Te Papa's nature zone, home of the colossal squid and the Edgecumbe earthquake house, is closing so a new $11 million dollar exhibition can open in its place.
The area will close in Easter, and open again in 2019.
The museum was quick to point out the fresh exhibition would still have the squid, and a new earthquake house would be built.
Te Papa head of science Dr Dean Peterson said it was time to create bold new exhibitions.
"It's going to be a huge space, with lots of chances to see some of the rarest specimens from the collection, like real huia feathers, a mummified moa foot, beaked whale skulls and fragile plants collected on Captain Cook's first voyage to New Zealand," he said.
"We're exploring so many great ideas to show the wonders of our environment - perhaps you could dance like an albatross, smell a kākāpō, or test your intelligence against a kea."
Research about nature and the human impact on the environment had changed substantially since Te Papa opened in 1998, Dr Petersen said.
Te Papa was developing the new exhibitions with the science community, iwi, environmental organisations, community groups, universities, Crown Research Institutes, and Māori scholars.