Western Science Center

Just south of Hemet is the Western Science Center which is the largest natural history museum in Riverside County, and would be a great place to visit for your dinosaur-loving kids.

It’s not a large museum, and you could spend one to two hours here and see and experience most everything on display.

Archaeology Hall

As you enter the museum, you’ll pass through the Archaeology Hall which highlights some of the early human history of the area, including both native peoples and early European settlers.

Main Exhibit Hall & Theater

The main exhibit hall is the highlight of the museum, with Ice Age mammoths that were discovered in the excavation of nearby Diamond Valley Lake, as well as prehistoric dinosaur fossils.

Many of the fossils are arranged in outlines of the particular animal to give you a sense of both where in the body the fossil came from, as well as the overall size of the animal. It’s really nicely done.

There are a number of interactive displays for kids young and old, and there’s a table where you can watch and interact with staff members cleaning actual fossils.

There is a small theater with a 270-degree screen that plays movies every half hour. There’s the animated Echoes of the Past which highlights the animals that once lived in the area, and the documentary Discovery and Recovery which highlights the recovery of fossils found during the excavation of Diamond Valley Lake.

Fossils From Your Public Lands

There’s a temporary exhibit hall that is currently displaying Fossils from Your Public Lands. As the name implies, there are fossil specimens on display from parks or sites across the country. While nicely done, this is a much smaller exhibit.

Outdoor Exhibits

Sadly, I didn’t realize until after I got home and looked at the museum map a little more closely, that there were two outdoor exhibits that I missed altogether: Mystic the Whale and Simulated Dig Site.


The Western Science Center is a nicely done, small natural history museum with friendly and knowledgeable staff on hand that make the experience even better. Is it worth the 1.5-hour drive from San Diego? Only you can answer that base on your interest level. If you happen to be in the area, it’s worth a visit.

One thing that’s just two miles up the road from the museum that may make it worth driving all the way there, especially now with the flowers in bloom, is the Diamond Valley Lake Marina and Wildflower Trails. The trails are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. There is an $11 parking fee and a $4 per person trail usage fee. You can see more about the area HERE and their rates (with discounts) HERE.

Explore San Diego and beyond.

What You Need to Know

Location:2345 Searl Parkway
Hemet, CA 92543
Transit:None available
Hours:Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Last tickets sold at 4 p.m.
Cost:Adults: $9.00
Seniors: $7.50
Students w/ ID: $6.50
Youth (5-12): $6.00
Youth (4 and under): Free
Active Duty Military w/ ID: Free
Tips:There is plenty of free parking.
Date Visited:15 April 2023

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.