Best Museums in San Diego, California: Natural History Museum – Connect with nature
Founded in 1874, The San Diego Natural History Museum didn’t have a permanent setting for its collection until 1933. Since then it has expanded its focus and more than doubled its size.
Today the museum is dedicated to promoting understanding and respect for the evolution and diversity of the entire Southern California region and the Baja Peninsula. Its award-winning exhibits are complemented by a 300-seat giant screen 3-D theater that shows films focusing on the natural world. In addition, the museum hosts several traveling exhibitions each year. There’s a Kids’ Habitat where youngsters can have fun with interactive games – and on Sundays, Mr. Frizzle presents free “Wacky Science” shows designed for junior scientists.
The museum has a gift shop and the Dinosaur Café, which is open from 10 AM to 4 PM Thursdays through Sundays. Check online for admission discount coupons.
Best Museums in San Diego, California: San Diego History Center – Uncover San Diego's past
Founded in 1928, the city’s premier historical organization achieved a decades long dream in 1989 when it opened the San Diego History Center in the heart of Balboa Park. The center showcases the region’s colorful and diverse history – and it serves as a repository for the group’s collection of more than 45 million pieces of paper and 2.5 million photos that document the people, places and events of the city’s past.
Exhibits rotate: Visitors might view paintings by San Diego’s most celebrated artists. They might see costumes worn by actors at The Old Globe during its 75-year history, learn about San Diego's once-booming tuna fishing industry or drink in all there is to know about the history of the city's colorful craft beer brewers. For an additional $6 fee, visitors can tap into local genealogy and historic photos in the research library (open till 1 PM Mondays through Fridays).
Don’t skip the center’s store. Find cool reproductions of Arts and Crafts and Deco-era furnishings.