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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 347 Properties near Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages $134
Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages

Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages

1100 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 1,333 reviews
    2.5 out of 5.0

    Situated near the airport, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of 17-Mile Drive and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    Centrella Inn $119
    Centrella Inn

    Centrella Inn

    612 Central Ave, Pacific Grove
       
      4.3
      of 5, from 590 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 and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fisherman's Wharf and Point Pinos Lighthouse are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay $188
      Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

      Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

      Two Portola Plaza, Monterey
         
        4.2
        of 5, from 3,217 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Just 200 yards from Fisherman's Wharf, this resort borders Custom House Plaza, with the beach and sparkling bay just beyond; Cannery Row and the aquarium are a short walk away.

        Lovers Point Inn $149
        Lovers Point Inn

        Lovers Point Inn

        625 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove
           
          3.5
          of 5, from 1,796 reviews
          2.0 out of 5.0

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

          Asilomar Conference Grounds $162
          Asilomar Conference Grounds

          Asilomar Conference Grounds

          800 Asilomar Blvd, Pacific Grove
             
            3.7
            of 5, from 865 reviews
            2.0 out of 5.0

            Nestled on the beach, this Pacific Grove hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of 17-Mile Drive and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Monterey Bay Aquarium is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away.

            Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa $249
            Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

            Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

            400 Cannery Row, Monterey
               
              4.6
              of 5, from 2,159 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.

              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 479 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 and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fisherman's Wharf and Point Pinos Lighthouse 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 within 1 mi (2 km) of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fisherman's Wharf and Point Pinos Lighthouse are also within 3 mi (5 km).