Everyone’s curious about what happens behind-the-scenes at San Diego Natural History Museum––and their newest exhibit, Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage gives visitors a rare look into the belly of the beast. Your budding scientist will be thrilled to have the chance to view the museum’s research collection and hidden storage areas which house over 8 million items. You’ll get to see more than 250 specimens representing 150 species––from tiny beetles to whale bones to brilliant gems, discover what scientists collect that’s heretofore never been seen by the public eye. Read on for the details!

A Closer Look at Wondrous Creatures
Creature delights from big to small! The largest specimen in the exhibit is 16-feet-long by 5-feet-wide and weighs 400-500 pounds (it’s the lower jaw of a sperm whale). You’ll also spy massive bats and a narwhal husk––which tykes will say is from a water unicorn (it’s narrow and tall). Plus, your little explorer will be amazed by the 20-foot-long Anaconda snake skin!


Roll Like a Museum Scientist
There’ll be cool things on display that are usually only within the scientists’ view. With an eye on local collections from SoCal to Baja, you’ll see animals like the bear above from Ramona. For little learners who love a closer look, The Nat left specimens in storage blankets, on shelves and in crates, as you might see them in the underground vaults––furthering their insight into the experience of what a museum scientist does everyday.

No Longer Hidden From View
Hidden from the public until now: A jar full of rattlesnakes. Check. A giant scorpion and Stag beetle. Check. Come shake a real rattler’s tail and learn about the four different species in San Diego at the museum, then see the preserved rattlesnakes at the Unshelved exhibit up close and personal in specimen jars along with other desert critters. Kids can use the magnifiers to see the details of these curious specimens just like real scientists do.

In Plain Sight
Kids can do a scavenger hunt to find certain exhibit specimens. Plus, there are pop-up activities like crayons and paper to draw the animals that they see. You may catch a time when a docent is present and hear details of each artifact and why it was chosen for the exhibit. Kids will enjoy this exhibit not only for the unique and bizarre items on display, but also for a real look at the mysterious behind the scenes goings-on at The Nat!

Cost: $19/adults; $12/kids 3-17; Members and children 2 and under are free.

The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

San Diego Natural History Museum
Balboa Park
1788 El Prado
San Diego, Ca
619-232-3821
Online: sdnhm.org/unshelved

All photos courtesy of San Diego Natural History Museum.

Has your fam seen the new Unshelved exhibit? Tell us about it below.

-Nikki Walsh