Children and Youth Programs

Scout Programs

Girl Scouts: 

San Diego History Center has a vast array of engaging and hands-on educational activities for your troop to experience!  Learn to be Junior Historians by handling artifacts and archival documents, dressing in historical costumes, creating historical crafts, writing and playing like children did in the past.  See our list of programming offerings under Youth and Family Programs on this page. Be sure to include our Overnight Adventure at the Museum  in your activity planning.  We also welcome working with troops to meet their Journey and badge requirements.  Feel free to call us with other custom program ideas.  619-232-6203, ext. 130.  



"Hiker" Choose a trail in either of San Diego History Center’s beautiful park sites, Presidio Park or Balboa Park, and prepare for fun and adventure. Girls pick from a variety of hiking activities and snacks as they explore the sights on a scenic walking trail and learn a little history about our beautiful parks. $20.00 per child participant


  Look, listen, smell, taste, and touch. See how Historians use all of their senses in uncovering hidden secrets of the past. Select from several possible options for stimulating all five senses. $20.00 per child participant

Brownie "California" and "Native American" Try-it badges also available



"Playing the Past"

After learning about many important women in San Diego’s history, and their accomplishments, girls become a character and choose five activities to earn this badge. Try writing a diary page, make a costume accessory, work on chores, food, or creating a home environment, play games or design art, and finally create a living history event. Scouts immerse themselves in the lives of real characters from San Diego’s past. $20.00 per participant


  Discover the colorful world of flowers through five unique experiences. Learn about the history of San Diego’s most famous horticulturalist, Kate Sessions, while deciding between an array of activities that introduce the science, beauty, health, and art of flowering plants. $20.00 per participant

"California" badge also available for Juniors, and can be earned with the "Overnight Adventure at the Serra Museum"



"Finding Common Ground"

Full Badge Program Coming Soon!  (Aspects of this badge can be achieved through our Diversity in San Diego Youth program)


Due to the personalized nature of the Girl Scout badge programs, no more than 20 children per workshop is preferred. Please allow at least 3-4 hours to complete.



See our Youth and Family Program listings for descriptions and pricing for these connections to your Girl Scout Journeys. 



"World of Girls" Journey

Earn all or part of a “Hear a Story” award with fun historical activities that teach how artifacts and everyday objects tell stories with our Artifacts as Storytellers, Coming to California, and History Case programs.  Earn all or part of the “Change a Story” or “Tell a Story” award with our Women’s Stories and Diversity in San Diego programs.

"WOW! Wonders of Water" Journey

Earn all or part of a “Love Water” award with our San Diego River program.



"Agent of Change" Journey

Earn all or part of “The Power of One” award with our Women’s Stories program and "Flower" badge program.

"aMuse" Journey

Earn all or part of the "Reach Out!" award with our Women's Stories and Dirt Detectives program, or the "Playing the Past" badge program.  Earn all or part of a "Speak Out!" award with our Diversity in San Diego program.



"aMaze" Journey

Earn part of an “Interact” award with our Diversity in San Diego program.

These are just some possible connections to your Journeys. All San Diego History Center Youth and Family Programs can be adjusted for age level appropriateness and provide fun learning opportunities for children of all ages. 


Booking a Girl Scout/Youth Program:

When:  Available year round

Where:  San Diego History Center in Balboa Park or Junipero Serra Museum

Time:  Please allow at least 1 to 2 hours to complete individual youth programs and up to 3-4 hours to complete the full badge workshops.

Reservations are Required:  Please call 619 -232-6203, ext. 130 or email

Cost: $10 for youth programs and $20 for badge workshops (led by History Center staff).  All participating adults and siblings pay the regular workshop fee (non-participating adults and children under 3 are free).



Boy Scouts:

Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts are encouraged to participate in any of our available Youth and Family Programs as well as our "Overnight Adventure at the Museum" overnight.  Scouts may complete belt loop requirements as a family, den, pack, school group or community group, or just enjoy a fun filled afternoon of activities with San Diego History Center.



Map & Compass

Discover the history and art of cartography with this interactive and informative program.  Learn the basic parts of a map and how to read one, find cardinal directions with compasses, play on a giant map of San Diego County in San Diego History Center’s Balboa Park museum, then show off your skills by creating a map of your own.


Find out about the historic uses of San Diego’s many landforms and regions, explore some of those regions from our museum’s park location and identify them on a giant map of our region, then become your own geographical feature with a fun game of landform charades.


Choose a trail in either of San Diego History Center's beautiful park sites, Presidio Park or Balboa Park, and prepare for fun and adventure.  Pick from a variety of hiking activities then explore the sights on a scenic walking trail, while learning a little history of our parks along the way.

Shipboard Life

Put on your sea legs and join us for a historical adventure in San Diego’s past.  Explore the many uses the ocean has had for all of San Diego’s many cultures, dive into a fun ship’s captain game, tie some shipping knots, and create a famous shipboard craft.


Booking a Boy Scout/Youth Program:

When:  Available Year Round.

Where:  San Diego History Center or Junipero Serra MuseumTime:  Please allow at least 1.5 to 2 hours to complete individual Belt Loop workshops

Reservations are Required:  Please call 619 -232-6203, ext. 130 or email

Cost:  $10 per participant for guided workshop (led by History Center staff).   All participating adults and siblings pay the regular workshop fee (non-participating adults and children under 3 are free).



Youth and Family Programs 


Artifacts as Storytellers:  Discover firsthand how historians learn about objects from the past. Handle artifacts using proper techniques, try to piece together clues about relics in order to determine their context and use, find out how simple objects have changed over time, and bring a small object from home that reveals a hidden story to share. $10.00 per child participant (adults free)

Dirt Detectives:  Become junior Archaeologists with this fun activity that goes through the steps of a real excavation. Students get to dig, record, sift, mend, and identify relics in teams to uncover clues about history. $10.00 per child participant (adults free)

San Diego River:  Learn the history and geography of this most important water source in our region. Find out how all of the indigenous peoples and early settlers in San Diego used this precious resource to survive, participate in fun map activities and crafts, and understand why this river resource is still important today. $10.00 per child participant

Women’s Stories:  Immerse yourself in the lives of San Diego’s most admirable historic women leaders. Using journal entries from San Diego History Center’s document archive, study the challenges these women faced and discover the leadership skills they displayed in order to overcome adversity. Also, participate in some of the everyday activities of women in the past, including writing with quill and ink, dressing in period costumes, and playing a favorite past time game. $10.00 per child participant (adults free)

Diversity in San Diego:  Be inspired by the many newcomers who overcame discrimination and faced adverse stereotypes in San Diego’s history, and develop the skills necessary to fight prejudice and resolve conflicts. Learn to embrace the multitude of cultural influences on the music, foods, languages, and celebrations that we all enjoy within our communities. Share something about your own culture and find out about others around you in this team-oriented workshop. $10.00 per child participant (adults free)

Coming to California:  Get to know all of the diverse people throughout history who came to settle in San Diego, why they came here, and the important contributions they made to our community once they arrived. Identify artifacts and relics that belong to the various cultural contributors in San Diego’s past. $10.00 per child participant (adults free)

History Case:   Help a time travelling docent solve a mystery from the past. Find out about life in San Diego’s Spanish Presidio settlement by looking for clues from a group of settlers living there. Use your fine-tuned history detective skills to solve the 300-year-old mystery. $7.00 per child participant (adults free)

All San Diego History Center Programs can be adjusted for age level appropriateness and provide fun learning opportunities for children of all abilities. Most programs can be completed in 1 to 2 hours and many compliment Girl Scout Journeys for Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes (See Girl Scout Programs). Minimum 10/Maximum 20 children per program. Available for outreach to your site, as well. 



Group Overnight

"Overnight Adventure at the Serra Museum"*

San Diego History Center is offering a unique way for groups, ages 7 - 15 and accompanying adults to experience the Serra night!  We'll start our adventure by enjoying an afternoon of outdoor activities in beautiful Presidio Park while learning about some of San Diego's most famous people and places.  We'll feast on an historically themed meal on the loggia overlooking the Presidio site, play an historical game or two, then head indoors for some hands-on history activities including costume dress-up in historical clothing.  Once the lights go out, kids will go on an historically themed flashlight tour to the top of the Serra tower, before watching a special history-themed movie.  At bedtime, curl up in the main museum gallery next to the old mill stones, wine press, and historic cannon.  A light breakfast will be served in the morning prior to ending your overnight adventure!

When:  Available year-round, however, summer availability (June, July and August) is limited.

Where:  Junipero Serra Museum, Presidio Park*

Time:  3pm Saturday through 9am Sunday

Reservations are Required:  Call 619-232-6203, ext 130 or email

Cost:  $50 SDHC members, $60 general per participant.  Cost includes:  museum admission, hands-on activities, flashlight tour of the tower afer hours, historically themed dinner on the loggia, an evening movie, and a light breakfast.

Participation:  Minimum of 12 participants, Maximum 30 participants (adults/children combined).  There must be one adult over the age of 21 for every 5 children attending, and no adult can be admitted without accompanying a child.  A final count of participants must be made known at least one week prior to the program date.

Please bring:  Sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight, camera, toothbrush and toothpaste, warm pajamas, solid-soled shoes, and any medications.

Release forms:  Each participant must fill out the release forms that will be sent to you upon booking your program.  Once signed, they must be scanned, faxed or brought back to the History Center at least two weeks prior to the program date.  Once the registration forms have been submitted, we will contact each participant individually to confirm participation and collect payment.

Payment:  Payment can be in the form of checks, cash or credit card.  Checks should be made out to San Diego History Center.  You are welcome to pay for the entire group with one payment, or have each person pay individually.  Once the appropriate forms have been filled out and submitted, we will contact each participant to confirm, and to arrange payment.  All payments must be made in advance of the program date.

Cancellations:  There is a cancellation charge of 10% per participant.  No refunds one week prior to the program date.  A full refund will be returned to each participant if the overnight is cancelled by the museum.

*Overnight Adventure is also available at the San Diego History Center Museum in the Casa de Balboa in Balboa Park.  The basic premise of the Serra Overnight is the same for the History Center, as participants discover the people, places, and cultures that have shaped the region.  In addition, programmatic activities are held on the grounds of beautiful Balboa Park, including the unique desert garden, and nearby Zoro Gardens.  In addition, participants make a favorite dessert that became popular in California when it reached statehood; participate in a building wide flashlight tour after the lights go out, and watch an historically themed children's movie before bedding down for the night next to the stagecoach or on the large map of San Diego County as you go to bed.     Price is $50 SDHC members, $60 general per participant.  All paying children must be accompanied by a paying adult.Be sure to look at the Serra Overnight registration process listed above.