1 Here I am about to enter the American Museum of Natural History for the Museum Gala, a much-anticipated highlight of the fall season.
2 The Museum of Natural History is such a popular destination that it even has its own subway station!
3 The Museum Gala is the Museum's largest annual benefit, with proceeds used to support the Museum's education and scientific programming.
4 Here I am in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, known to most visitors as the Museum's grand entrance. On display here is the iconic dinosaur exhibit, featuring the Barosaurus skeleton, the tallest freestanding dinosaur mount in the world.
5 I met up with Kyle Maclachlan, a Golden Globe Award-winning and two-time Emmy Award-nominated actor.
6 These ladies looked splendid in their black evening gowns.
7 I also ran into Edward Norton - Academy Award nominated actor, who is also a screenwriter, film director and producer.
8 Standing before The Spectrum of Life - A 100-foot-long installation, it's an evolutionary journey through the awe-inspiring diversity of life on Earth. From microorganisms to terrestrial and aquatic giants, 1,500 specimens represent a wide range of bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals.
9 Amphibians - The 4,000 or so species of the amphibians include salamanders, frogs, toads, and caecilians. They occupy a variety of freshwater and terrestrial habitats. Frogs are by far the largest group, and most are found in tropical rain forest.
10 Crustaceans form a major and very diverse group within the arthropod phylum. The diverse crustaceans are the dominant ocean-dwelling arthropods; the most familiar ones are crabs, shrimp, and lobsters.
11 There are nearly 5000 species of mammals, and they have evolved into a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Bats have taken to the air and developed remarkable capabilities for echolocation. And dolphins and whales have become permanent inhabitants of the world's oceans.
12 A handsome snowy owl taxidermy
13 If you're hungry for a snack, there's a soft pretzel vendor.
14 I indulged!
15 The world's biggest clam is the Tridacna gigas of the southwest Pacific. This is the largest one on record, here in the Biodiversity Hall, measuring in at almost 55-inches!
16 Many people are tempted!
17 Here I am in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, posing beneath the museum's treasured blue whale. At 94 feet long, this is actually a fiberglass replica of a female blue whale.
18 The blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived. An adult can grow nearly as long as three school buses and weigh over 400,000 pounds - more than 24 African elephants!
19 Being big has its advantages. Large whales are safe from most predators and their massive bodies retain heat well - a bonus when in chilly ocean waters. But enormous creatures also have to eat enormous quantities. Amazingly, the blue whale maintains its bulk on a diet of mostly shrimp-like krill.
20 There were more than 500 guests in attendance.
21 We were surrounded by some of the museum's fabulous dioramas. This one depicts Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota.
22 The walrus diorama - The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is known for its ivory tusks. By hooking these tusks into ice floes, walruses haul themselves out of the water. These teeth are also displayed to intimidate and used to joust for territory.
23 Elephant seal diorama
24 This diorama depicts harbor seals near Montauk Point, Long Island in winter.
25 This diorama shows a Sea Lion rookery on the Pribilof Islands off of Alaska in the Bering Sea.
26 This diorama is called "Diving Birds: Feasting on Newfoundland's Grand Banks." It depicts loons, penguins, and puffins.
27 Seth Meyers, Alexi Meyers, and Marshall Heyman - Columnist, Wall Street Journal
28 With Host of the evening Tina Fey, Sherri Westin, and Ellen Futter - President of the American Museum of Natural HIstory
29 His Honor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg - He's always an inspiring speaker.
30 Mario Batali created the dinner menu.
31 A bejeweled Peggy Siegal - publicist, saying hello to fellow patrons