Animal Crossing: New Horizons — How to unlock multiplayer, the museum, shops, and island trips

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Bamboo
Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Bamboo (Image credit: iMore)

There's never a shortage of stuff to do or places to visit in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but some of those fun features aren't immediately accessible. Animal Crossing requires players to wait entire days for things to be built, and this can put a damper on the gameplay flow. Unless you use some time skip tricks, you're stuck waiting it out.

In order to unlock several crucial buildings like the museum and shop, you'll need to talk to Tom Nook and the twins after gathering the appropriate supplies. As for the island airport, this usually opens up after completing the tutorial around the second day or so. This will let you visit other islands and play with your friends.

How to unlock multiplayer

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Trips

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Trips (Image credit: iMore)

There are two types of multiplayer in New Horizons: local and online. In order to play online, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online membership. Local multiplayer does not require a subscription, but you need to be on the same internet connection as the person you want to connect with. Both options open up on day two once Dodo Airlines arrives at the airport.

If you're curious as to how to get it all set up, we've got the perfect guide for you.

How to unlock the museum

Animal Crossing New Horizons Museum Fish

Animal Crossing New Horizons Museum Fish (Image credit: iMore)

The museum in Animal Crossing is run by Blathers, and he'll only come to your island if you make it worth his while. After you've received or purchased a fishing pole and bug catching net, give Tom Nook five different critters in the Resident Services tent. This will cause Blathers to take note and move in once you find a spot for his temporary tent. You'll need to wait overnight until Blathers shows up, so don't worry that he doesn't appear right away.

Once Blathers is all set up in his tent, you'll need to donate another 15 different critters or fossils to him to warrant the opening of the actual museum (he also helps you get a shovel so you can go digging for fossils). After doing so, construction will be underway and you'll need to wait another day for the museum to be built.

How to unlock shops

Animal Crossing New Horizons Nooks Cranny Outside

Animal Crossing New Horizons Nooks Cranny Outside (Image credit: iMore)

The first shop you can build on your island is Nook's Cranny, run my Timmy and Tommy. To get this place up and running, you'll need to pay off some debts first. Tom Nook asks for 5,000 Nook Miles (or 49.800 bells, but the former is way easier to collect) to cover the cost of the initial island getaway package, and then you'll need to talk to him about upgrading from a tent to a house — and taking out a sizable loan to do so.

After your home is built — again, this happens overnight — you'll need to go to Resident Services and speak with Timmy. He'll ask for 30 pieces each of the following items: Wood, Softwood, Hardwood, and Iron Nuggets (which are easier to get than you'd think). Give him the proper resources and find a plot of land for the shop and Nook's Cranny will open up in about a day.

Other animal vendors will occasionally visit the island and after buying enough merchandise from them, like Mabel with clothing, or opening up other shops, they'll express interest in setting up a shop of their own.

How to unlock island trips

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Peaches

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Peaches (Image credit: iMore)

You can only go off on Mystery Island Tours after you pay back Tom Nook's 5,000 Nook Miles for your getaway package. At this point you can go to Resident Services and redeem any leftover Nook Miles for a Nook Miles Ticket, which costs 2,000 Nook Miles. This can then be taken to the airport where you can tell Orville the dodo you'd like to fly using your Nook Miles Ticket. This takes you to a randomly generated island that could spawn critters, fruit, and plants if you're lucky.

The trips aren't permanent and you'll eventually need to go back to your own island, but there's no limit to how many Nook Miles Tickets you can buy so long as you have enough money to redeem. You also can't revisit any specific island, so don't leave anything behind you can't live without.

Any questions?

Anything else you want to learn about Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Sound off in the comments below.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and bought a Nintendo Switch specifically for all things Pokemon. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.