Science & Natural History Museums

It’s impossible to think of another place anywhere in the world that offers so many diverse and educational experiences that you’ll find in San Diego’s science and natural history museums.

The best place to start any museum experience is at Balboa Park.  This picturesque setting covers 1,200 acres and tempts visitors with 18 different museums, many of them dedicated to science and natural history.

The most popular of these is the San Diego Air & Space Museum.  Exhibits cover man’s early flight, WWI, the Golden Age of Flight, WWII, space travel, and the present day.  The expansive museum houses a vast collection of restored fighter planes, gliders, and historically significant artifacts.

The Fleet Science Center is equally impressive, where visitors are immersed and inspired by the wonders of science and technology.  A 76-foot IMAX theatre, interactive exhibits, activities, and educational events make this a top family-friendly destination.

The Museum of Photographic Arts lets you experience history, nature, and faraway places while also teaching you about the science, evolution, and creative side of the photographic arts.  It’s a unique and visually stunning experience for guests of all ages.  Balboa Park is also home to the Museum of Us, formerly the Museum of Man.  You can learn about the history and evolution of humankind and culture at one of the park’s most popular destinations, including an impressive collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.

The park is also home to the San Diego Natural History Museum, a celebration of the natural world where visitors can learn about Southern California and Baja California's biodiversity.  “The Nat” has hundreds of replicas of long-extinct species, fossils, gems, and minerals, and photographs of Southern California’s and Baja’s natural beauty.

You’ll also get a natural history lesson at the San Diego Zoo. It’s considered one of the top zoos in the world that focuses on educating visitors on conservation efforts as an integral part of its mission. You can gaze upon 700,000 plants and 650 rare and endangered animal species, many of which roam free in cageless, open-air exhibits that mimic their natural habitats.

Although it’s not exactly a museum, when you talk about natural history in San Diego, you must include the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla.  It’s packed with hundreds of ocean-dwelling species that provide a glimpse of local marine life while also weaving in lessons on ocean ecosystems past and present.

The Comic-Con Museum may not be the first thing that comes to mind if you’re looking for a science lesson.  But that’s exactly what the founders of this iconic event achieved when they opened this unique destination that celebrates science, technology, art, and storytelling.