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Explore the natural history of Southern California, from past to present, at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the NAT). From fossils and dinosaur bones to rare books and live animals, there’s something for everyone at the NAT, a flagship museum in Balboa Park.
Visitors of all ages will be impressed by the unique, vibrant, and interactive exhibitions that span across five floors. Through its research collection, exhibitions, films, and programs, the museum fosters a lifelong love of learning about nature and the environment. the NAT features lots of “learn and play” activities for little ones, frequent free guided nature walks for nature enthusiasts, adult and family programs, and interesting lectures (be sure to check their calendar before you go!).

San Diego Natural History Museum
4.6
Based on 2844 reviews
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IshanR
IshanR
13:11 08 Feb 24
Situated in Balboa park 4 stories museum that has lot of natural history stuffs. Great for children. Wonderful... experience.read more
Steve Leung
Steve Leung
03:13 30 Dec 23
Valuable museum to visit while in San Diego. It provides educational information about the bodies, bones, specimens and... fossils of old time animals, birds, fishes and other creatures.read more
sara Rae
sara Rae
23:59 01 Nov 23
Fantastic museum. Parking spots directly in front of museum are extremely limited, please be prepared for a small, flat... walk in order to access.The museum is beautiful. 4 stories, elevators included for persons of limited mobility. The gift shop is located on the main floor, directly after entering. Cost was $24 per adult, tickets available at the front desk, payable by cash or card.Fossils, minerals, live exhibits, theater, etc. This museum has it all. Plenty of places to rest and take in the wonder. There is a small indoor play place for the smallest children. Bathrooms are clean, spacious, and well-maintained on multiple floors.Museum is kept cool, a light sweater recommended.read more
Vera D
Vera D
19:20 13 Aug 23
This place is found amusing for any age, from young kids to senior. You wouldn’t get bored because the combination of... Living Lab with a bunch of living creatures, the facts of dinosaurs, and the history of this beautiful city.If you’re a resident, pls consider the annual member for the entire park, it’s gonna be very useful for indoor activities during hot summer (when you’re taking a break from the crowds of beaches), or any season … worth the money!read more
Zain Ul Abdin Siyal
Zain Ul Abdin Siyal
03:48 24 Jul 23
During my recent visit to San Diego for the Esri User Conference, I had the pleasure of attending a social event at... Balboa Park, and it included a visit to the San Diego Natural History Museum.The museum's location within the beautiful Balboa Park was a treat in itself. The stunning architecture of the building blends beautifully with the surrounding Balboa Park, creating a harmonious and inviting atmosphere. As soon as I entered the museum, I was immediately drawn to the fascinating exhibits that showcased the region's diverse natural wonders.. Moreover, the dinosaur exhibit was a particular highlight for me. The life-sized replicas and detailed explanations gave me a newfound appreciation for the prehistoric creatures that once roamed the earth. The staff at the museum were courteous and enthusiastic, adding to the overall positive experience.All in all, it was wonderful experience.read more
Alex Ledesma
Alex Ledesma
03:37 17 Jul 23
This museum is large (4 stories) so I highly recommend to arrive early so you can enjoy all the nice halls in it.... Despite it is mainly designed for kids I had a great time as an adult. There are many interactive material.read more
Simon Albrecht
Simon Albrecht
12:12 03 Jul 23
This museum was really cool. They had lots of exhibits, and it was a great experience. There were lots of signs, which... was helpful, since there was lots of stuff everywhere. The only thing was that the food options were missleading. There is supposedly a cafe, but it really only had a couple small things all of them snacks.read more
CHIEMERIE ONYEKWERE
CHIEMERIE ONYEKWERE
01:38 26 Apr 23
Our visit to this museum was such a great experience! As science enthusiasts, we were thrilled with the exhibits and... interactive displays that really made us appreciate the wonders of science. It's definitely a great place for families with kids, as there are so many fascinating things to explore and learn. As a science teacher myself, I can definitely see the value in bringing my students here for a fun and educational field trip. We also visited the nearby Museum of Arts, which was equally impressive. San Diego really has a lot to offer and we can't wait to come back and explore more of this amazing city!"read more
Rodrigo Arb de Castro
Rodrigo Arb de Castro
00:20 11 Apr 23
A fun and informative museum for the whole family. We loved the fossils and the history behind them, the Foucault... pendulum and the theater, where we watched the "Dinosaurs of Antartica" show. We had plenty of fun while learning about the animals, the past and about southern California in general.read more
Craig Bellavance
Craig Bellavance
04:01 09 Feb 23
Dinosaurs. Whales and sharks. Lions, tigers, and bears. Spiders and snakes. Birds and bugs… There certainly is... plenty to see and do and learn about at the San Diego Natural History Museum. People of all ages seemed to be having a great time on the day I visited. There were so many and such varied exhibits that I can’t image a visitor not finding at least a few of them interesting. I visited on a day that admission wasn’t charged to San Diego residents, but staff didn’t check residency, and everyone entered for free. It’s an awesome place. Take the kids. Take the grandparents. Enjoy.read more
Jaspreet Kaur
Jaspreet Kaur
04:19 31 Dec 22
We enjoyed our time at NAT museum. So much to see and learn. For $22, I think it is worth it. We started our day around... 10:30 and stayed until 4:30. Watched three shows(listed on their website). All were very engaging. Then we took a tour around the place. Also made frequent stops at the cafeteria. Food options mostly include prepackaged stuff like sandwiches, cookies, chips and coffees options are also available.There is a little play area for younger kids. A sections dedicated to alive reptiles, a floor specific to creatures from millions of years ago and couple other floors with gems and books. Overall a very great experience and the staff is pretty awesome.read more
RIHANA MUSFI
RIHANA MUSFI
21:22 21 Dec 22
We just loved the visit and especially my son he was amazed by their displays. They also have theaters where they... showcase science movies which repeats in an interval. He loved that too.Also they have a kids area that is bit relaxing for the parents as well👍🏽👍🏽read more
Esli Morales
Esli Morales
01:18 27 Sep 22
The cost for an adult ticket is $26. There are several interesting rooms to explore including a live laboratory. Please... don't bang on the glass. Some of the rooms are more journal or reading rooms. These are not bad, but if you are tired they are not that interesting.read more
kristina kiehn
kristina kiehn
23:11 07 Sep 22
My boyfriend and I went here for his birthday! It was a nice relaxing day! We explored the whole museum except for the... gem room at the bottoms floor. It was closed. We loved the taxidermy, models, skulls, and books! We love animals, so this was a great place to visit!read more
Sacramento Real Estate agent Perepelitsa
Sacramento Real Estate agent Perepelitsa
21:08 19 Aug 22
Absolutely LOVED experience here. My daughter enjoyed every second of it. Museum has 4 stories but best one was 2nd... story. So spend most of the time there. Also 50% OFF at 4:00 pm (1 hour before close). Usually it takes 1 1/2 hrs at normal speed. But with 60 min we were able to see everything but had to go bit fast!!read more
Ray Livengood
Ray Livengood
22:56 15 Jul 22
Nice museum & lots of interesting features regarding San Diego and Southern California. We didn’t have time for the... theater shows, but for the price of admission that included exhibits and well thought out children learning area’s, it seemed like a bargain.There is also a healthy options espresso cafe that I was impressed with. Organic coffee, quality Monin syrups available.read more
Nurse Grace
Nurse Grace
04:11 15 Jul 22
I attended the FEVER Candlelight Concert of Queen tribute string quartet band, Range Ensemble from Los Angeles!! It was... an absolutely beautiful experience with fine music playing all of Queen's greatest hits!! I only wish I would've arrived sooner to explore the beauty of the exhibits in the Natural History Museum! Parking was super easy to find and free! The line to enter the actual performance venue was less than a 10 minute wait. The staff were very helpful and courteous. Fever concerts are absolutely amazing and they picked the perfect venue to provide the best sound for an ultimate experience of a sensational band tribute to Queen!!!read more
Grace Hammel
Grace Hammel
19:56 10 Jul 22
Such a beautiful Candlelight Concert of a Queen tribute experience!!! I only wish I could've arrived earlier to... experience the glory of all the museum had to offer!! Wonderful staff, easy parking, and the exhibits that I was able to see when in line for the show were absolutely stunning!!!read more
Paterka Town
Paterka Town
16:42 01 Jun 22
We had a terrific time! Lots of neat stuff spread out on multiple levels. The prehistoric skeletons and a few really... cool life-size cutaway dinosaurs (you can see their skeletons on one side, a guess at what the living dinosaur looked like on the other) were probably my favorite thing. Fun exhibits all around, it kept us wandering and looking.Very enjoyable and really glad we got to go!read more
Sapphire Blur
Sapphire Blur
20:51 15 May 22
went here for a family day.. and it was AMAZING! we're a family consisting of: 2 adults, 1 teenager, and 1 kid, and all... 4 of us had lots of fun. this is coming from someone who's out of town/a tourist! 😁parking was hard to get.. but we managed to get a good spot! it's all about waiting around and driving in circles. as soon as someone leaves their spot, it's taken instantly, which made finding a spot a struggle.we came around 1 pm and we were able to visit the first 3 floors! we missed the 4th & the floor below 1 but that was on us 😁 as we arrived late-ish.it was actually really fun but also very informative! i was totally geeking out and all of the information and animals that were on display! there were lots of other families there scattered around the place, and it was never super crowded in a room. there were lots of things to look at for all ages! no one felt left out.it may take a lot of walking around to look at everything, but, there are lots of benches and seats around. there's also hand sanitizer stations everywhere so use it!!final review: 100000/10, fun for all ages + the whole family, would definitely love to come back soon :^)read more
Chami
Chami
15:13 03 May 22
I absolutely love this museum! Its such a great place to explore especially with the little ones! Has plenty to offer,... movie showings, live animals, kids play areas,cafe & much more! I highly recommend its a must see place & very educational.read more
Carolyn
Carolyn
02:24 19 Apr 22
We loved our visit! We did not have tickets in advance, but we were still able to get tickets without any wait. Our... group (adults and young kids) enjoyed each exhibit, the cafe, and one of the movies in about 2 and a half hours.read more
Jade Cojena
Jade Cojena
03:14 22 Feb 22
We enjoyed our visit to this museum. If you like science you are likely to enjoy this place. If you have kids surely... they will love it. A good place for a science teacher to tour the kids.. We went to museum of arts as well. Oh I love San Diego!read more
Nathan
Nathan
01:40 22 Feb 22
The NAT must stand for Not All There.A big disappointment of a museum. The displays are small, will little substance;... only decent part were the fossils on floor 2.Floor 1 were just a bunch of snakes, frogs, and bugs in small fish tanks. They have an exhibit of old science books on floor 3 which was boring, their special exhibit on floor 4 called Blooming was only photos of flowers on a wall.The best part was a movie they showed of the Natural History Museum, London, England. Made this museum completely laughable.read more
LULU . LIVE
LULU . LIVE
02:43 07 Feb 22
Wonderful NYE Flamenco show dinner at Cafe Sevilla! The singer and dancers’ performance are really nice. The dinner is... 3 courses fixed dinner, Spanish ham and goat cheese arugula salad, seafood paella, and apple tart, you can also add a olive bread for $8. The drinks are nice as well. I love their sangria. The service is very good. I recommend it.read more
Linz
Linz
03:51 19 Jan 22
super cool museum, lots of local specimens too! whole family loved the displays and film. only negative aspect was the... staff, ranging from rather abrasive to downright rude.read more
Lacey Hart
Lacey Hart
20:11 20 Dec 21
I am passionate about natural history museums, and I wanted to love this one. Sadly, this museum has a shockingly small... collection for their size. It feels like they took a small collection and spread it thinly across the space to make it look like more than it is. What they have is really good, it's just much less than I expected.read more
Danielle Henry
Danielle Henry
15:19 17 Jul 21
Nice visit today with my six year old. Enough to keep her interested-she especially liked all the planes and such that... you can climb into. We spent about an hour here, you could spend a bit longer if you took the time to read things, which my kiddo didn’t want to do this time around! Loved seeing all the models of various planes, etc.read more
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