Plan Your Visit

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Museum Hours and Admission

Museum Hours
Wednesday – Friday 10 AM to 4 PM
Saturday 10 AM to 2 PM
Sunday – Tuesday Closed
CLOSED 4/10/2024
During extreme weather advisories, please call 760-291-0370 to ensure the museum is open when you wish to visit.

Pay What You Wish Admission
Suggested minimum admission: $5/person
The amount you pay for admission is up to you. We look to your generosity to help support the museum in sharing our archaeological history with the community.


From I-15 North or South

Exit I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway and go EAST. Continue around the shopping center.
Turn RIGHT onto San Pasqual Road – 1 mile
Turn RIGHT onto San Pasqual Valley Road  (78). Continue past past the Wild Animal Park – 6.4 mi.

The San Diego Archaeological Center will be on your left. Accessible parking is available next to the building by going up the short ramp on the left (west) side of the parking lot.

By Land and By Sea

New information is challenging our worldview and causing us to rethink what we know about ancient peoples. Over the last 50 years, archaeologists thought they knew how the first humans arrived in the New World and spread out to different areas of the Americas. Recent finding have begun to dispute previously accepted theories and have sparked a surge of interest in New World archaeology.

Who were the first people to come to the Americas? Where did they come from and how did they get here? What happened after their arrival?

In this exhibit, explore these theories about who, when, and how these early peoples came into the New World.

Archaeology 101

trowelArchaeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.

Archaeology is important because by knowing our past, we can understand where we came from. It widens our understanding of human culture, technology, and lifestyle beyond what is written in the history books.

What is an artifact? How do archaeologists know where to dig? How are stone tools made? In this exhibit, learn the basics about archaeology through hands-on activities for children and adults.

The Life Story of a Pot

Explore how local pottery was made and used.

It’s A Crime

Every year thousands of artifacts and antiquities are stolen and wind up in private collections, unavailable to the public. Learn why keeping artifacts is against the law.

Lives and Lifestyles on Block 112: The Untold Story of San Diego’s Working Class

This exhibit explores the socioeconomic lives of people who lived in Downtown San Diego in the 1880s.

Museum Activities for Kids

Field Lab – Calling all Junior Archaeologists! Use your excavation skills to uncover the past. Then examine and record your findings in our new field lab – just like a real archaeologist!

Underwater Archaeology – Did you know that archaeologists not only work on land, but underwater as well? Learn how archaeologists study underwater sites in this exhibit.

Archaeology Quest – Journey through the museum searching for clues to find out all about local archaeology.


Museums for All – Year-round free general admission for EBT card holders.

Gift Shop

colorful maskThe Center has many items for sale that will further your knowledge and interest in the field of archaeology. Proceeds support Center Operations, Educational Programs, Research and Community Outreach. Drop by our gift shop and take home a souvenir or special gift.




Hotel Accommodations

Visit HotelsCombined to search and compare accommodations in the area.


Exhibitions Volunteers assist with the design, construction, and installation of Center Museum exhibits.

Volunteers work in the Center’s Research Library, cataloguing materials and organizing on a computer-based system.

Marketing and Administrative Volunteers assist the Development Office or Administration Office with data entry, updating marketing materials and clerical tasks. Computer experience is a plus.

Docents welcome visitors and answer general questions regarding the Center and exhibits. Docents staff the gift shop and help out with administrative and curatorial tasks.

Volunteers support event activities at the Center, such as the Annual BBQ, lectures, workshops, and fundraising events. Be a part of the party!

Volunteer provide support for K-12 programs offered at the Center. These are fun, hands-on programs that kids really enjoy. Teaching experience is a plus, but not required. Background checks are required.


With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will use photogrammetry to prepare one or more archaeological collections for digital preservation, as well as create a virtual museum exhibit for our Public Archaeology department. Per approval, special projects of the intern’s choosing are also available. During the research and planning, the intern will receive guidance as appropriate to their selected project. Prospective interns should already be familiar with photogrammetric procedures, and Agisoft Metashape.

Collections Management

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. During the course of the internship, the intern will learn to identify artifacts and ecofacts common to the San Diego region, including lithics, ceramics, historical objects, and faunal, botanical, and mineral specimens. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and preventative conservation. In addition, the intern will become familiar with historical trends in archaeological practice in the San Diego area and will be introduced to current legal and ethical issues in archaeological curation as well as the concerns and rights of culturally affiliated groups with regard to archaeological materials.

Development and Marketing

Under the direction of Center staff, the intern will support the department in various activities, including, but not limited to, fundraising and grant research; e-newsletter development; social media marketing; and website maintenance. This internship will give the intern valuable, real-world experience in non-profit fundraising and marketing.

Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology

Prospective Interns must have completed three courses: Introduction to GIS, GIS Database Management, and Intermediate/Advanced Methods in GIS. The intern will be assigned a project where they will create shapefiles and maps for curated archaeological collections, museum exhibits, and/or public outreach using ArcGIS 10.6. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological GIS laboratory procedures such as computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and database management.

Library Science

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will arrange and catalog materials in the Center’s library. During the course of the internship, the intern will take a leading role in the cataloging, sorting and storing of research files and creating user guides for these collections. Center staff will instruct the intern on archival procedures, computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Public Archaeology

Harness your passion for Public Archaeology and gain hands-on experience with K-12 museum field trips, lectures, and public outreach. Additional projects may include creating virtual museum exhibits and activities, assisting in the development and implementation of K-12 curricula programs, planning and presenting public facing content, or educational field trip content of your own design. Must be able to pass a Live Scan.