Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

In Bakersfield, California, there is a little-known gem called the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History. This museum is devoted to displaying the local area’s natural history, with a special emphasis on fossils and minerals. Everyone who visits will find something fascinating to discover and explore.

The museum is located in an early 20th-century structure that was once a Masonic Temple. The extensive collections of the museum are now housed in it after renovation and adaptation. Dr. Gregory McDonald, a local dentist who had a love for paleontology and geology, founded the museum. He started collecting minerals and fossils as a hobby, and eventually he had a collection that was too big to store at home. In 1995, he established the museum to exhibit his collection to the public.

The museum’s extensive fossil collection is one of its highlights. Visitors can view prehistoric animal skeletons and reconstructions from various eras in Earth’s history. The most impressive specimens include a 13,000-year-old mastodon skull and a 30-foot-long mosasaur, a large marine reptile that lived in the late Cretaceous. A cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull and a model of a Triceratops skeleton are two other dinosaur fossils that can be found in the museum.

The museum has an impressive collection of minerals and rocks in addition to its fossils. Visitors can view rare specimens from all over the world, colorful geodes, and sparkling crystals. Some of the minerals on display are so uncommon that there isn’t a museum in the entire world that has them.

The museum also features exhibits on the local ecosystems and wildlife. The San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada mountains, as well as the local flora and fauna, are all available for visitors to learn about. Several taxidermied animals, including a mountain lion, a bobcat, and a coyote, are on display at the museum.

The staff at the museum is knowledgeable and devoted to natural history. For visitors of all ages, they provide guided tours and educational programs. Additionally, the museum has a gift shop where visitors can buy books, fossils, and other items connected to natural history.

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History’s dedication to community outreach is one of its distinctive features. The museum offers educational programs and field trips in collaboration with nearby schools and organizations. Additionally, it holds special events all through the year, such as its yearly Dino-Mite Day, which features kid-friendly activities and games.

Families, school groups, and lovers of natural history frequently visit the museum. It provides a distinctive and captivating experience that is both entertaining and educational. The exhibits can keep visitors occupied for hours as they learn about the local and global natural history.

In general, anyone who is interested in natural history, fossils, or minerals should visit the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History. It is a valuable resource for the Bakersfield community and beyond due to its extensive collections, knowledgeable staff, and dedication to community outreach. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, a visit to the museum is sure to be interesting and educational.

Back to local attractions

Scroll to Top