San Diego Natural History Museum

San Diego

San Diego, California: Horizontal view of a mother and her two children going to the Natural History Museum entrance, Balboa Park

Conchi Martínez/Getty

The 'Nat' houses 7.5 million specimens, including rocks, minerals, fossils and taxidermied animals, as well as an impressive dinosaur skeleton and an eye-opening exhibit on how climate change affects California's water supply, all in beautiful spaces. Kids love the 2-D and 3-D movies about the natural world in the giant-screen cinema and the fun and educational programs held most weekends.

Special exhibits (some with an extra charge) mix things up several times a year. The museum also arranges field trips and nature walks in Balboa Park and further afield.