Things to Do on Catalina Island

Explore: The Catalina Island Museum

Take a Refreshing Taste of History and Culture at the Catalina Island Museum

For many people, the words "vacation" or "getaway" seem constitutionally incapable of coexisting with the word "museum." Who on earth, after all, could possibly want to spend a sunny, or at the very least leisurely, day indoors looking at a bunch of musty old exhibits?

If that attitude describes you, then a visit to the Catalina Island Museum may well change your mind. This half-century-old nonprofit institution, housed in the ground floor of the historic Avalon Casino building, brings Catalina history to life so vividly, refreshingly, succinctly, and sometimes eccentrically that it could become one of the most memorable parts of an island visit.

The first and most obvious draw of the museum is the location itself. No visit to Catalina could possibly be complete without a visit to the Avalon Casino, poised on the northern tip of the crescent-shaped harbor, one of the most beautiful buildings in the nation and the longtime symbol of Catalina itself.

Instilled with the spirit of its setting, the museum celebrates all the many facets that make Catalina a uniquely memorable experience. You'll witness exhibits drawn from a collection that now approximately totals an amazing 150,000 items. You'll delve into the island's history, stretching back to its earliest Gabrielino Indian settlers and up to the many celebrities who made Catalina a glittering retreat. You'll explore its geology and its plant and animal life. You'll delight in its signature artifacts, including colorful tiles and tableware from the celebrated Catalina Pottery. You'll hear the voices and see the faces of people who have called the island home.

You could also be fortunate enough to witness how a museum can come fully to life by reaching out into the community it celebrates. The Catalina Island Museum hosts evening lectures on island history at regular intervals throughout the year, as well as dazzling movie and musical events in the Casino's Avalon Theatre and Avalon Ballroom.

So stop in to delve deeply into a Catalina Island experience that is anything but musty. Then, you'll be able to look forward to the expressions on the faces of friends on family when they ask what you did on your visit and you reply, "I went to the museum!"

Visiting the Catalina Island Museum
The Catalina Island Museum faces the bay from the ground floor of the Avalon Casino at 1 Casino Way, an easy walk from central Avalon or a quick ride on the Avalon Trolley. Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from April through December and Friday through Wednesday from January through March; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children. There's no need to book a visit in advance. But you will want to reserve a place for special events.

Plan on doing some of your best souvenir shopping at the museum. You'll find great reproduction Catalina tiles, salt and pepper shakers, mugs, glass art, books on island history and culture, and adorable toy stuffed animals of Catalina wildlife.

Want a preview taste of the museum? Then sample three virtual museum exhibits on!

Time to Allow: One to two hours.
Reservations are not required.
Prices and availability are subject to change.