Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Located in scenic Balboa park San Diego, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center offers hands-on science fun in a open-layout, easy-to-navigate facility. The museum is actually smaller than it looks on the outside, and for our family, that was just fine by us. With four kids in tow from age 4-14, we were thankful for the manageable size and open layout of the space. There are two floors: downstairs houses exhibits with live demonstrations, such as the popular drone exhibit, hands-on mind games and machine-based science, plus a great exhibit on the human body. There’s a great ‘Tinkering Lab’ where older kids can create projects of their own as well.


Upstairs is the ‘Play City’ for kids five and under, which is a full room of imaginative play pieces such as a grocery store, fire truck, and the like. Older kids can enter if playing and interacting with younger siblings or friends (in our experience). The upstairs section also features an interesting exhibit on the history and physics of the guitar, which older kids especially will enjoy. For an admission add-on, there’s an IMAX theater on-site.

Tip: Combine a visit with a stop at the Natural History Museum, located directly adjacent. Start your day at either museum, and eat a picnic lunch at the fountain between the two as a break. Each museum can be toured in about two hours.


Date last visited:

April 2, 2014

Distance from the interstate:

Balboa Park is an easy drive from I-5 or I-805.

Hours and admission:

The museum is generally open 10 am to 5 pm (but hours alter slightly during school holidays, etc). Admission is only $13 for adults and $11 for children (3-12).


The museum is located at 1875 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego.

Photo credit: Pit Stops for Kids and Port of San Diego