San Diego Natural History Museum

The San Diego Natural History Museum is an impressive and popular destination in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The museum was established in 1874 and is the third oldest scientific institution west of the Mississippi River. It is the oldest such museum in Southern California and has earned a reputation as one of the most thorough and comprehensive history museums around. SDNHM features a range of exhibits and displays. Some of the most popular of these are in the field of paleontology and the museum’s collection of full-sized dinosaur reconstructions and other fossils have caused the museum to often be dubbed the San Diego Dinosaur Museum.

When you visit the Balboa Park Natural History Museum you enter into a realm of past lives and mysteries as well as great insights and revelations. Exhibits such as the Darwin: Evolution Revolution represent remarkable feats in curating offering guests an intimate look at the important scientist’s letters, notebooks, artwork, and personal belongings.

One of the most popular San Diego Natural History Museum exhibits is the Fossil Mysteries Display. This compelling exhibit displays and explains fossils from dinosaurs to mastodons. This display covers the span of 75 million years from the dinosaurs to the Ice Ages and beyond. Both children and adults alike are sure to be taken aback at SDNHM by the megalodon, albertosaurus, and mastodon on display in this section of the museum.

But the San Diego Natural History Museum features more than just tons of remains, fossils, and reconstructions of dinosaurs and other such pre-human species. SDNHM also offers compelling and diverse exhibits such as Aerial Portraits of the American West, a collection of photographs by John Shelton. This is quite a different experience than the one you will enjoy checking out the dinosaurs, but an interesting one nonetheless. These valuable photographs of some of the most beautiful land in the American West were taken at a time when air quality was such that many of them are now irreplaceable.

The Baja California display is another one of the most popular permanent exhibits at the Balboa Park Natural History Museum. It represents a collection of fabulous imagery from National Geographic photographer and expedition leader Ralph Lee Hopkins. The breathtaking images of this 800-mile long stretch include spectacular shots of plants and animals, awe-inspiring images of the Sonoran Desert, the Gulf of California, and the Pacific Ocean. All of the artwork in the Ordover Gallery where this collection is housed is for sale and all proceeds benefit the SDNHM.

A trip to the San Diego Natural History Museum is an ideal trip for families or groups of friends. It is also a great destination for students and large groups who can take advantage of discounted tickets. Even if you are planning to head to the Balboa Park Natural History Museum solo, you can expect to pay a reasonable entrance fee, which gains you access not only to the museum and all of its galleries, but also to the 300-seat Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theatre. It is a small price to pay for such a compelling day of learning and fun at one of the best museums in San Diego. Enjoy a bite of lunch or a latte at the museum café on your way out or while you leisurely enjoy your time at the SDNHM.

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