Balboa Park is known as the cultural heart of San Diego for a reason. Here’s a look at more than a dozen museum experiences awaiting you during Museum Month. Make a day of it. Pack a picnic lunch or enjoy one of the many great eateries found throughout the park.
For the past 50 years, Comic-Con has been one of the biggest and most popular conventions of its kind in the world. Now the magic of Comic-Con is available for fans year round, not just for a few days each summer. In addition to the comics, film and science fiction/fantasy genres that started it all, the Museum also showcases TV shows, books, video games, anime, and so much more. During Museum Month, you can check out lots of fun new exhibits, such as POPnology, Comic-Con Museum’s latest interactive exhibit that demonstrates the connection between pop culture and real-world technology, and “Stan Lee Universe”, a first-ever exhibit to celebrate his 100 years of legacy.
Comic-Con Museum offers half-off admission on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays only during Museum Month. Discount is limited to 2 adults & 2 childrens tickets.
The Fleet Science Center has got you covered this month with their interactive exhibits that are sure to inspire curiosity and learning. Designed for all ages, these exhibits allow you to touch a tornado, play with a sand pendulum, and explore a variety of scientific phenomena through hands-on experiences. With new exhibits like Color in a New Light, Wild Creativity, and Deep Sky, and returning favorites like Kid City and Studio X, there’s always something exciting to discover at the Fleet.
Plus, your half-price Museum Month admission also includes a documentary film in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater, now with state-of-the-art seats for an even more extraordinary experience. Come and explore the wonders of science today!
Fleet Science Center
The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego, spotlights work by artists living between Los Angeles and Tijuana through exhibitions, programming, and educational initiatives. A range of art forms—from painting and photography to contemporary craft, social practice, site-specific installation, and experimental new media works—aim to ignite dialogue and spark creativity. (Note: ICA San Diego’s exhibitions are always free for everyone through the Museum’s Pay-As-You Wish initiative. Reserving your spot ahead of time s is highly recommended, but walk-ins are also welcome.)
ICA San Diego Central (Pinar Yoldas: Synaptic Sculpture opening February 24)
A perfect way to kick off your Museum Month adventure is at this picturesque spot in the heart of the park. An immersive experience of Japanese gardens and culture. The garden includes meticulous stone designs, calming koi ponds, delightful water features, traditional architectural structures, and breathtaking vistas.
Japanese Friendship Garden
On the western edge of the park is the beautiful Marston House, one of California’s finest examples of the Arts and Crafts movement. The property was designed and built by the internationally renowned architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill, and is surrounded by five acres of rolling lawns, manicured formal gardens, and rustic canyon gardens. If you have never ventured inside this striking 8,500-square-foot estate, Museum Month is a great time to do so. You can take part in docent-led House Tours on weekends, as well as special Third Sunday Walking Tours of the house and environs.
If you have not yet visited the Mingei following its dramatic three-year transformation, you are missing out. Be sure to check out the Museum’s two newest exhibitions, Over/Under:Woven Craft and La Fronteraat as well as the ARTIFACT at Mingei restaurant and CRAFT CAFÉ. (Note: The Museum’s Commons Level is free for all, always. The Gallery Level requires admission for those 18 years and older.)
Mingei International Museum
Visit MOPA to see three exciting photography exhibitions currently on view, including James Balog: Photographs from the Anthropocene, Morrie Camhi: The Jews of Greece, and the –Explorations: 17th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition. (Note: MOPA is a pay-what-you-wish/donation-based museum, making it more accessible to everyone.)
One of the true treasures to be found at the Museum is a pair of iconic goggles worn by Charles Lindbergh during his history-making solo transatlantic flight in 1927. The Museum also has the Apollo 9 Command Module “Gumdrop,” one of only 11 on display in the world and a true icon of NASA’s efforts to put men on the Moon.
Moon Base San Diego is Now Open at the San Diego Air & Space Museum! Step into a world of imagination and exploration and experience life on the moon. Venture into a lunar habitat, explore the moon’s surface, and even pilot a NASA lunar lander capsule! Moon Base San Diego promises an out-of-this-world adventure for all ages.
Here’s something fun! Rumor has it that the Smithsonian wants it, but the San Diego Automotive Museum has it: Louie Mattar’s Fabulous $75,000 car, which holds the world’s endurance non-stop record (with a 6,320-mile round trip across the U.S. in 1952). The Museum also has three more than three dozen motorcycles including Harley-Davidsons and Indians. Plus you’ll want to see Bootleggers: A Trip Down the Whiskey Road, which explores the relationship between moonshine running and the origins of NASCAR This is a must-see for car fans! (Note: Children must be accompanied by an adult at the Museum.)
February is Black History Month and a fitting time to explore a special exhibition recognizing African-Americans at the San Diego History Center: Nathan Harrison: Born Enslaved, Died a San Diego Legend, and Celebrate San Diego: Black History and Heritage. During February, you can also see the online exhibit San Diego’s New Deal Renaissance: An Artist’s Experience. (Note: Give Forward is the Museum’s donation-based admission policy. A minimum $10 donation is suggested.)
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is North America’s largest model railroad museum, with over 27,000 square feet of trains, trestles, and track in the heart of Balboa Park. There are exhibits depicting railroads of the Southwest in O, HO, and N scales, and an enchanting Toy Train Gallery. The main attraction at this popular Balboa Park destination this month is an all-new exhibit, Out Tales of Thomas, Everyone’s Favorite Toy Train. This exhibit looks at the history of Thomas the Tank Engine, from how Wilbert Awdry came up with the story, to the creation of the beloved television series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
San Diego Automotive Museum
Be part of the BIGGEST YEAR in history of the Nat as they celebrate 150 years. Explore the natural history of Southern California and Baja California at the San Diego Natural History Museum, located in the heart of Balboa Park. From rattlesnakes and flesh-eating beetles to dinosaurs and fossils, this museum offers something for every nature enthusiast. Take a stroll through the historic archives and art on display, and discover the wonders of nature at the Nat!
Only printed Museum Month passes (no digital passes) will be accepted at the door for half-price Museum Month admission. Pick up a printed museum pass at one of more than 80 city and county libraries. You may also purchase a half-price Museum Month pass online with code: MuseumMonth 24 at www.sdnhm.org/visit/. (Note: The coupon cannot be used for specially ticketed events, Nat at Night, special exhibitions/exhibits, field trips or group visits.)
San Diego Natural History Museum
No museum day in Balboa Park is complete without a stop at The San Diego Museum of Art, which has two new exhibitions to experience during Museum Month: Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images and Berenice Abbott: Changing New York. (Note: Admission is always free for guests 17 and under.)
The San Diego Museum of Art Museum Month half-off museum admission is with Printed Pass only. No Museum Month Digital Passes will be accepted at the door.
Discover fine art in the “jewel box” of Balboa Park. The Timken Museum of Art is home to the Putnam Foundation’s globally-important collection of European old masters, 19th century American art and Russian icons.
Current exhibits at the Tinken include François Boucher’s Lovers in a Park and Kehinde Wiley, Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso of Savoy-Carignan. The always free museum is open daily Wednesday through Sunday.
Timken Museum of Art
San Diego’s Centro Cultural de la Raza was founded in 1970 as a Chicano Community Cultural Center and functions as an alternative space that encourages and facilitates artistic growth and cultural interchange in the San Diego/Tijuana region. The Centro provides classes and features a dynamic interdisciplinary schedule of events which includes exhibits, musical performances, installation art, readings, receptions, Azteca dance, Teatro Chican@, Ballet Folklorico, film screenings and other events.
Centro Cultural de la Raza
WorldBeat is dedicated to promoting, presenting, and preserving the African diaspora & indigenous cultures of the world through music, art, dance, education, sustainability, and technology.
Located in beautiful Balboa Park, the WorldBeat Cultural Center promotes peace within the community by providing ongoing programs and services that nurture the spirit of children, the elderly, and everyone in between. The Center’s main goal is to create unity within diversity.
WorldBeat Cultural Center
Museum Month admission does not include California Tower tours or the Membership On Us enrollment (which comes with a typical full price one day admission ticket).