San Diego Natural History Museum (the NAT)

The real world: it sure can be real interesting.  Explore the natural history of Southern California—from past to present—at the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat). From rattlesnakes and flesh-eating beetles, to dinosaurs and fossils, to historic archives and art, there’s something for every type of nature nerd here at the home of one the oldest biological research centers in the region. Visitors will be impressed by the unique, interactive exhibitions that span across five floors.  The museum features a giant-screen theater with daily showings, as well as rotating exhibitions that bring nature to life. 

Permanent offerings include Fossil Mysteries and Coast to Cactus in Southern California, which together serve as a walk through the region’s prehistoric past and biological present.  You’ll travel through a period of 75 million years—from the time of dinosaurs to present-day—along the way learning all about this amazing place we call home. Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage takes you behind-the-scenes of The Nat’s natural history collection. Living Lab brings you up close with some of the region’s animal neighbors, including desert iguanas, rattlesnakes, and an observation beehive. Nature enthusiasts can also enjoy fun adult and family programs, including interesting talks and free guided hikes, get involved in community science projects, and see the museum’s scientists at work.


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The Nat houses several permanent exhibits, including Coast to Cactus, Fossil Mysteries, Living Lab, Skulls, Hidden Gems, and Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science. Visitors to the San Diego Natural History Museum will be dazzled by the latest presentation in The Subaru Giant Screen Experience, a 300-seat, a stadium-style theater that delivers a premium viewing experience on a massive screen.

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  • The San Diego Natural History Museum is committed to sustainable operations and maintenance lending to the achievement of LEED Certification.

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