Exhibition That Reveals the Secret Lives of Animals Opens November 18

September 30, 2022

Photographs Were Taken with Camera Traps, Which Aid in Conservation Research

SAN DIEGO—Slinking through your neighborhood. Darting across the highway. Fluttering along your favorite hiking trail. Wildlife is all around, even when we don’t see it. The Nat offers visitors a rare peek into the secret lives of wild animals in its newest exhibition  

Caught on Camera: Wildlife When No One’s Watching opens November 18, 2022, in the Museum’s top-floor photography gallery. The show features remarkable images of southern California wildlife “caught” on film with the help of camera traps set up by scientists, photographers, and other curious people 

Camera traps are not traps at all, but devices that use motion- or heat-detecting sensors to snap photos as animals run, jump, or fly by—not unlike a hidden camera on a roller coaster. The photos provide a rare glimpse into unseen activities of local wildlife and clues that help us protect them.  

Caught on Camera is intriguing and visually stunning, but it also conveys how camera traps can play a role in conservation,” says Justin Canty, vice president of education and engagement at The Nat. “We hope visitors will be inspired to participate in conservation in their own way, whether it’s through sharing their own observations or simply getting to know the local wildlife we share our environment with.” 

The exhibition is displayed on several walls of the museum’s top-level mezzanine. Visitors will see squirrels mid-leap, bobcats in backyards, and native species they may have never heard of (what’s a ringtail, anyway?). The photos were taken by researchers from the Nat and others working to study and conserve our regional biodiversity, as well as community scientists. A flat-screen monitor features a rotating gallery of camera trap photos submitted from folks around San Diego County.  

Caught on Camera is made possible through philanthropic support, and is part of the Museum’s strategic plan to forefront conservation science and inspire people about the biodiversity of our binational region. Presented in English and Spanish, it will remain on view for close to two years.  

Admission and Hours 

Caught on Camera is located on Level 4 of the Museum; it is free for members and included with general admission ($22 adults; $18 seniors/students/military; $12 youth; children 2 and under free). 

The Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM six days a week (closed Wednesday). Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 

For more information, please visit sdnat.org/caughtoncamera. 

About the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) 

The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is one of California’s oldest and most respected cultural and scientific institutions. Founded in 1874 by a small group of naturalists, the Museum works to preserve and protect this amazing place we call home. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park. For more information, visit sdnat.org. To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook.  


Images and photo captions are availale on Dropbox

Press Kit

Media Info

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact: 

Rebecca Handelsman, Senior Director of Communications, 619.255.0262 | rhandelsman@sdnhm.org 
Cypress Hansen, Science Communications Manager , 619.255.0220 | chansen@sdnhm.org