California Travel Articles
The San Diego Natural History Museum by Stephanie Foster
The San Diego Natural History Museum has an impressive range in its collection. As of this writing, there's the fossil section, a section on the big fire in San Diego in 2003, rocks and minerals and a variety of educational programs.
We watched a movie in their movie theater. The current one is on Vikings, but of course the selection changes regularly, so don't count on this being current information for long. The theater is large and comfortable - almost stadium seating with how the seats are tiered, but the chairs are not so high backed as in other movie theaters. The entire family enjoyed the movie.
The second floor is where the fossils are, and this was the area we spent the most time on. There's a cave for the kids to play in, and it was hard to get my daughter to leave that area.
The kids will also enjoy joining magnetic parts to make various animals. Depending on age, it can be a bit tricky for them to figure out which part goes where, but since there are only about 5 or 6 parts per animal, it's not too tough.
My kids weren't all that impressed by the microscopic fossils that could be examined. A quick look, then they were bored. I found those quite interesting, however, and older children may as well.
If you think back to October 2003 and the gigantic fire we had here in San Diego, you'll find the section on that fire quite interesting. Brings back a lot of memories, even though my home was not threatened at that time.
In the basement level there is currently an exhibit called "Dinosaurs: Reel and Robotic". The kids loved this part. No pictures are allowed, so I can't share anything like that with you. It's a great exhibit, though. The basement exhibit changes at least once or twice a year. Last year it was robotic bugs. However, the times I have been there it has always been something really interesting for the kids.
The outside of the building is quite interesting. They've made changes to the building through the years, so one side is very old fashioned with lots of accents while the other side is quite modern. The building is just huge, but quite a bit of it is not open to the public.
The museum is free for San Diego city and county residents and active duty military the first Tuesday of each month. ID is required. If there are exhibits that require separate admission, those will still require admission.
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