The Science Museum of Minnesota worked with the San Diego Natural History Museum to produce Fossil Mysteries, This 10,000-square-foot permanent installation takes visitors on a walk through time, experiencing San Diego at various moments in geologic time. Highly interactive and fully bilingual (English and Spanish), this exhibit explores several big themes in science: evolution, extinction, ecology, and Earth processes. Numerous fossils, realistic models, engaging interactives, murals, and life-sized dioramas offer unique multi-sensory experiences for visitors of all ages.

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Fossil Mysteries
The Fossil Mysteries exhibition traces the natural history of southern California and Baja California through the last 75 million years.

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Fossil Mysteries
These specimens are part display, part interactive. Here, visitors can move or flex the part of the skeleton that demonstrates how that animal’s body adapted to changing environments.

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Fossil Mysteries
Here, visitors explore how climbers, like this gibbon from the Oligocene epoch, rely on a wide range of motion in their wrists to climb quickly and deftly.

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Fossil Mysteries
This large diorama immerses the visitor in San Diego County—45 million years ago. Enter a lush subtropical woodland bursting with unusual plants and animals.

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Fossil Mysteries
Carefully displayed specimens, touchable fossils, and a mural help visitors explore fossil marine invertebrates from California and the Baja California peninsula.

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Fossil Mysteries
Hanging over the atrium, visitors encounter the 40-foot Carcharodon megalodon—the largest predatory shark of all time.

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Fossil Mysteries
In this area on the Miocene epoch, a series of interactives allows visitors to explore the dynamics of plate tectonics and their role in shaping southern California and Baja California.

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Fossil Mysteries
In the glass case is the giant baleen whale specimen, as well as complimentary fossils. In front is an exhibit of microfossil plankton.

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Fossil Mysteries
At the south entrance to the exhibit, a mastodon rears up to protect its baby from a lion poised to pounce. Models, mounted specimens, cased fossils, and interactives merge to create a rich, multimedia experience.
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