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Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

© Susan Williams

The San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is home of the San Diego Society of Natural History, an active research institution which is, in fact, the oldest scientific institution in southern California and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. Since its inception in 1874, society members have been engaged in a wide range of activities from establishing a weather station, supporting the creation of Torrey Pines State Reserve, and working for the founding of the new San Diego Zoological Society.

Even in this age of high-technology, the mystery of the natural world is a powerful draw, and this museum is one of the finest. The museum hosts exhibits that focus on geology, plants, and animals of the Southwest region and farther, as well as exhibits of a general nature on any aspect of the natural world. The museum excels at presenting exhibits that come to life through interactive, creative tools. Such examples include the following. Through September 6th, they are featuring DINOSAURS: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries, and they just opened their own exhibition on gems and minerals: All That Glitters: The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals. It will be featured through May 2012.

The museum also features the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater, a 300-seat, giant-screen theater which shows a wide range of films that augment its exhibits.

Attraction Information

  • Hours:
  • 10am to 5pm daily
  • Closed Monday
  • Admission:
  • Adult: $17
  • Senior (62+): $15
  • Active military, youth (13–17), students (with ID): $12
  • Child (3–12): $11
  • Child 2 and under: Free
  • Members: Free
  • Contact:
  • They are now featuring 3D films in their giant-screen theater which are included in the general admission, no up-charge.
  • Address: 1788 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
  • Phone: 619-232-3821
  • Website:
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