Explore the Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay State Park

Friday, March 1st, 2024

Museum of Natural History Morro Bay

Bring the family, learn the natural history of Morro Bay through interactive, educational displays—


trip to California’s Central Coast is not complete without visiting the Museum of Natural History. Visitors experience a deep dive into Morro Bay’s natural history through educational and interactive displays. There is much to learn about the region including the variety of natural habitats, the bountiful wildlife and the Chumash and Salinan cultures.

In the 1950s, the Department of Parks and Recreation developed plans to open regional museums throughout the state. The Morro Bay Museum of Natural History opened in 1962 and is the only natural history museum in the California State Park system.

The museum serves as both an educational and exhibit space and a research center. More than 50,000 people visit the museum annually, including thousands of students participating in the free State Park Interpreter school group programs and distance learning programs. These field trips meet California’s required science and social studies standards.

The young and young at heart learn about Chumash and Salinan culture and participate in activities found nowhere else on the Central Coast. Adults can enjoy one of the many lectures, displays, videos, or events. Each visit reveals something new and the hands-on activities change monthly. Rotating exhibits are featured seasonally in the auditorium.

natural history Morro Bay Natural History Museum

“The staff of the museum provides engaging and informative programs that highlight and celebrate the natural wonders of the Central Coast. It is an incredibly valuable resource for our community,” says Robyn Chase, California State Parks Interpretive Program Manager.

“Join the staff for a nature walk, ask questions and discover more about Morro Rock, the dunes, the estuary, or the Heron Rookery Natural Preserve,” invites Chase.

“Visitors to the museum love to browse the well-stocked gift shop,” says Kristin Howland, Executive Director of the Central Coast State Parks Association. “The Central Coast State Parks Association takes pride in the selection of merchandise in the museum store, which benefits the park’s educational programs. Find a unique offering of books, gifts, and apparel all featuring the wonders of Morro Bay State Park that make for great shopping choices for any occasion.”

Albatross: Life on the Wind exhibit

Albatross: Life on the Wind runs from late December 2023 through April 2024. Explore albatross biology and their conservation with colorful art and engaging, informative text. Albatrosses soar effortlessly over the churning sea and through storms off the California coast. These ancient creatures have been misunderstood throughout history, blamed for bad weather and ridiculed for their clumsy gait on land. But what is life really like for an albatross? Discover the albatross at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History.

Visit the museum

There is a $3 entry fee for anyone 18 or over. The California State Park Adventure Pass provides free entry for 4th graders and their families to 19 amazing parks, including the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History!

The museum’s programs, including lectures, interpretive events, exhibits, and hands-on explorations. are funded by the Central Coast State Parks Association.

The Museum of Natural History at Morro Bay State Park is located at 20 State Park Rd., Morro Bay. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, call (805) 772-2694 or visit www.centralcoastparks.org.

– Cassandra Frey


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