Visit the best museums in San Luis Obispo County
–There is no contest when it comes to the natural beauty of San Luis Obispo County. The rolling hills and fresh air that border the California coastline are open for all visitors. And there is no better way to learn about the area than to visit some of the many museums in San Luis Obispo County. Here, we have compiled a list of some of the best museums in San Luis Obispo County:
Cambria Historical Museum
The Cambria Historical Museum is located in the newly restored Guthrie-Bianchini House and Gardens. It is open 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday to Sunday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays. Find it at 2251 Center St., Cambria. Admission is free. For more information, call (805) 927-2891. cambriahistoricalsociety.com
Camp Roberts Historical Museum and Museum annex
Come and check out vintage military vehicles and exhibits from WWII through the Iraq war. The museum is open Thursdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s located at Camp Roberts, which is 12 miles north of Paso Robles on Highway 101. Admission is free. Call (805) 286-6431 for group reservations. www.camprobertshistoricalmuseum.com
Central Coast Aquarium
The warm south-facing coastline isn’t the only attraction in Avila Beach. For people who love the ocean and all the critters in it, there is the Avila Beach Sea Life Center. Just yards from the sand is the two-story sandstone-colored building that is home to the center, where marine aquariums and exhibits about life in the ocean and the estuary are housed. Come to Avila Beach and stop in to visit the marine creatures. On Saturdays, a feeding tour is offered at noon, and general admission tours run daily at 2:00. Tours last 40 minutes and are on a walk-in basis. Visitors can also make tour reservations for groups of up to 20 people. The center is located at 50 San Juan St, Avila Beach, Calif. Call (805) 595-7280.
Dallidet Adobe and Gardens History Center of San Luis Obispo County
Dallidet Adobe and Gardens is a preserved three-room adobe from the mid-19th century, with a Mediterranean garden including redwood trees and some original trees up to 125 feet tall. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Sundays. It’s located at 1185 Pacific St., San Luis Obispo. For more information, call (805) 543-0638 ext. 10 or visit historycenterslo.org.
Estrella Warbirds Museum
The Estrella Warbirds Museum showcases American aircrafts, vehicles and artifacts. The museum is open Thursday through Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday holidays; group tours by appointment. Admission is $10; $5 for ages 6 to 12; and free for 5 and under. The museum is located at 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, Calif. Call (805) 227-0440 or (805) 238-3897 to schedule a group tour. www.ewarbirds.org
Tours of Hearst Castle, the former residence of publisher William Randolph Hearst, are available every day. Evening tours are available in the spring and fall. The castle and musuem are located at 750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, Calif. Call (800) 444-4445 for reservations, or (805) 927-2020 for information. www.hearstcastle.com
Museum of Natural History at Morro Bay State Park
Paso Robles Children’s Museum
The Paso Robles Children’s Museum in downtown Paso Robles opened its doors in 2007, and has since had over 100,000 visitors. The museum’s historic home was once the volunteer firehouse serving Paso Robles, and when the Children’s Museum moved into the space its theme was designed to reflect the building’s history. The building still resembles a classic firehouse, and the fireman’s pole is still located in the main area of the museum. The museum is located at 623 13th St. in the heart of Downtown Paso Robles. (805) 238-7432. Click here for hours of operation.
Paso Robles Pioneer Museum
The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum offers a large collection of visual and written history preserving the cultural heritage of the Paso Robles area. It is open Thursdays through Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June through August; tours after hours by appointment. The Pioneer Museum is located at 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, Calif. (805) 239-4556. www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org
Rios-Caledonia Adobe in San Miguel
A century-old inn and stage stop on the old mission trail between San Francisco and San Diego, this adobe is located on grounds that once belonged to Mission San Miguel and is now part of the San Luis Obispo Parks Department. The “Friends of the Adobe” provides members the opportunity to support and keep in touch with history of the area. The Adobe is California Historical Landmark #936. Come view its collection of historic antiques. The adobe is open Fridays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 700 S. Mission St., San Miguel, Calif. (805) 467-3357.
San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum
For families with young children, check out the Children’s Museum. From miniature sets to inspire imaginations, to the hands on activities, there is no shortage of fun learning here. Many of the exhibits are more than what they seem and not only children will delight in the new discoveries that can be made. Located at 1010 Nipomo St, San Luis Obispo. They are open Tues thru Wed 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thurs thru Sat 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (805) 544-5437 or visit www.slocm.org.
San Luis Obispo County History Center
Open for sixty years now, the History Center of San Luis Obispo County is the catch all for everything you need to know about the history of SLO County. There is a research room filled with correspondences, newspapers, directories, maps and more. Historic photos and catalogs are available to view and outline the history of the people and culture developed in San Luis Obispo.The History Center of San Luis Obispo County is a non-profit successor organization to the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society. Housed in the historic Carnegie Library building it includes a gallery, research room, and gift shop.The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Tuesdays, where they are closed. It’s located at 696 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo. Learn more at historycenterslo.org or by calling (805) 543-0638.
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
At the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, all manner of artwork is on display, including sculptures, paintings, photography and other fine crafts. Beyond the exhibitions, educational courses are offered, as well as documentaries to help navigate the current exhibits. There is also a permanent collection that was gathered by Arne Nybak, a volunteer curator who contributed to the museums early ventures. It’s free admission to see the contemporary artwork of California residents at 1010 Broad St, San Luis Obispo. They are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Monday. To contact, call (805)543-8562 or go to www.sloma.org for more information.
San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum
Stop by and visit the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum. The museum has a wide array of displays and artifacts covering railroads and topics such as Surf, Santa Maria Valley, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, the Pacific Coast Railway, Amtrak, Port San Luis, Orchard Express, and more! The museum is located at 1940 Santa Barbara Ave in San Luis Obispo and is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children. Kids under 3 are free. For more information call (805) 548-1894 or visit their website at slorrm.com.
San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Museum
The San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Museum’s mission is to honor all veterans past and present with an emphasis on veterans from the Central Coast who served in the United States military. The museum recognizes their contributions through exhibits of military artifacts, historic memorabilia, and a research library. Visitors can browse exhibits of World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, The Cold War, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The museum is located at 801 Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Admission is free and the museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information call (805) 543-1763 or visit their website at www.vetmuseum.org.
Templeton Historical Museum
A little white house, sitting back several feet off South Main Street, contains a wealth of information about historic Templeton. The house is part of a three-building complex that makes up the Templeton Historical Museum. All are invited to stop in for a visit soon. Explore memorabilia of Templeton’s early residents.The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is located at 309 South Main St., Templeton, Calif. (805) 434-0807. www.templetonmuseum.com
There are many other museums and galleries in San Luis Obispo. For art buffs, a great time to visit the streets of San Luis Obispo is the first Friday of the month for Art After Dark, at 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., where galleries and museums offer up a chance to meet artists and to view the newest exhibits. It’s not just the galleries, either. Upcoming performers play at local shops enhancing the fun artistic vibe. There is no shortage of talent in San Luis Obispo County and this event ensures everyone a chance to enjoy it. Look for more about it at www.artsobispo.org/art-after-dark/what-is-art-after-dark.