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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.  


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Lodging Near Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

See all 328 Hotels near Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages $86
Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages

Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages

1100 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 1,168 reviews
    2.5 out of 5.0

    Situated near the airport, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    Centrella Inn $115
    Centrella Inn

    Centrella Inn

    612 Central Ave, Pacific Grove
       
      4.3
      of 5, from 561 reviews
      3.5 out of 5.0

      Located in the heart of Pacific Grove, this bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Fisherman's Wharf and Maritime Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Lighthouse Lodge And Cottages $93
      Lighthouse Lodge And Cottages

      Lighthouse Lodge And Cottages

      1150 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove
         
        3.6
        of 5, from 1,886 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Adjacent to a golf course, this Pacific Grove hotel is less than 0.75 mile (1.2 kilometers) from Lovers Point Beach, Point Pinos Lighthouse, and Monarch Grove Sanctuary. Monterey Bay Aquarium is 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) away.

        Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa $219
        Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

        Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

        400 Cannery Row, Monterey
           
          4.6
          of 5, from 2,158 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa sits right on the bay in the center of town, a 15-minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf and 2.5 miles (4 km) from Point Pinos Lighthouse. Carmel, Pebble Beach, and 17-Mile Drive are within a 20-minute drive, and golfers can choose from over 20 courses in the county.

          Lovers Point Inn $89
          Lovers Point Inn

          Lovers Point Inn

          625 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove
             
            3.5
            of 5, from 1,718 reviews
            2.0 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Pacific Grove, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lovers Point, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Fisherman's Wharf and Maritime Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Gosby House Inn, A Four Sisters Inn $165
            Gosby House Inn, A Four Sisters Inn

            Gosby House Inn, A Four Sisters Inn

            643 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove
               
              4.5
              of 5, from 461 reviews
              3.5 out of 5.0

              Located in the heart of Pacific Grove, this bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Fisherman's Wharf and Maritime Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Monterey Rentals, Sweet Pea 2BR 2ba, Sleeps 4
              Monterey Rentals, Sweet Pea 2BR 2ba, Sleeps 4

              Monterey Rentals, Sweet Pea 2BR 2ba, Sleeps 4

              , Pacific Grove
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in Pacific Grove, this vacation home is close to Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Also nearby are St Mary's by the Sea and Lovers Point.

                Monterey Rentals, Lover's Point 1 2BR 1.5ba, Sleeps 4
                Monterey Rentals, Lover's Point 1 2BR 1.5ba, Sleeps 4

                Monterey Rentals, Lover's Point 1 2BR 1.5ba, Sleeps 4

                , Pacific Grove
                   
                  4.6
                  of 5, from 5 reviews
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated by the ocean, this vacation home is close to Lovers Point, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Also nearby are Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and St Mary's by the Sea.