Get ready for endless museum-hopping fun because San Diego Museum Month is back! Residents and visitors of San Diego get half-price admission at over 40 museums for the month of February. Just pick up a free Museum Month pass at over 75 library locations in the San Diego area. Passes are free and reusable and good for up to four half-price admissions at participating museums. We’ve put together a list of some particularly epic exhibits you can’t miss. Read on for everything you need to know!

Whammock & tikitiko at The New Children's Museum

What could be more fun than climbing, bouncing and swinging your way across a giant, rainbow hammock? The New Children's Museum's installation, Whammock! will make kids downright giddy. The colorful 28’x 20’ interactive, three-dimensional textile environment is artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam’s first large-scale work at a museum in the United States. The two-ton structure took nearly 3,600 hours to construct from over 40 miles of braided nylon. The 14 hand-dyed colors reflect MacAdam’s impression of the San Diego environment and landscape, including references to California poppies, the ocean and Mexican cultural influences.

While you're there, let your little ones unwind in the reimagined Tot Studio, called tikitiko, created by internationally acclaimed artist, designer and craftsperson Tanya Aguiñiga. The space is designed for toddlers and caregivers to make meaningful experiential connections around abstract, animal shaped forms covered in colorful, soft and furry textiles.

These are just two of the many amazing spaces kids can explore on your visit!

Online: thinkplaycreate.org

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Insects Face to Face & Living Lab at San Diego Natural History Museum

Insects Face to Face is a photography exhibit that bug-loving kids and bug phobic kids alike will find utterly fascinating. You've never had a chance to see insects this up close before! Filled with outstanding colors, mysterious textures, and seemingly alien shapes, the amazing macro photography brings insects into human-scale and makes them more than a dot on the wall or on a petal. Come face to face with a world rarely seen by the human eye––and you may just find that some insects are actually cute.

Living Lab also brings you eye to eye with some creatures that are rarely seen by humans. The Nat is taking these animals out of their Vivarium and into the public gallery as part of their Living Lab exhibit. You can behold spectacles from the stinging and scaly to the fuzzy and flesh-eating, including an impressive red diamond rattlesnake, an observation bee hive, a Gila monster, several centipedes and arachnids, and more.

Don't miss The Nat's two new 3D films that will open Feb. 17: Dinosaurs of Antarctica and Museum Alive for even more educational thrills.

Online: sdnhm.org

Brain: The World Inside Your Head & Mindbender Mansion at Fleet Science Center

Get ready for a hands-on and up-close look at the human body's most essential organ with Brain: The World Inside Your Head in the Fleet's intriguing exhibition that explores the mechanics and mystique of the brain.

Was Einstein's brain bigger? What brain disorder afflicted Abraham Lincoln? Designed to appeal to audiences of all ages, Brain: The World Inside Your Head employs innovative special effects, 3-D reproductions, virtual reality, hands-on learning activities and interactive technology to delve into the inner workings of the brain. You can walk into a shimmering tunnel, the midst of a functioning human brain, where flashing fiber-optics illuminate networks of neurons firing and communicating. Additionally, a gallery of animal brains prompts basic questions: How is our brain the same as those of other animals? How are we different? You may also explore the revitalizing nature of sleep and the process of individual brain development. These are just a few experiences to be enjoyed via this exhibit! There are many more that will give you a new appreciation of the brain.

Another new can't miss exhibit not to miss is Mindbender Mansion. It's an eclectic place full of puzzles, brainteasers and interactive challenges guaranteed to test the brainpower and problem-solving skills of even the most experienced puzzlers. Adults and kids will enjoy exercising their minds as they try to master each of the 11 individual brain teasers and the three group activities, which encourage intergenerational play in this fun and unconventional new exhibition.

There are brainteasers you can solve on your own and larger group challenges that require assistance from their friends and family. The group challenges include:

  • Feeding Frenzy-Kitchen mayhem is guaranteed in a race to beat the clock by filling T.V. dinner trays (with five kinds of food) on a fast-moving conveyer belt.
  • Spelling Fever-Visitors will race to correctly spell answers to trivia questions, within a limited amount of time, by hopping on letter squares that light up.
  • Amazing Maze-In this version of the classic steel ball labyrinth game visitors must work together to tilt a table in different directions, guiding a ball into six holes as quickly as possible or within the allotted time.

It's sure to be a mind-blowing good time!

Online: rhfleet.org

Seadragons & Seahorses at Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium’s newest exhibit Seadragons & Seahorses is a stunning site to behold. Believed to be the largest seadragon display in the world, this habitat has been designed to create an ideal environment to breed seadragons–– something that has never been done in captivity before––while giving guests a peek into the work the Aquarium’s renowned Husbandry Team is doing to ensure that these species survive into the future. Dappled light, dramatic photography and larger-than-life imagery set the scene as guests learn how to observe these animals the way scientists do: by noticing the unique features that distinguish individual animals and identifying courtship and mating behaviors that will make their breeding program a success.

For even more fun: feed a seahorse on Birch Aquarium's Behind-the-Scenes tour offered at 10:30 a.m. daily!

Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu

SPACE: Our Greatest Adventure at San Diego Air & Space Museum

Blast off to this exhibit! Explore the San Diego Air & Space Museum's latest special exhibit, SPACE: Our Greatest Adventure, a fun, interactive experience for heroes of all ages.

Informative and enjoyable, SPACE: Our Greatest Adventure features hands-on activities, including touch screens and video boards, space ships and space suits kids can climb into, and a Space Shuttle simulator where they can land the shuttle or dock it with the International Space Station. SPACE also includes electronic learning stations offering a glimpse at the careers available for future space enthusiasts and trivia-based flip boards answering the most burning questions related to space.

Don't miss experiencing the Museum's 3D/4D theater, their flight simulators, and the Kid’s Aviation Action Hangar.

Online: sandiegoairandspace.org

Turtle Lagoon at Living Coast Discovery Center

Watch in amazement as Eastern Pacific green sea turtles swim to greet you at Living Coast Discovery Center's Turtle Lagoon. You'll spy them up close in an underwater view and you'll also get to explore the exhibit to learn more about these endangered creatures. 

The Living Coast Discovery Center is filled with additional explorations including the Shark & Ray Experience, Raptor Row and Shorebird Aviary. Time spent here will give kids deeper understanding and respect for marine life and San Diego's native creatures.

Online: thelivingcoast.org

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum is pricey, so this month is the perfect time to visit, given the 50% discount on admission. Spending a day on this largest aircraft carrier in the world that you can tour is sure to entertain your whole family. From hopping into aircraft cockpits and seeing fighter planes and giant naval helicopters to navigating the complex passageways of the lower deck and joining the Junior Pilot Program, take advantage of San Diego Museum Month to have this memorable family adventure!

Online: midway.org

See a list of all of the museums participating in San Diego Museum Month Feb. 1-29 here.

Online: sandiegomuseumcouncil.org

-–Beth Shea

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