During our summer road trip up the California coast we stopped in Morro Bay to break up the drive from Orange County to Big Sur. We camped overnight at Morro Bay State Park. Before heading to town for dinner we stopped by this museum.
I visited this same musem 15 years earlier and it has changed dramatically. The museum has been completely upgraded with new, colorful, and informative exhibits. The exhibits are floor to ceiling which make the rooms look appealing and interesting and made me want to hang out a bit.
For a small museum there are many hands on exhibits and that is a must to keep the littles entertained. When you first enter you walk through a small, but complete gift shop. You can get postcards here.
Highlights for adults:
The Views! This museum sits high above the bay and on clear days you can see Morro Rock, kayakers in the water below, birds and animals feeding in the water and more. Beautiful! A nice touch: the museum has multiple telescopes for viewing setup throuout the museum and on the viewing deck. I was really interested in the animals that call this area home.
Highlights for the kids:
The room with the taxidermy (there are a lot of animals in there). My youngest also loved the hands on tidepools, which is a water display detailing the types of pools and shows all sorts of little animals and plants, but the pieces are toys and the kids can pick them up and rearrange in the tidepools.
I gave this museum 5 stars, because of the location, the colorful, clean, hands on exhibits and you just can't beat the price. There are restrooms on site and picnic tables in the parking lot to eat. Benches are also placed along the walkway.
Tip 1: if you are staying at Morro Bay State Park the entrance fee to this museum is FREE
Tip 2: Take a walk around the rock the museum sits on and climb high to the top (high above the museum and parking lot) to see even better views. Watch younger kids, becasue there are steep drop offs.
Tip 3: Take a short walk below the museum to the sandy beach.
I liked that this museum was not too big and overwhelming with the amount of exhibits, which suited my young ones (4yo and 2yo) and held their interest. It wasn't too crowded which made it easy to push our 5 month old in a stroller. Although some of the material may have gone over their heads a little, it was a good jumping off point to discuss topics such as geology, science and the importance of recycling. My kiddos also enjoyed the puppet theater play area. The gift shop has a nice little selection of ocean-themed books.
This museum is not your typical "filled with dead stuffed animals and posters" sort of place. It is filled with interactive exhibits that teach concepts about the bay. As an adult I find it to be very enjoyable. The docents who work there are great! Please chat with them. They are friendly and knowledgeable. Inquire there about free walks, talks and the Junior Ranger program in the park.
We had a great little day trip here!
My husband found this museum somehow and it was great! My eight month old squealed with delight at many of their exhibits.
I have to admit, much of the information that's intended for children I myself did not know, despite my extra-long stay at UC Davis. Let's just say that this was definitely worth the 2-3 $ admission fee. Baby got in free.
For example: did you know that Morro Rock is the result of volcanic activity? You see, I did not know this.
It's very informative and colorful, but the facility could use a little maintenance... some of the exhibits weren't working properly, it seemed... but it's definitely worth 2-3 $, and I bought my baby a couple of birds from the Audobon (with real calls!) that made the ride come on HWY 1 much more enjoyable. Overall, the trip was most definitely a success. Must do if you're in Morro Bay for any length of time with young (<8) children or particularly curious older children :).
We love the remodeling that's taken place here! It's extremely hands on for the kiddos and does a really good job displaying the changing coast line as well as animals and critters that live in the water and on the beach. Outside of the museum is a really great lookout spot at the top of hill that's really easy and fun to hike up (stroller passage isn't great). We love picnicing up there!
From the outside this little museum does not look like much but step inside and, wow, what a surprise! They have done a great job with the remodel and it is definitely worth a visit. We love to take our little girl (age 3) to the museum on rainy days. She loves to sit and look out at the Bay after exploring all that the museum has to offer. This is a great way to spend an hour or two.
This museum is small but fun for the kids. It is in a beautiful setting so it is easy to make a day trip out of going to the museum and the surrounding area of Morro Bay. There is a lot of interactive play opportunities for the kids and the price of the museum is inexpensive. Worth a trip.
I was so excited to visit the Museum of Natural History after it was remodeled a few years ago. It is very hands on and my sons love it (ages 1-5). We go during the weekdays when it's less crowded and pretty much have the place to ourselves. We love learning about the Chumash Indians, whales, geology, sea otters, and more. At the entrance to the museum, there is an excellent rock that you walk on the trails to the top of and can have a picnic lunch with your family overlooking the bay. It's so much fun!
Traditional and educational interpretive displays of local marine life, geology, and thehistory and culture of Native peoples predominate. Video presentations in the audtorium. This is the last remaining blue heron rookery reserve between San Francisco and Mexico. These rare birds can be observed from hiking trails on the museum grounds.
We've been here a few times and really enjoyed the hands-on exhibits. Kids can learn a lot about being good stewards of our earth while seeing the bay and animals that live there. There is a really nice park nearby (Tidelands Park I think) where you can have a picnic and let kids run wild. Other Morro Bay favorites--The Seashell Shop, The Whale's Tail restaurant, and of course, the rock.