The Morro Bay Museum of Natural History is located within Morro Bay State Park. The museum is situated on a hill above the bay and has panoramic views of the estuary, sandspit, Morro Rock and the Pacific Ocean. As the only Natural History Museum in the California State Park system, the museum features hands-on interpretive exhibits for visitors of all ages. The museum is open daily from 10am-5pm. Friendly and knowledgeable staff members are available to answer visitors’ questions, and distribute park literature, such as maps and brochures.
(Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day Weekend)
Interpretive staff offer free, fun summer programs in the Morro Bay State Park campground day use area and the downstairs Learning Lab at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History. Check out the events calendar page for the program schedule.
Junior Ranger Programs are designed for children ages 7 - 12 years old and may include a fun lesson, a hands-on activity, craft or guided hike adventure around the park! Children will enjoy joining State Park Interpreters for fun activities to learn about the outdoors and will earn a Junior Ranger badge!
Campfire Programs are hosted in the Morro Bay State Park Campfire Center, located towards the back of the campground. Join State Park Interpreters and special guest speakers around the community campfire on for fun and interactive presentations about local wildlife and cultural topics. All ages welcome.
Family Fun Days and Art in the Park Days are events hosted in the day use area of Morro Bay State Park Campground. Various themed activities and crafts are designed with a drop-in schedule and are welcoming for visitors of all ages! All children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the program.
Public Education Programs
Adventures with Nature (Year Round)
Adventures with Nature Interpretive Programs are guided walks and talks facilitated by California State Park Staff and Volunteers. All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. These fun, free programs are exploratory in nature, revolving around cultural and natural resources in the coastal California State Parks in San Luis Obispo County.
For a full list of upcoming public events, please check the Adventures with Nature program schedule.
TK-12 School Programs
School programs offered at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History are led by State Park Interpreters and reflect the current school standards, including NGSS, CCSS, and environmental literacy curriculum. Our programs are adaptable and strive to accommodate all students.
Spaces are limited and any school group planning to visit the park and/or museum needs a reservation in advance, including all self-guided and home school groups. All programs are free of charge for students, teachers and chaperones.
Programs generally run for two hours on Fridays from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and depending on the class size, programs will include three or four rotations. Lessons for each rotation may include:
- A guided outdoor exploration of the mudflats at Windy Cove to learn about the ecology of the estuary habitat
- A guided outdoor nature walk to learn about Marine Protected Areas and how scientists use tools such as binoculars to collect data in the park
- A hands-on lesson in the museum learning lab to study the adaptations of the Southern Sea Otter, a keystone species and classified as threatened
- A rotation through the Museum of Natural History where students can learn at their own pace with their peers through self-guided exploration of the hands-on displays
We also offer fully self-guided opportunities for teachers wishing to visit the park and museum on their own with their students during the museum's normal business hours.
For more information, including information about our home school programs and self-guided options, please contact State Park Interpreter Francesca Manheim at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 712-4816.
Bus and Transportation Grants
Does your school serve predominantly low-income students, and is transportation cost preventing you from accessing California State Parks? The Central Coast State Parks Association (CCSPA) is a cooperating association with California State Parks. Thanks to a generous grant from PG&E, funds are available to provide FREE transportation to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History. Grants are processed directly through CCSPA and are awarded on a rolling basis until total fund is depleted. Please contact CCSPA directly at email@example.com to apply today.
Facility Rentals/Film Permits/Weddings
Special events require an advanced permit through the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Please contact the district event coordinator, Aja Milne at firstname.lastname@example.org