The Venue

Sefton Atrium

The Sefton Atrium is a stunning and versatile space with a four-story translucent ceiling and granite floor. At 5,000 square feet, the Atrium can accommodate up to 270 guests for a seated dinner and up to 500 for a reception. If the additional second-story mezzanine space is used, dinner seating can increase to 300 and reception to 800.

El Mirador Rooftop Terrace

With a spectacular view of Balboa Park, the downtown skyline, east to the mountains, south into Mexico, and the San Diego Bay, this rooftop deck—the only one in Balboa Park—is a stunning location. The outdoor space is 2,600 square feet and can accommodate 100 guests for a seated dinner, up to 200 guests for a reception, or 180 for a ceremony.

Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater

The 3,800-square-foot, 300-seat theater provides a comfortable, multipurpose venue for lectures, panel discussions, symposiums, wedding ceremonies, concerts, and films. With a 3D large-format screen and Dolby Digital sound, the theater has multimedia capabilities and state-of-the-art acoustics and technology.

J.W. Sefton Boardroom

This elegant 1,500-square-foot boardroom comes equipped with a large oval conference table that seats up to 24 and a side table with seating for an additional 10. It also features wireless Internet access, a wide-screen TV, a podium, and state-of-the-art audiovisual components. In addition, the room features an outdoor 600-square-foot deck. This space is perfect for a board meeting or a bride’s “ready” room.

Third- and Fourth-Floor Mezzanine Galleries

The upper floors of the Museum are home to beautiful exhibitions. With open spaces for buffet tables, bars, and lounge furniture, these areas overlook the spectacular Atrium and provide overflow for larger events.

Meeting Rooms

Conveniently located near the Atrium, our four educational classrooms can be used for event meeting space or green rooms for evening functions. Parker French, the largest meeting room, can accommodate up to 150 guests for a standing reception or 100 guests for a seated or theater style event.

Second Floor Galleries Inside the Historic South Entrance

Bring your event to life by hosting it inside one of our dynamic exhibition spaces or including these galleries in a full Museum buyout:

Fossil Mysteries
From dinosaurs to mastodons, your guests will travel through 75 million years and dig into the rich fossil history of southern California and Baja California. See fossils found by Museum paleontologists including a mammoth and manatee and life-size dinosaurs that will tower over your guests. This interactive exhibition hall can accommodate up to 350 guests.

Coast to Cactus in Southern California
This highly interactive exhibition takes you on a journey through this amazing place we call home. Using specimens from the Museum’s collections alongside hands-on exhibits, live animals, and innovative media, Coast to Cactus illustrates the incredibly diverse habitats in the region. This exhibition can accommodate up to 200 guests.

Together, Coast to Cactus and Fossil Mysteries tell the unique story of southern California from the prehistoric era to present day. While each area can be rented separately, they can also be used together to provide one large event space, perfect for cocktail parties, mixers, networking events, and more. 

Unique Gifts

The Alex and Elizabeth Wise Museum Store is an excellent source for customized gifts. We can also arrange to have the store open for your guests to browse and shop during your event.