Giant-Screen Theater

Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater

Welcome to The Downing 3D Experience, the largest Dolby® 3D theater for a museum in California! Visitors to the San Diego Natural History Museum will be dazzled by the latest in digital 3D technology that delivers a premium viewing experience from anywhere in the 300-seat, stadium-style theater. 

All film times subject to change daily. Assistive Listening Devices for films and lectures in the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater are available.  Please inquire with the theater attendant or with the Admission Desk.

Films in the giant-screen theater are included with paid admission and also with Balboa Park Explorer Passes, GO San Diego Cards and for members of the San Diego Natural History Museum. Tickets are available at the Admissions Desks at the Museum.

The Downing 3D Experience in the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater is sponsored by John and Tracy Downing, the Downing Family Foundation, the Eleanor and Jerry Navarra Family, Jerome’s Furniture, and Stephen Cohen, President, Private Asset Management, Inc.

Theater Schedule

Please note: The giant-screen theater will be closed for construction from Tuesday, September 5, to Friday, October 13. The theater will reopen on Saturday, October 14.

11 AM
Galapagos 3D
25 minutes

12 PM
Ocean Oasis 2D
40 minutes

1 PM
Sea Monsters 3D
25 minutes

1:45 PM
Galapagos 3D
25 minutes

2:30 PM
Ocean Oasis 2D
40 minutes

3:30 PM
Sea Monsters 3D
25 minutes

4:15 PM
Galapagos 3D
25 minutes

Balboa Park After Dark film schedule*

6 PM
Ocean Oasis
40 minutes

7 PM
Galapagos 3D
25 minutes

8 PM
Sea Monsters 3D
25 minutes

*Exceptions apply. See website for details.

Movie Trailers

Ocean Oasis

Take a fascinating journey into two remarkably different, but inextricably linked worlds—Mexico’s Sea of Cortés and the Baja California desert. Ocean Oasis , a giant-screen film, mesmerizes audiences as they witness the beauty of life in Baja California's rich waters and seemingly barren land. Note: Ocean Oasis is a 2D film. Produced by the San Diego Natural History Museum, Summerhays Films, and PRONATURA A.C., with sponsorship from Sempra Energy. Winner of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the International Wildscreen Film Festival.



Galapagos 3D

In the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, there is a paradise unlike any other: the Galapagos. Amongst these remote volcanic islands, life has played out over millions of years in relative isolation. The result is a wonderland of nature, with a remarkable collection of plants and charismatic animals that have all adapted to this unique environment. Galapagos 3D give audiences the opportunity to meet giant half-ton tortoises and marine iguanas that spit sea salt; dance with the tropical albatrosses and hunt fishes with the colorful Blue-Footed Boobies; and swim with tiny penguins thousands of miles away from their natural habitats. Narrated by Jeff Corwin, this is a story of discovery, survival against the odds, and nature’s ingenuity, all brought to life in stunning 3D.



Sea Monsters 3D

National Geographic’s film Sea Monsters 3D brings to life the extraordinary marine reptiles of the dinosaur age. From the giraffe-necked Styxosaurus and 20-foot “bulldog” fish Xiphactinus to the T. rex of the ocean—the 40-foot super-predator Tylosaurus—these wondrous beasts defy imagination. Sea Monsters 3D weaves together spectacular photorealistic animation with standout finds from paleontological digs around the world—treasures that shed light on the film’s incredible cast of characters. Narrated by Tony Award-winning actor Liev Schreiber, this 3D film experience takes viewers on a remarkable journey into the relatively unexplored world of the monstrous reptiles that lurked beneath the water.