Current Exhibitions

The Nat has many fascinating specimens in storage that have never been on display—until now. Don’t miss this rare “backstage” glimpse of the Museum’s storage areas.

From dinosaurs to mastodons, travel through 75 million years and dig into the rich fossil history of Southern California and Baja California. The fossils on display were discovered locally by our paleontology team during construction projects. 

Meet more than 20 of your not-so-cuddly neighbors, from stinging scorpions to elusive nocturnal lizards.

See outstanding colors, mysterious textures, and alien forms in this aesthetically stunning photography exhibition featuring gorgeous macro photography from the USGS Bee Inventory Monitoring Lab. 

More than 100 stunning objects from our mineralogy department will be displayed on every level of the Museum in this "deconstructed," vertically aligned exhibition. 

Learn and explore the natural world through play. This new space invites our youngest visitors to play under a shade tree, search for hidden secrets along a wooden fence, or read their favorite book in a cozy potting shed.

An Ice Age site excavated by Museum staff preserves 130,000-year-old mastodon bones, molars, and tusks that show evidence of modification by early humans, dramatically revising the timeline for when humans first reached the Americas.

Rare books, art, photographs, historical documents, and plant and animal specimens come together to prove you don’t need to be a scientist to participate in science. 

Take a journey through this amazing place we call home. Explore the the unique habitats of Southern California and celebrate the abundant variety of life found here.

Baleen whales are the largest living animals on the planet, and their ability to filter feed on small organisms in the ocean is an astounding adaptation. Scientists have new evidence for how and when the evolution from teeth to baleen occurred in of the ancestors of today’s filter-feeding whales.

Take a look at 200 of the weirdest, wildest, and most fascinating animal skulls from our research collection. Mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are on display, showcasing an eye-popping array of horns, beaks, bills, teeth, and more.

The world is threatened by a deadly viral outbreak. Diplomacy has failed, and now, the only thing that can save us… is science! Do you and your friends have what it takes to comb through clue-filled museum archives, solve puzzles, and save the world? Join us at Escape The Nat for…Botanic Panic! More .

Meet Al, a member of our skeleton crew. Allosaurus fragilis, a genus of large theropod dinosaur that lived in North America during the late Jurassic Period, is a relative of T. rex, which lived later. Al’s bones are casts made from original fossil bones collected in Utah.

This replica of an extinct megalodon shark was modeled from and inspired by teeth collected from Miocene sandstones in Oceanside, California and near Ensenada, Baja California by Museum paleontology staff. It hangs in the Atrium as part of Fossil Mysteries and is one of best selfie spots in the Museum. More .

When visitors enter the Museum off the Prado walkway, they are greeted by the mesmerizing sight of the iconic Foucault Pendulum, which provides visual proof of the Earth's rotation. More .

While not officially affiliated with The Nat, many people associate this remarkable Moreton Bay Fig Tree with the Museum. Planted in preparation for the 1915 exposition, this tree is a beloved San Diego icon and one of the largest Moreton Bay Fig trees in the state. More .