Day in Pompeii San Diego Natural History Museum Exhibit Balboa Park

A Day in Pompeii is an exhibit featured at the San Diego Natural History Museum. It documents the devastation and death caused by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii, Italy in 79 CE.

You must purchase a separate ticket for this event, which costs around $20. That ticket is sold at the Natural History Museum, and you are issued an admission time upon purchase (usually within an hour of your purchase). We offer the Balboa Museum tickets for all museums with the BALBOA MUSEUM PASS, or the ticket required to enter the Natural History Museum.


With 250 actual artifacts that include furniture, jewelry and paintings, plus human body casts from the wreckage site that was excavated, the pain and suffering of this thriving city offers a solemn warning to mankind about how fragile our societies and lives really are.


The exhibit compares the city of Pompeii during that era with modern day Southern California's San Diego. A popular shipping port, many items came from Pompeii. How quickly would everything be lost if you couldn't get out of town and out of the way fast enough? This exhibit includes body casts of people and animals found buried in the site where the deaths occurred.  The pain and suffering can be imagined as you study the human forms bent, covering their faces or lying in the ash, either burned on the spot or asphyxiated from lack of oxygen as the mountain erupted in one huge final blow. Unearthed in the mid-1700s, archaeologists were surprised to find the significant collection of artifacts from the area. The body casts were made from the shapes of the bodies that eventually decomposed, leaving impressions in the lava molten rock that hardened.


Horrendous and sad, the absorbing traveling exhibit is worth the drive to San Diego to see. An extra fee is charged for admission (around $20). Located on the bottom floor of the San Diego Natural History Museum, the exhibit is one of many throughout the museum, which has set records for attendance with world class exhibits and great public interest.


Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except major holidays, the exhibit ran through June 15, 2008.

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