With four levels of exhibitions to explore, the Natural History Museum is a family favorite. My kids love looking at all the gemstones, fossils and interesting species on view at the museum. There is so much to learn about nature, paleontology and science at this museum.
The new 33-foot mural in the atrium is a showstopper and caught my kids attention immediately. When we were there Eva Struble was up on the scaffolding just getting started, but now the piece is complete and it is beautiful! Also on Level 1 just off the Atrium is the Living Lab, an exhibit we never miss. My kids enjoy observing a variety of creatures from a Gila monster and rattlesnakes to arachnids and frogs.
In the Unshelved: Cool Stuff from the Collection exhibition you get to experience some of the millions of specimens in its collection. My daughter loves seeing the butterflies, gemstones, shells and birds and she finds the preserved animals in jars fascinating.
We also enjoy the Coast to Cactus exhibit that features an airstream you can climb inside and pretend to be a natural scientist. There are lots of interactive exhibits in this section that makes it especially fun for kids.
You can’t visit the NAT without spending time learning about dinosaurs. They have a good collection in the Fossil Mysteries section where you can touch real fossils millions of years old. My kids loved the mammoth and mastodon fossils. The museum also offers great resources for educators about geology and paleontology here.
Lastly don’t miss the exhibits on the top floor of the museum including Caught on Camera and Expedition Baja. We were surprised to see the interesting animals such as coyotes photographed at night using camera traps, it made us wonder what animals are lurking in our backyard.
Here are some visitor tips to help you prepare for your museum adventure:
- The Museum offers free visitor parking located throughout Balboa Park and along Park Boulevard. Find parking information here. The museum is open daily for 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
- Enjoy your visit the NAT and consider having a picnic outside the museum under the massive Moreton Bay Fig Tree!
- There’s always something new to discover at The Nat, from family activities to evening events to new films and exhibitions. You can explore The Nat’s calendar of events here.
- There are plenty of restaurants nearby the museum for lunch or dinner