The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is my favorite museum in Southern California and has been around since 1916. The museum beautifully showcases the surroundings of Santa Barbara from the Native American Chumash, bird & mammal halls as well as marine and plant life. The beautiful grounds run along Mission Creek. With 3.5 million specimens in its extensive collection, there is something to delight everyone during its Centennial Celebration.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is the largest museum of its kind in the west. Operating since 1913, the beaux-arts building and rotunda is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is something for everyone to enjoy with more than 35 million artifacts spanning 4.5 billion years. From the new 'Dinosaur Hall' with over 300 real fossils to the history of the 'Becoming Los Angeles' exhibit, a visit will inform and delight.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Southern California. Torrey Pines, the rarest pine in America, grow along wild cliffs that drop to the ocean below. Growing only here and on Santa Rosa Island, the trees and its reserve received National Natural Landmark status in 1977. Hiking trails wind seamlessly through the landscape making it a great place for Spring wildflowers too.
Solana Beach is a great sandy stretch of coast in San Diego's North County. Located below a series of cliffs, you enter a world of ocean vistas for endless miles. Although a rather small and new community, incorporated in just 1986, Solana Beach has had quite the history of inhabitants. From the San Dieguito hunters of bison, mastodons and camels living 11,000 years ago to the memorial services of Desi Arnaz, energy is in the air. Sunsets are a must in Solana Beach.
The San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) is one of Balboa Park's great treasures. Founded in 1874, it is one of the oldest scientific institutions in the west and the oldest in Southern California. TheNAT has a great selection of exhibits including dinosaurs, fossils and skulls but the new Coast to Cactus exhibit is a reason to visit in itself.
Coast to Cactus showcases the astonishing diversity of Southern California from its beaches, canyons, mountains and deserts. This variety of terrain is known as a biodiversity hotspot because of its high concentration of species. It is one of only 35 in the world. This interactive exhibit reveals the great beauty of what makes SoCal so special!