Petaluma Wildlife & Natural Science Museum is the largest museum in the country run by students. Located at 201 Fair Street, the Petaluma Wildlife Museum’s objective is to inspire the youth to care for the environment and wildlife using practical education about conservation. The museum within the campus of Petaluma High School had a modest beginning in a classroom. Today, one can take “Wildlife Management and Museum Management” as an elective class. The classroom was cramped for space as the collections expanded and could not accommodate the inventory of Codding Museum that was donated by Hugh Codding to Ron Head who taught at the same classroom. A bus garage within the campus was purchased by the Codding family and transformed into a nine thousand square foot space dedicated to the museum.
The museum has dozens of live animals including snakes, chinchillas and lizards. The museum also encourages taxidermy. You can sign up for tours that usually range from an hour to two hours. Almost all tours are led by docents, who are actually high school students. The longer tours are usually for kids attending elementary school as they may need more time to explore all the exhibits. The docents discuss a range of topics during the tours, including animal adaptations, camouflage, fossil history, live animal presentations and natural history. There is a summer camp program conducted by the museum for kids aged seven to twelve. The camps are usually for a week with docents doubling up as supervisors. Camp activities include learning animal behavior, conservation, science and ecology.
You can visit the Petaluma Wildlife & Natural Science Museum on the first and third Sundays of every month. Tours are conducted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on these days. You may also choose to embark on a self guided tour. Admission is $5 for everyone. Children aged five and younger get free admission. School tours must be planned in advance. The scheduled school tours usually start at 11 a.m. and end at 12:25 p.m. Such tours cost $3/student. Chaperones and teachers are included in school tours for free.
Stay at Hotel Petaluma
Spending a day at Petaluma Wildlife & Natural Science Museum is definitely one of the top things to do in Petaluma, CA. This venue is located less than a mile from Hotel Petaluma. Located on 205 Kentucky St, Hotel Petaluma offers easy access to more than a dozen major attractions in the city. Reserve your accommodation directly at our hotel’s website to get the best rates.