We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Middle of the Road NHM”

San Diego Natural History Museum
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Go San Diego Card
Ranked #79 of 430 things to do in San Diego
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Features fascinating exhibitions and a new giant-screen Dolby digital 3D theater showing films with a focus on the natural world. The Museum’s award-winning exhibit design team creates exhibitions that focus on the unique and biodiverse southern California region. In addition, the Museum hosts several traveling exhibitions each year which teach visitors about our natural world as it is today and as it was in the past.
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
108 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Middle of the Road NHM”
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Spent part of a day recently at the San Diego Museum of Natural History. While the skulls exhibit was real neat, not much else really stood out to wow and amaze us. I have been to several natural history museums and this was the most underwhelming one so far. That being said, we still enjoyed the visit because we like nature and wildlife type activities. I don't know that I would say it's a must see while in San Diego but if you are going to Balboa Park and want to hit several of the museums, it's worth the time and money because the money goes to a good cause.

Visited June 2013
Thank oklahomabiologist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

335 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Palmdale, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Dino Delight”
Reviewed June 15, 2013

The San Diego Natural History Museum is currently hosting a "SKULLS" exhibit which is quite interesting. Their dino exhibits complete with animatronic dinosaurs is sure to please young children. The museum is small in comparison to other Natural History Museums we have visited and the admission price is the highest ($34 for two adults!) of ANY museum we've been to.

Visited June 2013
Thank BestNana_93505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
56 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Now, eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour, right?”
Reviewed June 11, 2013

Sure, when you first walk into the museum, there's a dinosaur skeleton right there. However, there really aren't too many more. Wait, what? That's right, in the San Diego Museum of Natural History, you'll be hard-pressed to find very many of the ancient creatures.

It's not all bad. The new (well, I think it's new) Dino Jaws exhibit is really cool. There are roughly a dozen or so animatronic dinos in the exhibit. They are very realistic (assuming you think you know what dinosaurs were really like). The exhibit is a bit flawed, too, though. With your paid admission to the museum, you get another ticket -- with a barcode -- so that you can do something interactive in the Dino Jaws area. The barcode scanners didn't really work, though, so I'm not really sure what we were supposed to do with them. Oh well.

Most of what you paid to see is on the second floor. Dino Jaws, prehistoric rain forest, a pendulum (not sure how it fits into the nat. history theme, but pendulums are always interesting). The third and fourth floors had very little. There were "exhibits" in the hallways that encircle and overlook the main atrium. There's also a basement level that had some focus on insects, but even in the ant farm, most of the ants were dead.

One thing I just remembered is the gift shop. I don't always go into them, but this one I did. It had tons of stuff in there that was right on target for our family, both in terms of usability and price.

All in all, I was rather underwhelmed by our visit to this museum.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank Steve_In_Tucson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
108 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Rolling Exhibts”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Not a bad little museum, but is one of the better ones in Balboa Park. They have a lot of traveling exhibits that come through here that are worth the visit. The traveling exhibits are an extra charge, but admission to the rest of the museum is included. They also have a military discount.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank BrianC867
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great exhibits, let down by failing technology”
Reviewed May 24, 2013

A really fascinating museum and I would have loved to have spent more time here! However, a huge portion of the time I spent was taken up with trying to make the touch screens work in their dinosaur exhibit. When I asked the staff about it, they said the touch screens had been failing since they arrived a month ago, and nothing is being done to rectify the situation. I find this extremely disappointing, as without this negative experience I think this could be one of my favourite San Diego attractions.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank 27in27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed San Diego Natural History Museum also viewed


Been to San Diego Natural History Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing