The Venue

Full Museum

1,800 reception
Featuring five floors of exhibit and event spaces, the Nat can accommodate up to 1,800 guests for a variety of reception style events. Guests can explore Museum galleries that feature the natural history and unique biodiversity of our region. Abundant fossils, models, murals, and dioramas offer unique multi-sensory experiences. Guests will see the world—past and present—in a whole new way.


Lower Level – Legler-Benbough Gallery

400 reception I 340 seated
At 5,600 square feet, the lower level gallery is a versatile space that can be customized to almost any style. Featuring a house sound system, stage, podium and mic, it is well equipped for meetings, lectures and symposiums. It is also an ideal venue for seated dinners and small trade shows.


Main Level – Sefton Atrium

500 reception I 300 seated
The Sefton Atrium is a stunning and versatile space with a 60’ four-story translucent ceiling and granite floor. At 5,000 square feet, the Atrium can accommodate up to 300 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 340 and reception to 700. Perfect for corporate dinners, galas, wedding receptions, dances and more.


Level 2 – Main Exhibition Floor

600 reception
Overlooking the Atrium and featuring three unique exhibits, this exhibition hall is the perfect location for cocktail parties, mixers and networking events, and other social gatherings. When visitors enter the historic south entrance of the Museum, they are greeted by the mesmerizing sight of the iconic Foucault (foo-koh) Pendulum.


Level 3 – Exhibition Gallery

100 reception
This level features a variety of small exhibit vignettes that focus on the Museum’s research and collections and provides overflow for larger events.


Level 4 – Photographic Exhibition Gallery

130 reception I 60 seated
The upper floor of the Museum is home to beautiful rotating photographic exhibitions. With open spaces for buffet tables, bars, and lounge furniture, this area overlooks the spectacular Atrium and provides overflow for larger events. Additionally this level can be used in conjunction with the Rooftop Terrace.


El Mirador Rooftop Terrace

150 reception I 100 seated I 180 for a ceremony
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 is an ideal setting for wedding ceremonies, cocktail mixers and other social gatherings.


The Subaru 3D Experience in the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater

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


J.W. Sefton Boardroom

50 reception I 32 seated
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, rear-screen projection, a podium, and state-of-the-art audiovisual components. In addition, the room features an outdoor deck that is 600 square feet. This space is perfect for a board meeting or a bride’s “ready” room.