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Museum of Man

Even if you’re not a people person, a visit to Balboa Park’s Museum of Man should be on your short list of places to visit while in San Diego. Once in Balboa Park, it’s easy to find because the museum is located beneath the ornate 200-foot California Tower. With its Spanish colonial and mission-style architecture, the building was originally constructed for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.

This is the city’s only museum devoted to anthropology and archaeology. In addition to cultural collections and physical anthropology collections, the museum features five permanent exhibition: Ancient Egypt; Kumeyaay: Native Californians; Footsteps Through Time: Four Million ears of Human Evolution; Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth; and Discover Egypt. Check the museum’s website (www.museumofman.org) to see a list of changing exhibits.

With more than 100,000 documented ethnographic items, nearly 50,000 photographic images, and 33,000 scientific publications, the museum offers something for everyone. The primary ethnographic collections focus on the Western Hemisphere, with strengths in California, the Southwest, Mexico, and western South America. Other important collections include Alaska, the Northwest Coast, the Plains, Central America, and lowland South America. Physical anthropology is represented with skeletal collections of ancient and modern bone diseases, as well as casts documenting human variations.

Make sure to bring your kids and let them take a giant step back into the intrigue and mystery of Egypt in the Children’s Discovery Center, where children can enjoy hands-on exploration of this fascinating ancient culture.

Visit the San Diego Museum of Man Store where you’ll find a selection of unusual ethnic merchandise of high quality for the collector or the novice.

If you plan to spend more than a day in San Diego, buy a Passport to Balboa Park, which offers visitors the chance to experience 14 museums in the park with a savings of more than 50%. If you only plan a one-day trip, then buy a Balboa Park Stay-for-the-Day Pass to visit five museums for just $35. For more adventure, purchase a Passport to Balboa Park with Zoo Admission. Visit http://sandiego.balboapark.org/1357_attraction-tickets_a352.html?ticketID=1349 to purchase any of the three.