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San Diego Natural History Museum tickets

Gate Prices Adult $19.00
Child (3-12) $12.00

Fossils, dinosaur bones, and an amazing diversity of plant and animal life: explore all the richness of Southern California's natural history at the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT). Younger kids will love the "learn and play" activities and the whole family can enjoy a free 3D movie daily.

People of all ages will be impressed by the unique, colorful, and interactive displays found at the San Diego Natural History Museum, a flagship institution in Balboa Park. TheNAT has five floors of exhibitions, a 3D theater, and San Diego’s only Foucault pendulum.

Permanent exhibitions feature the regional natural history and unique biodiversity of Southern California and Baja California, and a rotating calendar of traveling exhibitions bring science and history to life.

Your family will enjoy a walk through the region, from its prehistoric past in Fossil Mysteries—featuring everything from dinosaurs to mastodons—to its biological present in the brand-new exhibition Coast to Cactus in Southern California, which showcases the area’s incredible diversity of plant and animal life and takes visitors on a journey through this amazing place we call home.

You can also enjoy a fine-art photography gallery, a bite at the Dinosaur Cafe, and one giant-screen film!


Through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, numerous educational programs, and the opportunity to see scientists at work, the Museum fosters in visitors of all ages a lifelong love of learning about nature and the environment.

Here’s a little sample of the exhibitions and features in store for you at the San Diego Natural History Museum:

  • Fossil Mysteries: San Diego is an archaeological hotbed, and was once a haven for the giants of prehistory: dinosaurs! Examine fossils and use archaeological tools to find the answers to the mysteries of bones and fossils. You’ll travel through a period of 75 million years, from the time of dinosaurs to the ice ages.
  • Coast to Cactus in Southern California: This new, permanent exhibition tells the story of this amazing place we call home. Take an immersive walk through the major regions of southern California—coast, inland valleys, mountains, and desert—and celebrate the abundant variety of life found here.
  • Skulls: Take a look at 200 of the weirdest, wildest, and most fascinating animal skulls from the museum’s research collection.
  • The Downing 3D Experience: Check out the giant Dolby®3D system in the 300-seat Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater, where you can watch a film, free with admission!
  • Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed: Visitors will uncover the rise and eventual decline of this majestic civilization through never-before-seen artifacts, hands-on activities, multimedia components, and recreated environments. On view June 12, 2015 – January 3, 2016. Additional charge applies.
  • Whales: Giants of the Deep: Interactive, immersive, and featuring the latest in international cetacean research, this exhibition brings adults and children eye to eye with some of the world’s most elusive creatures. On view March 19-September 6, 2016. Additional charge may apply.
  • Don’t miss a trip to the San Diego Natural History Museum, and do bring the whole family! This museum has an array of “Learn and Play” activities for your little ones, making it just as unforgettable for them as it will be for you.

    The Go San Diego Card is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility. Your pass includes San Diego Natural History Museum tickets, plus admission to dozens more top attractions.

    Getting In

    The Go San Diego Card includes general admission and the films in the giant-screen theater. It does not include separately-priced premium exhibitions and events.


    Daily, 10:00 am-5:00 pm


    Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
    All holiday hours are subject to change without notice.


    1788 El Prado
    Balboa Park
    San Diego, CA 92101

    Driving Directions

    From downtown: Go east on A Street. Turn left (north) on 12th Avenue. The name changes to Park Blvd. Pass under the pedestrian overpass adjacent to the Museum. Turn left at the first traffic light beyond the overpass (Village Place) and left again into the Museum's parking lot. From the I-5 N or S: Exit at Pershing Drive and stay in the left lane. At the traffic light (Florida Drive), turn left. Follow Florida Drive, passing the traffic signal at the Naval Hospital. The next street is Zoo Place. Turn left onto Zoo Place and go up the hill to the traffic light. Turn left onto Park Blvd. At the next traffic light turn right onto Village Place. Turn left into the lot directly behind the Museum.

    Reviews for San Diego Natural History Museum

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    [4 of 5 customers found this review helpful]

    We loved it!
    By Travel Girl Verified Reviewer from San Francisco, ca on
    Big museum, Good exhibits, Beautiful architecture
    Bottom Line:
    Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Comments about Smart Destinations Natural History Museum:

    One of the nicest museums in San DIego - lots to do and see.

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