Nature to You Loan Program

Enrich your programming with museum specimens.

The Nature to You Loan Program has an extensive library of specimens—plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, birds, and more—that people can literally check out, just like a real library. Our selection of flora and fauna is great for artists, teachers, scholars, school groups, home school, or anyone with an interest in the natural sciences. Become a member of the Nature to You Loan Program to access these incredible resources.

To join, learn more, or ask a question about our collection, please drop in during open hours, call 619.255.0236, or email loanprogram@sdnhm.org.

Visit the Loan Library

We're open Monday - Thursday from 2-5 PM* and are located in the northwest corner of the Museum on Level 1. Please note, these hours are different from the museum's public hours, and you can enter from the sidewalk along Village Place, across from the Casa del Prado theater.

Drop in to learn more about the program, borrow a specimen, or return a loan. Masks are not required for fully vaccinated guests, but unvaccinated guests are required to wear facial coverings.

*Holiday closures:
November 21-24 (Thanksgiving)
December 1 (December Nights)
December 19 - January 2 (Winter Break)
January 16 (MLK Day)
February 20 (President's Day)
May 29 (Memorial Day)
June 2-20 (Summer Break)
*Summer '23 Hours Begin June 21 (Open Wednesdays 2-5 PM)

Peruse our shelves—virtually

Specimens range from taxidermy (snakes, small mammals, birds, and more) to fossils and skeletons to touchable pelts, animals in jars, puppets, plant pressings, and pinned insects. We also have teacher kits, complete with lesson plans, books, specimens, and other materials. Search our specimen database.

Are You a Title 1 School?

Museum Access Funds are available to fund annual Nature to You memberships for qualified Title I schools. The application for '22-'23 school year scholarships is open from September 15 - October 15. Click here to apply. Applicants will be notified of their awarding status by October 31. If you have any questions regarding the application, please call us at 619.255.0236.

Become a member to access the collection

Join the Nature to You Loan Program to borrow a specimen or teacher kit from our library. The collection includes more than 1,300 specimens that represent the biologic and geologic diversity of the southwestern United States, Baja California, and the world! Membership makes a great gift for teachers.

Annual membership ($100)

Annual membership is valid for one calendar year from date of registration. Loan duration is two weeks and is limited to seven specimens at a time; within these seven, each member is allowed a maximum of one bird of prey, one mammal and one reptile. There is no limit to the number of loans permitted per year of membership. One Teacher Kit checkout is included with membership. The Loan Library is open year-round, but closed on most school holidays, and summer hours are limited.

One-time loan ($30)

This opportunity allows for a one-time loan of up to four specimens from the program. Loan duration is one week.

Join today.

Three easy ways to become a member: drop in during open hours, call 619.255.0236, or fill out and email the membership form below to loanprogram@sdnhm.org.

NTY Membership Application and Policy Forms

You can pay for a membership in advance here. You do not need to be a member of The Nat to join the Loan Program.

A Visit to the Nature to You Loan Program

Did you know The Nat has an entire library of specimens that can be checked out for use by artists, teachers, scholars, school groups, or anyone with an interest in natural science? Education Collection Manager Lauren Marino gives us a peek into the Nature to You Loan Program and answers some frequently asked questions about the taxidermied specimens.