Natural History Museum
Morro Bay State Park
Morro Bay, CA. 93442
Just a down the road from the Inn at Morro Bay is the Natural History Museum . It is located in Morro Bay State Park, within minutes of the Heron Rookery, Montaña de Oro State Park, the El Moro Elfin Forest and Audubon’s Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. The Museum overlooks Morro Bay which is both a State and National Estuary.This is the only natural history museum in the California State Parks system.
The exhibits provide current scientific information related to the estuary and bay ecosystems and teaches visitors of all ages about tidal forces, geology, erosion, and human impact on the land. This hands-on, fun learning environment also teaches preservation and protection of the environment and all its living creatures.
Several of the exhibits feature touch screens that provide visitors the opportunity to find out what the forces of nature are doing at that very moment in time. Visitors can build a sand dune, operate the hydrologic cycle and dig into the food pit to create their own food chains. The Museum boasts 26 interactive exhibits designed to delight and educate both young and old.
The entry fee is $2 for adults and free to children 16 and under. The Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
One of the many jewels of Morro Bay, close to the hotel, is the Elfin Forest Natural Area, a 1.5-mile boardwalk that meanders through coastal sage and pygmy oak woods. The children will be intrigued by the wind-swept, gnarly pygmy oaks, offering cool places to hide and dream of tiny forest denizens. Grownups will enjoy the two overlooks over Morro Bay Estuary.
From the Inn at Morro Bay, take a right onto State Park Road. At the intersection with South Bay Blvd., turn right toward Los Osos. Travel about two miles on South Bay Blvd. At the first light, turn right onto Santa Ysabel Ave. From Santa Ysabel, take a right onto 16th St. and park in the area at the end of the street. Please do not block driveways.
Charles Paddock Zoo
9305 Pismo, Atascadero
Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, 18.4 miles from the Inn, features over one hundred animals in a naturalistic setting in five park-like acres. Afterwards, relax in the picnic area.
Admission: Adults (16&over) $3; children 3-15, $2. Seniors, $2.25.
Hours, April-October: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; November-March, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
From the Inn at Morro Bay, take South Bay Boulevard to Hwy 1 north and follow Hwy 1 to CA 41 East, two miles. Stay on CA-41, Atascadero Road, to the zoo, 14.5 miles. Charles Paddock Zoo will be on your right.
San Luis Obispo Farmers Market
San Luis Obispo Downtown Association
On Thursdays, 6-9 p.m. (earlier in winter), San Luis Obispo’s picturesque main street, Higuera, is closed to traffic for five blocks to make room for the Farmers Market. This is the social event of the week in SLO town, when people of all ages congregate for a relaxed stroll up and down Higuera Street. The children will love to take in a marionette show or watch a mime performance, and later sit on the sidewalk for a dinner of barbecue ribs and corn on the cob.
San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum
1010 Nipomo Street
San Luis Obispo
The Children’s Museum is located next to San Luis Obispo Creek, in the heart of town, just one block from the Higuera Street shopping district and two blocks from the San Luis Obispo Mission. It offers special events, special exhibits, and craft hours with prior enrollment. Kids love the Children’s Museum-touching and exploring are encouraged.
The Children’s Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
Adult admission $5, children under 2 free.
After visiting the museum, the kids will enjoy a stroll up the shady brick walkway along San Luis Obispo Creek, which starts adjacent to the museum.
Across the street from the Children’s Museum, you’ll find the old Creamery, now converted into art studios, restaurants and boutiques. Anam Cre’ Studio of the Arts (805-544-1850) offers classes in ceramics and other mediums for artists of all ages.
From Morro Bay, take Hwy 1 South toward San Luis Obispo, approximately 11 miles. Once in town, go right on Higuera Street. After six blocks, turn right on Nipomo, and drive one short block to the Children’s Museum on the right.
Local beaches await the visitor: Avila with its renovated beachfront downtown, children’s playground and historic pier; Shell Beach for a picnic lunch on the bluff; and Morro Bay with its endless expanse of dunes, environmental preserve, and boat rentals. On Pismo Beach, 11 miles south of San Luis Obispo on US 101, beach activities include boogie board and surfboard rentals, banana bike rides, horseback and mini ATV rides on the Dunes. The tidepools at Montana de Oro State Park are well worth a visit. Bring or rent some bikes, and the whole family can enjoy bicycling along the shady Bob Jones path, which starts next to the Avila Hot Springs near Hwy 101 and continues along the creek right to Avila Beach and the pier. Inquire at your hotel desk for details.