The Secret World of Elephants

Opened November 13, 2023

Now Open

Additional ticket required. Free for Members.
Floor 4, LeFrak Family Gallery

Six Museum visitors sit on benches next to the life-size African elephant model and view a projection of the elephant's skeleton on the model.
Alvaro Keding/© AMNH
How do elephants “hear” with their feet? 

Use the 40,000 muscles in their trunks? Or reshape the forests and savannas they live in, creating an environment upon which many other species rely?

The Secret World of Elephants reveals new science about both ancient and modern elephants, including elephants’ extraordinary minds and senses, why they’re essential to the health of their ecosystems, and inspiring efforts to overcome threats to their survival.

Members See it Free

Members can see The Secret World of Elephants free on every visit! 

Join Today »
Child views signs mounted on railings in front of a life-sized African elephant model. Alvaro Keding/© AMNH

Reserve Museum Tickets »
Select the number of tickets, and date/time for Museum entry, and you will be then able to add The Secret World of Elephants, and/or additional ticketed exhibitions during checkout.

What You’ll See in The Secret World of Elephants

Adult and child Museum visitors use and interactive display mounted on the railing that surrounds a life-sized wooly mammoth model. An interactive mammoth tusk model demonstrates how scientists use isotope “fingerprints” to reveal how mammoths traveled across what is now Alaska about 17,000 years ago.
Alvaro Keding/© AMNH
Three children play with elephant magnets on a large, vertical magnetic surface depicting an elephant habitat and elephants in the distance. Visitors can create their own elephant herd with a selection of large magnets representing the matriarch—the leader—as well as other female adults and calves.
Alvaro Keding/© AMNH

Elephant Evolution

Once, animals with tusks and trunks lived on almost every continent and many islands. Today only three elephant species survive.

Explore the group to which elephants belong—the proboscideans, from the world “proboscis,” meaning trunk—and encounter a life-size model of one of the giants of the Ice Age: a woolly mammoth, depicted in the process of shedding its winter coat.

Bodies and Minds

Discover the latest science about modern elephants’ anatomy and behavior—from trunks strong enough to pull down a tree yet nimble enough to pluck a blade of grass to their amazing vocalization behaviors, problem-solving, and more.

See a full-scale model of an African elephant, enhanced with a projection offering an inside look at how this massive mammal processes between 300 and 500 pounds of food a day, and experience interactive exhibits that illustrate how elephants use very low sound waves to send messages through the ground—to other elephants’ feet.

Elephants and Us

For thousands of years, elephants and humans have lived together—often uneasily, sometimes competing for the same resources. Elephants remain powerful religious and political symbols across cultures.

Explore humans’ life with elephants, including conflict and conservation, through exhibits that examine the impact of killing elephants for ivory, how climate change is affecting elephants, and ways that humans and elephants can share the planet.