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Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Step into a field guide to the Californian Central Coast, packed with local birdlife, marine life and Native American culture. 

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History offers insight into the local animal and plant life, geology and human history of Pacific Grove and the surrounding areas. The museum’s roots date back to a group of ecologically- and historically-minded locals in 1879. Today, it’s grown into a dynamic center that inspires wonder, discovery and stewardship. 

Start with a visit to the life-size whale in front of the building. Sandy the gray whale is one of the museum’s most popular attractions, particularly for children. Inside, explore the Cetacean Room, which features spectacular bones from marine mammals. Don’t miss the skeleton of an orca suspended the from the ceiling. 

Monterey County has one of the most diverse bird populations in the U.S, most of which you’ll find represented in the museum’s bird collection. The collection contains 409 wall-mounted birds representing nearly 300 species from the finch family to the majestic California Condor. 

The museum also focuses on the geological history of the area and has rock specimens dating back tens of millions of years. Wander through the Native Plant Garden, which recreates the main ecosystems of Monterey County: coastal scrub, chaparral and oak woodland. There’s also a butterfly garden teeming with monarch butterflies, which can be observed up-close through telescopes. 

Monterey County has a rich Native American history. Local tribes thrived even after Spanish colonization. The museum displays artifacts found in Pacific Grove that date back over 5,000 years, including tools essential for daily life. The Native Plant Garden also has a section devoted to plants grown by Native Americans. 

The museum also features more contemporary displays. Step inside the Spirit Nest, an interactive tube made of interwoven oak, willow and plum boughs created by artist Jayson Fann.

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is located in central Pacific Grove, a 9-minute drive from Monterey. Buses also go to Pacific Grove from downtown Monterey. Allow one to two hours to see the museum, which is free to enter and open Tuesday through Sunday.  


Guide to Exploring around Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History


Best Lodging Options Near Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

See all 557 Properties near Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa $224
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of Monterey, this luxury resort is within a 5-minute walk of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Lovers Point are also within 2 mi (3 km).

    InterContinental the Clement Monterey $179
    InterContinental the Clement Monterey

    InterContinental the Clement Monterey

    750 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated on the waterfront, this luxury hotel is steps from Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum, Cannery Row, and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and 17-Mile Drive are also within 2 mi (3 km).

      Pacific Grove Inn $79
      Pacific Grove Inn

      Pacific Grove Inn

      581 Pine Ave, Pacific Grove, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Jameson's Classic Motorcycle Museum, Monterey Bay, and 17-Mile Drive. Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km).

        Lovers Point Inn $99
        Lovers Point Inn

        Lovers Point Inn

        625 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA
           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Pacific Grove, this motel is steps from Oceanview Boulevard, Monterey Bay, and Lovers Point. 17-Mile Drive and Cannery Row are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          Centrella Inn $134
          Centrella Inn

          Centrella Inn

          612 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in the heart of Pacific Grove, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Bay, and Lovers Point. 17-Mile Drive and Cannery Row are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            Lighthouse Lodge And Cottages $80
            Lighthouse Lodge And Cottages

            Lighthouse Lodge And Cottages

            1150 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pacific Grove Golf Links and 17-Mile Drive. Monterey Bay and Lovers Point are also within 1 mi (2 km).

              Spindrift Inn $199
              Spindrift Inn

              Spindrift Inn

              652 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Monterey, this beachfront hotel is in the historical district, just steps from Cannery Row and Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Carlos Beach - The Breakwater are also within 10 minutes.

                Gosby House Inn, A Four Sisters Inn
                Gosby House Inn, A Four Sisters Inn

                Gosby House Inn, A Four Sisters Inn

                643 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Pacific Grove, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Bay, and Lovers Point. 17-Mile Drive and Cannery Row are also within 1 mi (2 km).