Cost-Adults $10, Students $7, Kids $5
Let's take a break from the upscale art and talk about one of our smaller local museums. The San Bernardino County Museum is a bird of a different color. Not an art museum, not quite a natural history museum and not quite a children's museum, it's more of a cultural history museum with a whole lot of birds thrown in for good measure. They describe themselves as a regional museum with exhibits in cultural and natural history. That about describes it. Oh, and birds, a lot of birds.
The museum has three floors and an outdoor exhibit area. You'll find all sorts of bits and pieces inside, interesting for both young and old, but I find this museum is best appreciated with children. With that in mind I invited my young friend Neva to join me for my recent visit. I enjoyed seeing it again from her fresh perspective. She hadn't been before and I'm happy to report she had a good time.
On a lower floor we did run into some animals, regional animals that had been preserved. San Bernardino is the largest county in the US and encompasses both deserts and mountains, so there is a lot of area to cover, making it a wide range of animals, both prehistoric and current.
Our day to day lives have changed so fast that we adults often don't realize that our kids have no idea how to use some of our older gadgets. Silly but fun was watching my young friend play with a rotary phone. She also found a maze game, like the ones found in Cracker Jacks and cereal boxes, only larger and more fun.
Did I mention the birds? There is a huge exhibit of preserved birds and eggs on the top floor. Anyone with even the slightest interest in ornithology has got to be fascinated with this collection. I have never seen anything like it. Not only are the birds on display, but also their nests and eggs. Years ago one room was devoted to birds and another to eggs and nests. At some point the entire exhibit was re-done, reorganized, and is now much more enjoyable. Birds are next to their nests and eggs and displayed according to region. If you make a trip to SB Co Museum for the birds alone it is well worth it.
Finally, there is an outdoor area with some mining and lumber tools and a steam locomotive. Neva had some fun digging up fossils at one of the stations outdoors. All in all I think it took us about two hours to see everything (except the live animal exhibit, which closes early).
The museum has many temporary exhibits and activities, including a summer day camp so check their website regularly. They are closed on Mondays, and open from 9-5 Tuesday- Sunday. Exploration Station, the live animal exhibit, is open 9:30-12:30 Tuesday-Friday and 1-4 Saturday and Sunday.
San Bernardino County Museum
A special Thank You to my friend and model Neva and her lovely mother, who contributed two of the above photos.