San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)
San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)

San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)

1788 El Prado, San Diego, California, 92101

The basics

Founded in 1874, the San Diego Natural History Museum is one of the oldest such institutions west of the Mississippi. It’s home to more than 8 million objects, many of which are displayed across its four-storey headquarters in the heart of Balboa Park. Offering an array of temporary and permanent exhibitions that cover everything from wildlife photography to Southern California’s habitats, The Nat also features a giant-screen theater that holds different film screenings throughout the day.

The Nat is easy to explore independently, and it offers a range of events—from talks and demonstrations to summer camp and late-night events—for participants of all ages. You can also glimpse it on a number of San Diego tours, and it’s free to visit as part of the GO City scheme.

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San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure
San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure
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Things to know before you go

  • Seniors and children receive discounted entry to the museum, while kids aged 2 and under can visit for free.

  • The museum offers a range of free admission options, including Museums for All and Resident Free Days programs, and also has various discounted visiting options.

  • The Nat is accessible to wheelchair users and has wheelchairs available to rent for free.

  • The museum has a gift shop, the Alex and Elizabeth Wise Museum Store, which sells books, clothing, and souvenirs.

  • The Flying Squirrel Cafe, open from morning until late afternoon, serves hot and cold drinks, snacks, and lunch bites.

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How to get there

San Diego Natural History Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, in the middle of Balboa Park. If you’re driving from downtown San Diego, take Park Blvd; there are numerous small parking lots nearby. The museum is also served by the #7 bus, which runs frequently from downtown San Diego.

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Trip ideas


When to get there

The museum is open daily, from morning until evening on weekdays and with slightly shorter opening hours on weekends. The museum is also open for extended hours during the summer months, with late evening closures on summer Fridays. It is closed annually on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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What to do in Balboa Park

The Nat is located in the heart of Balboa Park: a 1,200-acre public park that’s one of the largest urban parks in the US. In addition to walking trails and green spaces, the park is home to a wealth of cultural and recreational offerings, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego Air and Space Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Zoo, and much more.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)?
A:
Attractions near San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat):
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in San Diego?
A:
As well as visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: