Experience the Diversity of California’s Ecosystems in Coast to Cactus at theNAT in Balboa Park

Written by Danielle Susalla Deery on Friday, April 10, 2015 - Read 2499 times
coast to cactus

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California has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world from the beaches to the desert. Second best to traveling around the state to experience these various habitats is a new permanent exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT). Coast to Cactus in Southern California highlights how humans share space with nature through a dynamic array of native plants and animals, interactive play spaces and learning tools for all ages.

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Exhibition Highlights

I recently experienced Coast to Cactus with my 10-month-old baby and she loved crawling through the fallen tree trunk in the Mountain section and inside the mini caves that were part of the Chaparral Wildfire Theater where kids learn about the chaparral ecosystem and how fire is part of mother earth's natural regeneration process. There are also some large floor sculptures, animal hides, fish tanks and botanicals that she enjoyed. We were also surprised by the Airstream Bambi trailer inside the exhibition that creates an intriguing outdoorsy juxtaposition transporting visitors to the desert at nighttime.

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Don't miss the fun, interactive Attic section of the exhibition where kids can color, watch videos and read more about the "golden state." I highly recommend visiting this exhibition with your family to learn more out how lucky we are to live in southern California and how we can better engage with the animals and plants in our environment.

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Exhibition Resources and Residents' Free Tuesdays

Coast to Cactus is a permanent exhibition so it will be on view indefinitely. Check out the educational resources including curriculum and lesson plans for grade 3, 4 and 5 on their website. Also, if you are looking to save some money on admission then read up on Residents' Free Tuesdays.

Danielle Susalla Deery

Danielle Susalla Deery is an Independent Curator, Adjunct Art History Professor, San Diego museum aficionado, mother and former Director of Exhibits and Communications at Oceanside Museum of Art.

You can reach Danielle at dsusalla@gmail.com.