View Attractions Related to: *Top San Diego Museums*

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Explore San Diego’s Top Museums

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San Diego is usually best associated with its outdoor attractions that take advantage of the great year-round weather. What most tourists don’t realize is San Diego offers a plethora of great museums that are among the best of their kind in the country.

San Diego’s Natural History Museum is one of the oldest museums west of the Mississippi River and has benefited from the fact there is more fossil history representing the last seven million years found in San Diego’s desert than anywhere else.

Our Sports and Model Railroad Museums are the largest of their kind in the country.

The Timken Museum of Art, which houses the works of Old World Masters, is free to the public.

San Diego’s great climate has attracted the world’s best aviators and airplane manufacturers for over 100 years, leaving an aviation history that is unparalleled and represented at several local museums.

Our Fleet Science Center was home to the first IMAX Globe Theater in the country and is now the first to become home to the newest generation of IMAX Globes.

Come visit the unsung heroes of San Diego tourism. Open your eyes to new experiences by selecting each of the picture tabs above or review the summaries of the Most Popular below and explore the museums of San Diego.

San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum

Location: Downtown San Diego (North Embarcadero)

Open Daily: Entrance Allowed 10AM – 4PM (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas)

Cost: $18 ($10 for Kids ages 6-17 and $15 for Seniors 62+). Parking Costs Extra.

Features: USS Midway – Longest Serving Aircraft Carrier in U.S. Naval History; Over 40 Exhibits, including Fighter Planes; Simulator Rides

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San Diego Maritime Museum

Location: Downtown San Diego (North Embarcadero)

Open Daily: 9AM – 8PM (9PM during Summer)

Cost: $14 ($8 for Kids ages 6-12 and $11 for Students, Military, and Seniors 62+). Parking Costs Extra.

Features: Oldest Active Ship in the World; National Historic Landmarks; U.S. & Soviet Submarines; Nine Maritime Exhibitions, Ships used in the Movies Amistad & Master and Commander; Sailing Adventures.

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San Diego Natural History Museum

Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 5PM; Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

Cost: $17 ($11 for Kids ages 3-12 and $15 for Seniors 62+)

Features: Dinosaur and Mastodon Artifacts; Over 8.2 Million Artifacts in all; World Class Visiting Exhibitions; Giant Movie Screen for Enjoying Nature Films.

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San Diego Air & Space Museum

Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4:30PM (Must enter by 4PM). Open until 5:30PM during Summer. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Cost: $16.50 ($6 for Kids ages 3-11 and $13.50 for Seniors, Military, Students)

Features: One of the Nation’s Best Aerospace Museums; San Diego has the Richest Aviation History in the World

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Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Generally open 9:30AM -  8PM Summer & Weekends (5PM on Winter Weekdays)

Cost: $10 ($8.75 for Kids ages 3-12 and Seniors 65+); Additional Cost for IMAX Movies

Features: Over 100 Hands-on Science Exhibits, Southern California’s only IMAX Dome Theater, Planetarium, Simulator Ride.

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San Diego Museum of Art

Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 5PM. (Opens at 12PM on Sundays; Stays Open Until 9PM on Thursdays through Labor Day.) Closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Cost: $12 ($4.50 for Kids ages 6-17 and $9 for Seniors 65+)

Features: Paintings from Old World Masters; Popular Works from French Impressionists; Largest Collection of South Asian Art in America; Numerous Exhibitions available at the Museum and Online.

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Timken Museum of Art

Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4:30PM. (Opens at 1:30PM on Sundays). Closed on Mondays and Holidays.

Cost: Free

Features: World-Class Collection from European Masters (especially Dutch and Flemish), American Art, and Russian Icons; One of the Great Small Museums of the World

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San Diego Museum of Man

Location: Balboa Park (3 Miles Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4:30PM. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day

Cost: $10 ($5 for Kids ages 3 – 12, $7.50 for Seniors and Students)

Features: Anthropology Museum Famous for its Galleries covering 4 Million Years of Human Evolution; a Children’s Discovery Center; Ancient Egyptian Exhibition; Extensive Collection of Pre-Columbian Artifacts.

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National Museum of Making Music

Location: Carlsbad (32 Miles / 35 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 5PM (Closed on Mondays)

Cost: $7 ($5 for Students 4 – 18 and Seniors 60+)

Features: History of Music; Huge Collection of Musical Instruments; Music Exhibitions and Events

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California Surf Museum

Location: Oceanside (38 Miles / 40 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4PM. (8PM on Thursdays)

Cost: $5 ($3 for Students, Military, and Seniors 62+; Free for kids)

Features: State of California Surf Museum covering the History of Surfing in California; Skateboarding Memorabilia

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Mission San Luis Rey Museum

Location: Oceanside (42 Miles / 45 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Entry Allowed 10AM – 4PM

Cost: $6 ($5 for Seniors 65+, $4 for Kids 6-18)

Features: Largest Mission in California; Historic Water Conservation System; Oil Paintings; Abraham Lincoln Signed Document

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