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What's Happening at The Nat February through June 2018

February 1, 2018

Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage now open, new artists begin residency, State of Biodiversity Nat Talk and Symposium, and Titans of the Ice Age 3D now showing in the SUBARU 3D Experience


Titans of the Ice Age 3D transports viewers to the beautiful and otherworldly frozen landscapes of North America, Europe, and Asia ten thousand years before modern civilization. Travel across monumental glaciers and sweeping grasslands, rich in life—a Northern Hemisphere whose vast plains resembled the African Serengeti. Witness a time when the hunters became the hunted, where saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, and cave bears ruled untamed continents. Screening daily through July 31 in the SUBARU 3D Experience. Watch trailer.


Tuesday, February 20, 9 AM-3:30 PM

After the State of the Union, State of the State, and State of the City addresses, the State of Biodiversity Symposium will convene national and regional scientists and conservationists to discuss the latest science, emerging threats, and management success stories in the world of conservation. This inaugural event is for the general public, conservation practitioners, and scientists to explore the status of regional conservation and biodiversity research efforts. The day will culminate in a public Nat Talk featuring representatives from the symposium and Dr. Michael Soulé, recognized by many as the father of conservation biology. Tickets are $50 for members, $65 for non-members, and do not include admission to the evening Nat Talk, that is a separately ticketed event. Learn more.


The 2017-2018 season of Nat Talks features Museum scientists and experts from around the country. These thoughtful and engaging talks focus on the latest in scientific research, conservation, biodiversity, and the natural world at large. Nat Talks take place in the SUBARU 3D Experience in the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater.

The State of Biodiversity

Tuesday, February 20, 7 PM

The State of Biodiversity will feature Dr. Michael Soulé, the father of modern conservation biology, discussing “Subversive Ecology.” Dr. Soulé will be accompanied by a panel who will discuss emerging threats to biodiversity, conservation uses of the latest genetic tools, conservation success stories, and landscape-level impacts on diversity like climate change and fragmentation. This Nat Talk is the culmination of many topics that will be addressed during the daytime symposium, which is a separately ticketed event.

Tickets for all Nat Talks are $9 for members and $12 for non-members. Doors open at 5:30 PM giving guests the opportunity to come enjoy a bite or beverage in The Flying Squirrel Café before the talk begins. Each lecture begins at 7 PM. This program is made possible with generous support from media partner KPBS.


Friday, February 9, 7-10 PM

Do you remember your first crush? Your first kiss? The feeling of butterflies in your stomach as you got the nerve up to talk to a certain individual you saw across the room? The Secret Society of Adultologists is going to stimulate your senses and invite visitors to explore the world of courtship, love, and sex in the natural world. The entire Museum will be packed with activities, giving guests an opportunity to explore the hidden side of love in nature while also providing a more intimate view of The Nat. Learn more.

Saturday, June 16, 7-10 PM

Most of us remember our first trip to a natural history museum—marveling at being surrounded by bizarre creatures large and small, appreciating the deep sense of history contained in a dinosaur skeleton, and admiring the idyllic images of Museum scientists from a previous era. The Secret Society of Adultologists has been designed to reinvigorate that initial sense of awe. More information, including theme and activities, to be released this spring.


Now Open

The Museum has many fascinating specimens in storage that have never been on display—until now. Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage offers visitors a rare “backstage” glimpse of the Museum’s storage areas. Specimens arranged on shelves and in cases offer the opportunity to revel in the natural world in all its beauty and strangeness.


The Artist in Residence program launched at The Nat in fall 2017 in an effort to make the rich relationship between scientific inquiry and artistic practice more visible. Lisa Jettone, the Museum’s first artist in residence, completed her residency in December 2017. Next up are artists Larry and Debby Kline, who intend to break down the barrier between the front of house and back of house by presenting activities that ignite a sense of wonder about the natural world. The Artist in Residence program is made possible through forward-thinking funding from the J.W. Sefton Foundation.


We’ve branched out to provide our visitors with all-new dining experience—The Flying Squirrel Café. Located in the Atrium on Level 1, the café has been revamped to include a fresh dining experience. Glide in for a bite this fall and winter—we’re serving brewed-to-order espresso drinks and California casual fare including salads, sandwiches, wraps, and more. Beer and wine are also available in the café, which is open daily from 10 AM-4 PM. The café entrance is on the north side of the building by the giant fig tree. View menu.


Summer Camp

Inject some fun and science into your summer break. The Nat offers week-long camps for Pre-K through grade 10 from June 18 to August 17. Registration begins March 5 for members and March 12 for non-members. Learn more.

Family Days

The Nat hosts monthly Family Days celebrating new exhibitions at the Museum and the natural world. Hosted by the Museum’s Education Department, participants will conduct experiments, make a craft to take home, and provide a variety of extra activities for a fun and educational family experience. Family Days run from 11 AM to 3 PM, are free with paid admission and always free for Museum members. Learn more.

Upcoming dates:

  • Monday, February 19 (Presidents’ Day): World of Insects
  • Sunday, March 18: Flower Power
  • Saturday, April 14: Citizen Science
  • Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day): Desert Discovery

ASD Mornings

ASD Mornings has been created to serve the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community. Once-a-month the Museum opens one hour early (at 9 AM) for adults and children on the autism spectrum and their families, friends, and caregivers. This innovative program encourages individuals to explore, play, and discover the treasures the Museum has to offer in an environment that is comfortable for them. General admission rates apply.

Every second Sunday:

  • February 11
  • March 11
  • April 8
  • May 13
  • June 10

Nature & Me Storytime

Calling all budding naturalists! Come enjoy an imaginative journey into nature through dynamic readings and visits to exhibitions. Nature & Me Storytime, now being offered in our brand-new, permanent exhibition Extraordinary Ideas, is held every second Thursday at 10:15 AM. Open to all ages with a parent or guardian (recommended for ages 1–5). Free with paid admission and always free for Museum members.

Upcoming dates and themes:

  • February 8: Birds
  • March 8: Plants
  • April 12: Earth Day
  • May 10: Desert Animals
  • June 14: Insects

Click here or call 877.946.7797 (M–F, 10 AM-5 PM) for more information on The Nat’s family programs.


Baja’s Wild Side

Baja’s Wild Side features the breathtaking photography of shark expert and Scripps marine biologist Dr. Dan Cartamil as he explores Baja California’s Pacific coast region. This exhibition chronicles a fragile paradise of remote and hauntingly beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and ancient rock art—on the verge of being taken over by modern civilization. Dr. Daniel Cartamil is a shark expert based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. With more than 20 years of experience as a marine biologist, Cartamil is also an adventure photographer, environmental consultant, and avid conservationist. This exhibition is included with paid admission and free for members. Learn more.

The Cerutti Mastodon Discovery

An Ice Age paleontological-turned-archaeological site in San Diego excavated by Museum staff preserves 130,000-year-old mastodon bones, molars, and tusks that show evidence of modification by early humans. Analysis of these finds dramatically revises the timeline for when humans first reached the Americas, according to a paper published in the April 27, 2017 issue of the prestigious science journal Nature. This display is located between Fossil Mysteries and Coast to Cactus in Southern California on Level 2. Learn more.

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science

Located in the new Eleanor and Jerome Navarra Special Collections Gallery, Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science features approximately 70 rare books, works of art, and photographs from the Research Library’s 56,000-volume collection that demonstrate how everyone can participate in science. Exhibit elements include plant and animal specimens, touchscreen interactives, and touchable models. Learn more.

Coast to Cactus in Southern California

San Diego is known for its incredibly diverse terrain, ranging from the beaches and chaparral near the coast, to the mountains and the desert farther afield. This terrain is what makes the region one of only 35 biodiversity hotspots in the world, meaning areas that have the highest concentration of different species of any geographic area of similar size. Coast to Cactus in Southern California illustrates that richness by taking visitors on a journey through these habitats and the plants and animals that live in them. Learn more.

Fossil Mysteries

From dinosaurs to mammoths, discover the rich fossil history of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California. Visitors can play the role of paleontologist: ponder a mystery, examine the strong fossil evidence from the Museum’s collection, and use scientific tools to discover answers. Traveling through a 75-million-year timeline, from the age of dinosaurs to the Ice Ages, experience an unfolding of the prehistory of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico. Learn more.


This exhibition contains nearly 200 skulls from the Museum’s research collection of animals from all over the world, from the tiny to the spectacular. Mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are all on display, showcasing an eye-popping array of horns, beaks, bills, teeth, and more. Have a question about a skull? Use the Skulls chalkboard to ask, or get creative and draw a skull. Learn more.

Water: A California Story

Learn about current, local issues on land and in the ocean. Examine the infrastructure of the regional water system, and discover how we import the majority of the water we use in this region and the costs associated with this practice. Water: A California Story also looks at effects of a changing climate on the region’s water supply and reveals how southern Californians can help protect water for future generations. Learn more.

All ongoing exhibitions are included with paid admission and free for members. Click here for more information on current exhibitions.


Ocean Oasis 2D


Produced by the San Diego Natural History Museum, Summerhays Films, and PRONATURA A.C., Ocean Oasis takes viewers on a fascinating journey into two remarkably different but inextricably linked worlds—Mexico’s beautiful Sea of Cortés and the Baja California desert. Witness the beauty of life in Baja California’s rich waters and seemingly barren land. Ocean Oasis is the winner of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the International Wildscreen Film Festival. Watch trailer.

Incredible Predators 3D

Through May 28, 2018

Incredible Predators, shown in the SUBARU 3D Experience in the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater, deconstructs the world of major predators as never before, taking an intimate look at the remarkable strategies they use to succeed. From the mighty blue whale to the resourceful Darwin’s bark spider, experience the thrill of the chase, the great escapes, and the determination of nature’s incredible predators. Incredible Predators reveals the unique relationship between predators and prey as a fundamental building block of ecology. Watch trailer.

Films in the SUBARU 3D Experience in the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater are free with paid general admission (except on Residents’ Free Tuesdays), Balboa Park Explorer Passes, Passports to Balboa Park, Go San Diego Cards, and for Museum members. Film schedule and trailers online here.


Canyoneer Nature Walks

Through June 24, 2018

The 2017-2018 Canyoneers season is underway. Take a walk on the wild side with our Museum-trained naturalists. Canyoneers provide a unique opportunity to explore the wild places of San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties, highlighting the rich biodiversity of our region. To view a list of these free hikes on our interactive map or to learn more about the history of this longtime public program, visit our website. This year’s season is made possible with support from Subaru of America.

Gray Whale Watching Cruises

Through April 22, 2018

The San Diego Natural History Museum partners with Hornblower Cruises and Events to provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience gray whale watching off the San Diego coast. Each gray whale watching experience is narrated by experienced Hornblower captains and the Museum Whalers, museum-trained naturalists. These 3.5 hour cruises are great for guests of all ages. Come meet some of nature’s largest animals and enjoy a day on the water with family and friends. Learn more.

City Nature Challenge: San Diego

April 27-30, 2018

Get outside and help The Nat document the incredible plants and animals of our region. The Nat is spearheading San Diego’s participation in the City Nature Challenge, a worldwide competition to see which city has the most wildlife and highest level of biodiversity. Snap photos in nature from April 27-30 and share them on iNaturalist. Learn more.

Balboa Park BioBlitz

April 27-28, 2018

The Balboa Park BioBlitz is a 24-hour effort to document as many species of plants and animals in the Park using iNaturalist. On April 27 and 28, scientists and citizen scientists can join in on the fun, collectively gallivanting around the Park in search of birds, mammals, spiders, insects, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and even fossils. Learn more.


The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is the second oldest scientific institution in California and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education, and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of Southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico; and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook.


Press Kit

Media Info

Contact Public Relations and Social Media Manager April Green for additional information or to arrange an interview (619.255.0189,