Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does general admission include?

A: General Admission is what allows you on the grounds. Along with this you also can go into the Museum exhibits wings attached to the Mansion, including the Habitat and Stoll Wing wild-animal dioramas, as well as the Marine Museum. This does not include a planetarium show or a mansion tour.

Q: Can I pay just for a Planetarium show or Mansion tour?

A: Only at night when the grounds are closed. During the day, the price of general admission is built into the price for a Planetarium show or a Mansion tour. Our nighttime prices are different than the daytime.

Q: Can I make a reservation for a Planetarium show?

A: Daytime Planetarium show tickets are available at the lobby desk on a first-come first-served basis, so we recommend that you arrive as early as possible – especially during the winter and spring school breaks and during the summer. Tickets for evening shows, however, may be purchased here.

Q: How long are Planetarium shows?

A: The running time for shows varies. On the average, shows run about 45 minutes. However, One World, One Sky, is approximately 30 minutes, and Long Island Skies about 60 minutes.

Q: Is there any way I can preview a Planetarium show before coming in?

A: Yes, you can preview some of the shows on our website here, where you also can check out the show schedule.

Q: Are all the Planetarium shows the same?

A: Different shows are offered every hour. Shows also change by season.

Q: Are evening Planetarium shows prices the same as daytime shows?

A: No. At night, you are not required to pay for general admission, as the Museum and Estate grounds are closed. Evening Planetarium show tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (62 and older) and students with ID, and $8 for children. Children under 2 are free.

Q: What is a Mansion tour?

A: It’s a guided tour that takes you through the living quarters of the Mansion, which you cannot see without a tour. Guides provide historical information about the house, the Vanderbilt family and its famous guests. On a tour you will see Mr. Vanderbilt’s considerable collection of fine and decorative art, and antique furnishings, purchased during his travels around the world.

Q: Can I make a reservation for a Mansion tour?

A: Tours are available on a first-come first-served basis, therefore we recommend that you arrive as early as possible to be included in a tour since they do sell out quickly.

Q: Can I go through the house by myself?

A: Self-guided tours are not allowed, because the Vanderbilt Mansion is a “living” museum of one prominent family’s life in their grand house, with fragile and priceless artifacts displayed in the open – as if the family still lives there – and not in exhibition cases.

Q: How many people can be on the Mansion tour?

A: The maximum number of people per Mansion tour is 20. Guided tours with small numbers of guests are one way the Museum ensures the safety of artifacts and furnishings and makes sure you have a positive, enjoyable experience.

Q: How long are the Mansion tours?

A: The average tour lasts about 45 minutes. However, depending on the discussions that take place, a tour can take up to an hour.

Q: Can children take a Mansion tour?

A: Based upon our experience, we recommend tours for children 8 and older.

Q: Is photography allowed?

A: Indoor photography is prohibited in the Mansion and in all exhibit galleries. Outdoor photography is, however, permitted.

Q: When is the Observatory open?

A: It’s open year-round on Friday nights, depending on cloud cover and weather conditions. In inclement weather, however, the observatory is closed.

Q: Are the grounds and mansion handicapped-accessible?

A: We are able to provide transportation from building to building. The only parts of the Museum that are handicapped-accessible are the first floor of the Memorial Wing (natural-history and cultural artifact galleries) and the mummy room on the first floor of the Nursery Wing. A videotape of the Mansion tour is available on request for anyone who cannot access the house.

Q: Is there food or coffee on the property?

A: Not yet. But plans are underway to create a café in the Planetarium lobby.

Q: What discounts are available?

A: See “Benefits” details below next question.

Q: What are the benefits of becoming a member and where can I apply?

A: Annual membership offers many benefits, and you can apply online (vanderbiltmuseum.org) or at the Admission desk in the Planetarium lobby

Benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Unlimited access to the Museum grounds
  • Unlimited Planetarium shows
  • Unlimited Mansion tours
  • Discounts on all special events throughout the year
  • A 10% discount in our Gift Shop

At the Associate Member level and higher, you get general membership benefits for two adults and four children under the age of 18, plus free admission to the Vanderbilt, and North American Reciprocal Museum privileges: free admission and discounts at more than 800 participating museums worldwide.

Q: Is there a discount for military service members?

A: The Blue Star program gives year-round free admission to active military service members (with ID) and up to five family members, and includes a guided Mansion tour. (Planetarium show tickets are extra.)

Q: Are group rates available?

A: We do have group rates. If you would like to organize a group tour, please call our event coordinator, in advance: Carol Sperandeo at 631-854-5568, or e-mail her: carol@vanderbiltmuseum.org

Q: Who can I talk to about parties, weddings, and use of the grounds?

A: Call event coordinator Carol Sperandeo at 631-854-5568 to make an appointment to view the site, or e-mail her: carol@vanderbiltmuseum.org

Can I bring my dog to the Vanderbilt?

Yes. You can reserve a time slot and leave your dog in our DogSpot, next to the Gate House at the Vanderbilt entrance. (Only service dogs are allowed on the grounds.) DogSpot is a state-of-the-art dog house that offers your dog a clean, secure, monitored and air-conditioned place to wait while you explore the Vanderbilt. The fee: $5 every 30 minutes (no membership fee). Before you visit, you can make a DogSpot reservation at www.dogparker.com/vanderbilt

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