somewhat diminished, cooler temperatures make indoor time more appealing, and it's a great way to entertain out-of-town guests here for Thanksgiving.
We rounded up five major exhibits running this fall at local institutions.
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West and West 79th Street
This exhibit traces the evolution and behavior of crocodiles, reptiles that have been around for 200 million years. But crocs are fascinating not just because of their size and appearance, the exhibit shows. They have lengthy courtship rituals and communicate through body language, grunts, hisses and bellows. The exhibit also features live crocodiles, including an African dwarf crocs, Siamese crocs and American alligator hatchlings.
"Crocs" runs through Jan. 2, 2017.
On the heels of the historic memorandum of understanding signed by the U.S. and Cuba this summer, the museum is diving into the biological and cultural diversity of the island nation in a new exhibit opening Nov. 21. Live animals, including boas and lizards, and an exploration of biodiversity and habitats will be paired with a look at Cuban arts — including a faux boulevard devoted to music and nightlife.
"¡Cuba!" runs through Aug. 2017.
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World
In an exhibit the museum is calling "path-breaking," historical documents and artifacts will tell the story of the first Jews to come to Colonial America. The exhibition also traces the contributions of Jewish artists, writers and activists to 18th and 19th century American society.
The exhibit opens October 28 and runs through Feb. 26, 2017.
Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972
Everyone from Baby Boomers to Millennials will be fascinated with this exhibit that delves into the way presidential campaigns marketed themselves to voters during the Vietnam Era. Objects from paper dresses, cigarettes, lighters, cologne and cans of juice carried campaign slogans and images during the '60s, but as the decade wore on, there was less emphasis on using the objects to persuade voters.
The exhibit is open now and runs through Nov. 27.
Children's Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd St.
America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far
In this exhibit geared toward kids aged 2 to 10, children can explore a mosque in 3D, decorate a Pakistani truck, explore ancient trade routes on a camel or a two-story Indian Ocean boat, and pretend to sell crafts and food at an open-air market. The exhibit also features art from emerging Muslim artists and stories told by American Muslim families.
The exhibit is open now and runs through Jan. 31, 2017.