We had an opportunity to go downtown San Diego to Balboa Park and visit the Natural History Museum. They invited us down to check out The Backyard, a brand new space specifically designed for kids up to 5 years old. Perfect for my Nuggets.

Natural History Museum The Backyard

Last year, I took the girls down to The Nat to see the special dinosaur exhibit they had. Big Nugget has always loved dinosaurs. We didn’t get much time in the rest of the museum that visit because Little Nugget was only a couple months old and had an EPIC meltdown at the end of the dinosaur exhibit…so we made a quick exit.

The Backyard @ The Nat

This time we had all day to explore and to say the girls loved The Backyard is an understatement. It’s not a huge room, it’s the perfect size and I was blown away by the attention to detail.

Natural History Museum Backyard Little Nugget

The play space is surrounded by a mural of San Diego with all the things that make our city so special, complete with sound effects and some critters that are beyond lifelike.

There are spaces for each age group to really enjoy, even for the little little’s. The cushy mats in the shoe free zone are perfect for crawlers or even smaller.

Natural History Museum Backyard Wide Shot

There are plenty of toys to spark the kid’s imaginations, building blocks and books. Big Nugget loved the light table that had various films and blocks that you could change with the light.

Natural History Museum Backyard Light Table

The Nat does everything with incredible attention to detail. Inside The Backyard, even the siding treatment on the walls was hand painted.¬†As with any good kid space, the parents weren’t forgotten. The bench seating gives the adults a place to relax, if their kids will let them. There are even wipes and a phone charging station.

Natural History Museum Backyard SeatingNatural History Museum Backyard charging station

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There is plenty to see at The Nat outside of The Backyard, if you can get your kids to leave. I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be kid friendly for my preschooler and toddler but I was pleasantly surprised. Even my little one (who is 18 months old) wanted out of the stroller to get a closer look at the displays.

We loved taking the girls to The Henry Ford Museum on our last Michigan trip (and they LOVE watching the video of it over and over again). I think the measure of a good museum experience is how you feel when you leave. This time, Big Nugget declared at lunch after we left The Nat that she wants to be a dinosaur scientist and can’t wait to go back.

Natural History Museum Entrance

The Backyard at The Nat