SoCal Families | Discovery Days at Riverside Metropolitan Museum

By: Megan McClain

With my eldest of two in kindergarten, sometimes the long hours between school and dinner leave us searching for new experiences with chances to learn and have fun.

We checked out the Riverside Metropolitan Museum’s Discovery Days last week, and we learned about how animals camouflage in their environments.



Here’s a little history for you—the museum is housed in a post office built in 1912 and has a nice entry with some of the original architecture.

I have two little fans of animals and science, so I figured this Discovery Days would be a hit with my two rambunctious boys (who sometimes leave me wanting the ability to blend into a wall and hide)!

The Discovery Days program is held every third Wednesday of the month from 1:30-4:30p.m. It provides opportunities for children ages 3-10 to learn about nature and science through hands-on activities. The price is right too—kids under 12 are admitted free at the museum! (The museum has a suggested donation of $5 for adults.)

During our trip last week, the kids first learned about a gecko, getting the opportunity to softly touch it before moving on to discuss bins of materials with plastic toys representing animals camouflaging themselves to their environment.



The polar bear hand puppet fit in perfectly with the fluffy cotton balls!

Then the kids got a chance to try their hand at camouflaging animals using cut-out paper critters on a large sheet of construction paper. There were crayons and paints available, but my two little artists colored their frogs green to blend in and were satisfied. (This could be a good project for spring break coming up if you can trace out a couple animals and throw out some paint supplies. We may try this idea with watercolors!)



After the program ended for us, we took a quick trip around the museum, starting at the Nature Lab across the hall where my eldest dug for mammoth bones with tweezers while my two-year-old named the hissing cockroaches. We then toured the main floor of the museum, which had a lot of displays featuring local Native American tribes and animals.

Although we came to enjoy the museum's Discovery Days, all three of us enjoyed exploring Riverside Metropolitan Museum as well. Be sure to follow Riverside Metropolitan Museum to keep updated with its current events and happenings.



Riverside Metropolitan Museum, 3580 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501. It is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9a.m.-5p.m., Thursdays until 9p.m., Saturdays from 10a.m.-5p.m. and Sundays from 11a.m.-5p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays. The Nature Lab, upstairs (elevator access available), is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1:30-4p.m. The next Discovery Days program is March 16th from 1:30-4:30p.m. Suggested donation is $5, with kids 12 and under admitted free. Check out the museum at or call (951) 826-5273.  

Suggested parking for the museum is at the parking structure #1 on Orange St. near Mission Inn Ave. Parking is free the first 90 minutes, after 5p.m. and weekends.