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Central Coast Museums

Central Coast Museums Overview

Central Coast

Central Coast Museums include the Santa Cruz Museum of Art, National Steinbeck Center, Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Art Museum, Murphy Auto Museum, children's museum, surfing museum, museum of flight and maritime museum. From Santa Cruz to Oxnard and Paso Robles to Morro Bay, discover an interesting museum on the Central Coast.

Santa Cruz Museums

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is located off Highway 1 off River Street. SCMAH is part art, part history museum focusing on art, sculpture, history and more of the local region and residents. The exhibits include butterflies, old-growth redwoods, surfing, woodworking and so on.

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
705 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 429-1964

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is located off Highway 1 from either Swift or Bay Streets. Situated on a peninsula above the world-renowned 'Steamer Lane' surf break and next to the Mark Abbott Lighthouse, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum was the first of its kind in the world. The exhibits focus on surfing history from its origins in Hawaii and the logging of local forests for early redwood surfboards to neon fiberglass short boards of the 80s and longboard rebirth of the 90s. Santa Cruz surfing locals are on hand to answer questions and provide further details about the exhibits. Santa Cruz is regarded as the real 'Surf City, USA' although a Southern California city was first to trademark the term.

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
701 West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420-6289

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is located off Highway 1 from either Ocean Street or Soquel Avenue. Situated in an historic library across the street from the beach, it features exhibits on the environment, nature and culture of the region. exhibits include local wildlife, garden plants & insects and the Native American Ohlone Indians.

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
1305 E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 420-6115

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey Museums

National Steinbeck Center is located off Highway 101 off Market Street. Situated in the heart of Steinbeck country, the National Steinbeck Center is a cultural museum that promotes art and literature. In addition to the permanent Steinbeck exhibit that focuses on works like The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony, other exhibits include Japanese History, Mission Photography, Dia de Los Muertos and more.

National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 775-4721

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey Museum of Art is located off Highway 1 in the beautiful town of Monterey. Rotating exhibits include paintings and photography. An outdoor sculpture garden is featured in the park adjacent to the building.

Monterey Museum of Art
559 Pacific Street
Monterey, California 93940
(831) 372-5477

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey Maritime Museum

Monterey Maritime Museum is located off Highway 1 in the Custom House Plaza complex at the base of Old Fisherman's Wharf. It holds almost 6000 artifacts, over 50,000 photographs and historical documents. The 580 glass prisms of the historic Fresnel lens from the Point Sur Lightstation illuminate the building and its seven exhibit areas from the Rumsien/Ohlone Indians and Spanish explorers, to the USS Macon and war in the Pacific, to Monterey's era as the sardine capital of the world. Admission is free.

Monterey Maritime Museum
5 Custom House Plaza
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 372-2608

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is located off Highway 1 off Pacific Street. Situated in the quaint community of Pacific Grove, the natural history exhibits include Native Plant Garden, Native Americans, Bird Collection, Whales, Mineralogy, Mollusks, Insects and more. Most of the exhibits concentrate on local biology, science, geography and history. Each year they celebrate the return and migration of Monarch butterflies on their journey between Canada and Mexico.

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
165 Forest Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 648-5716

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Paso Robles Museums

Estrella Warbird Museum is located east of Paso Robles off Highway 46 (Windy Way). It features over two dozen military aircraft from a Sikorsky helicopter to an F-14 fighter jet. They also feature cold war-era missiles, military vehicles, tanks, cannons and displays of military artifacts. The flight simulator can mimic flight in over a dozen military aircraft including Russian MIGs, A-10 tank busters, the NASA Space Shuttle and more.

Estrella Warbird Museum
4251 Dry Creek Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 227-0440

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is located off Highway 101 at 24th Street. Situated on the corner at Pioneer Park, it features artifacts and structures from Paso Roble's past including an El Camino Real bell, first jail, schoolhouse, windmill, mining carts, wagons, handcrafted saddles and more.

Paso Robles Pioneer Museum
2010 Riverside Avenue
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 239-4556

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Paso Robles Children's Museum is located off Highway 101 in the heart of Paso Robles. Situated at the Volunteer Firehouse, it features learning exhibits for young children. The exhibits include an oak tree with a crawl-through root tunnel, a vintage fire truck, physical science center, Newton's playhouse, grape stomp ball pit and many more.

Paso Robles Children's Museum
623 13th Street
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 238-7432

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


San Luis Obispo Museums

SLO History Museum

History Center of San Luis Obispo County is located off Highway 101 from Broad Street. Situated in downtown San Luis Obispo, it consists of several historical buildings including the county's first library and an adobe home that belonged to one of SLO's most notable residents. The exhibits feature local topics and the French adventurer, Pierre Dallidet.

History Center of San Luis Obispo County
696 Monterey Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 543-0638

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Central Coast Veterans Museum is located off Highway 101 from Grand Avenue. Military artifacts from World War I to the Iraq War are on display including weaponry, uniforms, medals, maps, documents and more.

Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum
801 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 543-1763

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


San Luis Obispo Children's Museum is located off Highway 101 from Marsh Street. It features fun, learning exhibits of astronomy, physics, physical science, geology, paleontology and more.

San Luis Obispo Children's Museum
1010 Nipomo Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 544-5437

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Museum of Natural History is located off Highway 101 from S. Bay Boulevard. The exhibits focus on local science & biology including wildlife, estuary, tidal forces and human impact. Events include nature walks, lectures, puppet shows, videos, docent led tours and more. In addition to Morro Bay itself, other outdoor attractions include the Chumash garden, heron rookery, El Morro Elfin Forest and Sweet Springs Nature Preserve.

Museum of Natural History
Morro Bay State Park
20 State Park Road
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-2694

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Exploration Station is located off Highway 101 from Grand Avenue. The Exploration Station is a former fire station turned children's museum for children aged 3-16 with science exhibits, interactive displays and activities.

Exploration Station
867 Ramona Avenue
Grover Beach, CA 93433
(805) 473-1421

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Maria Museums

Santa Maria Museum of Flight is located off Highway 101 from Santa Maria Way. Situated at the Santa Maria Airport, it features historic planes, scaled-down models, aviation artifacts, a café and gift shop.

Santa Maria Museum of Flight
3015 Airpark Drive
Santa Maria, CA 93455
(805) 922-8758

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


The Natural History Museum is located off Highway 101 from Main Street. It features learning exhibits that emphasize history, nature and environment. The exhibits include Monarch butterflies, Jurassic creatures, bats, birds, sea life and more.

The Natural History Museum
412 South McClelland Street
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 614-0806

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is located off Highway 101 between Main Street and Stowell Road. It offers exhibits for youngsters including a Barn, Planting Station, Tar Pits, Shark Tank, Pirate Ship, Bubble Machine and more.

Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum
705 South McClelland Street
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 928-8414

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Lompoc Museum is located off Highway 1 in the heart of Lompoc. Situated in Centennial Square, it features exhibits documenting the archeology and history of the Lompoc Valley and Santa Barbara County. The highlight includes a collection of Chumash and other Native American artifacts.

Lompoc Museum
200 South H Street
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 736-3888

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum is located off Highway 101 east of Solvang. The history museum features a rich history of the Santa Ynez Valley, its pioneering settlers and the five early townships that formed the foundation of this unique region. The exhibits include books, documents, historical photos, carriages, saddles and horse related gear.

Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum
3596 Sagunto Street
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
(805) 688-7889

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum is located off Highway 101 from the Mission Drive exit to Solvang. It features a collection of vintage and rare motorcycles both foreign and domestic. Brands include AJS, Matchless, Moto Guzzi, Norton, Vincent and more.

Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
320 Alisal Road
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686-9522

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is located off Mission Drive (Hwy 246) in the village of Solvang. House in a replica of an 18th-century Danish building, they focus on the history of Solvang and Denmark with art exhibits on Vikings, Native Americans, wine production, Danish artists and more. The museum also offers art classes and a gift shop.

Elverhøj Museum of History and Art
1624 Elverhoy Way
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686-1211

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


The Wildling is located off Mission Drive (Hwy 246) in Solvang. This museum showcases art with a heavy emphasis on nature.

Wildling Museum Of Art and Nature
1511-B Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686-8315

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Museums

South Coast Railroad Museum is located off Highway 1 from Los Carneros Road. Situated at Lake Los Carneros Park, it focuses on the history, technology, and adventure of railroading with emphasis on the railroad's contributions to local history and the Southern Pacific Railroad. Unique features include the historic Goleta Depot, a Southern Pacific caboose, an HO-scale model train set, handcar rides and miniature train rides. The 'Central Coast Flyer' offers one-day round-trip excursions along California's Central Coast aboard a vintage train car.

South Coast Railroad Museum
300 North Los Carneros Road
Goleta, CA 93117
(805) 964-3540

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located off Highway 1 from Mission Street. Situated behind the old Mission Santa Barbara, it focuses on local history and wildlife. The exhibits include the Chumash Indians, a life-size Blue Whale Skeleton, Mineral & Gem Gallery, mammals, insects and more. Behind the museum is a nature trail along Mission Creek and a backyard that includes Boulder Alley. Also managed by the museum is the Gladwin Planetarium and the Ty Warner Sea Center.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta Del Sol
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 682-4711

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located off Highway 1 from both Carrillo or Garden Streets. The exhibits include historical film, paintings and photographs.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum
136 East De La Guerra Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 966-1601

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located off Highway 1 from Castillo Street. Situated in Santa Barbara Harbor, it focuses on local ocean topics with exhibits like Goleta's Cannons, Boat Model Gallery, Surfing Exhibit, Survival at Sea, Commercial Fishing & Diving and more. Also offered are Tall Ship tours and educational films shown daily in their large screen, high-definition theater.

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
113 Harbor Way
Suite 190
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 962-8404

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Museum of Art is located off Highway 1 from Carrillo Street. Situated in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, it features exhibits of paintings, drawings, prints, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture and woodworking from as far back as the 4th-century B.C. to present.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
(805) 963-4364

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Carpinteria Valley Museum of History is located off Highway 1 from Casitas Pass Road. The exhibits focus on the local people of the Carpinteria region including the Chumash Indians, Spanish explorers, early pioneers, Mexican rancheros and more.

Carpinteria Valley Museum of History
956 Maple Street
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(805) 684-3112

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ventura Museums

Museum of Ventura County is located east of Ventura off Highway 126 in Santa Paula. It features collections of art, artifacts, documents and photographs representing life in the region from prehistory to the present. the exhibits include works by local artists, Chumash Indian baskets, farm implements, clothing, furniture, toys, musical instruments and more.

Museum of Ventura County
926 Railroad Avenue
Santa Paula, CA 93060
(805) 525-3100

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Carnegie Art Museum is located off Highway 101 from Vineyard Avenue. Situated in downtown Oxnard, the Carnegie Art Museum offers changing exhibits that focus on California art, or art influential to the California art scene.

Carnegie Art Museum
424 South C Street
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805) 385-8157

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Murphy Auto Museum is located south of Highway 101 from Rose Avenue. It features vintage vehicles including a 1903 Oldsmobile, 1955 Packard, 1965 Porsche, 1967 Pontiac GTO, 1969 Plymouth Road Runner and many more.

Murphy Auto Museum
2230 Statham Boulevard
Oxnard, CA 93033
(805) 487-4333

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


The Mullin Automotive Museum is located south of Highway 101 from Rose Avenue. It specializes in vintage French automobiles including Bugattis, Delages, Delahayes, Hispano Suizas, Talbot-Lagos and Voisins. Many of the cars in the collection have won awards at concours d'elegance around the world. Some of the race cars were past winners of world-renowned races which include the Grand Prix de Pau and Le Mans.

The Mullin Automotive Museum
1421 Emerson Avenue
Oxnard, CA 93033
(805) 385-5400

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Channel Islands Maritime Museum is located in Channel Islands Harbor. It features exhibits of paintings, ship models, whaling history and the history of Port Hueneme and Channel Islands Harbor.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum
2731 Victoria Avenue
Oxnard, California 93035
(805) 984-6260

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


California Museums

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