Visiting with Kids

The Museum is a GREAT place to bring older and younger children for educational fun. Below are suggestions to get the most out of your visit with children and to be their super smart teacher.

Scavenger Hunt (All ages)

The hunt is on! Ask for a Scavenger Hunt list from the front desk or lobby and begin the adventure. Search the Museum galleries for a whale eyeball and other oddities. Look for opportunities to touch actual specimens like baleen and fossils. Find everything on the list and each child can turn in their completed list for a free surprise in the Museum Store. (Don't ruin the surprise, but the prize is a piece of the mineral pyrite also known as fool's gold. It is an iron sulfide.)

Monarchs Come Home Exhibition

  • Trace butterflies on a light table. Bring it home or pin it up for display in the gallery. (age 4+)
  • Act out the entire monarch life cycle. Pretend you're an egg (egg stage) under a leaf. Become a caterpillar (larva stage) crawl into a hand-made caterpillar costume and pretend to eat a lot of milkweed. Crawl into our chrysalis chair to magically turn into a chrysalis (pupae stage) and emerge a beautiful butterfly (adult stage). (age 2-8)

Birds (All ages)

Get up-close-and-personal with your favorite bird (without it flying away) with the Museum's comprehensive collection of birds of Monterey County. Most of this taxidermy collection came to the Museum in the late 1800s, early 1900s, when scientists used these specimens to study animals.

  • Flying activity: For kids with extra energy, try this simulation of flying. Everyone spread out at arm’s length so you can flap your wings without hitting anyone else. Now we’re going to try out our wings...
    • You’re soaring like an albatross or a condor. Stretch out your wings all the way, even your fingers. The air currents lift your wings and the rest of your body hangs from your wings for hours at a time, gently turning and gliding.
    • Now you’re a great-blue heron, slowly flapping your great wings up and down with a steady beat—all the way down, all the way up, all the way down....
    • You’re a pelican—flap, flap, up, up—then glide and drift—then flap, flap—glide and soar....
    • You’re a dove with short wings and sharp, hard feathers that whistle when you beat your wings. Short, sharp furious wing beats—flapflapflap—then fold your wings back and glide, diving and twisting—then flapflapflap—now a short glide....
    • Now you’re a roadrunner—fold up your wings and walk!
    • Let’s see how sharp you are, I’ll call out a bird and you fly: Condor, Pelican, Roadrunner, Heron, Dove

Predator or Prey (All ages)

Directly on your left as you enter the Heritage wing is a great little display of predator skulls. Notice how the predator skulls allow for both eyes to face forward. This helps with depth perception to catch prey. Notice the black-tailed deer to the right. Their eyes are on the sides of the face to be able to see animals coming their way to protect themselves. Look in the mirror on the wall. Where are your eyes located?

Fossil Dig Pit (All ages)

Each week we seed our pebble pit with real fossils. Children love looking through the pebbles to find the fossils and each child can take one fossil home. Observation is the heart of science, but you don't have to tell them that they're learning! (ADA Note: The dig pit has two raised bowls at differing heights also for digging through pebbles looking for fossils.)

Spirit Nest (All ages)

Climb inside our Spirit Nest -yes your whole family can fit. Children love to pretend they're birds, hibernating bears, or some newly discovered species. Ask your little one why they would want to live in a next as opposed to living on the ground? What's the advantage of living in a house? (ADA note: The Museum's Willow Tunnel is another great place to hide and pretend you're in a nest. Can you think of different types of bird nests made of different materials?) 

Surrounding Area

Across from the Museum is Jewel Park with a little gazebo which is great for a picnic. Alternatively, one block up on Lighthouse Avenue, you can grab lunch from a variety of restaurants in historic downtown PG. Walk two blocks to the water and enjoy a child-friendly beach, Lover's Cove, or walk the recreation trail looking for seals, otters, and birds. Also at Lover's Cove is a fresh water child's pool that is open to the public during the summer in the afternoons. $2-$4 per person; check The Stillwell Children's Pool for details. (ADA note: The Child's pool is ADA accessible.)