- Wed: 10am-4pm
- Sat: 10am-4pm
- Sun: 10am-4pm
Big Bear Valley Historical Museum at 800 Greenway Drive in Big Bear City is nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest near one of Southern California's most popular ski and snow resorts. It is operated by the Big Bear Valley Historical Society and made up of several buildings and outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy. Visitors can get a hands-on view of Big Bear's romantic and colorful history with preserved artifacts, a turn-of-the century dentist office/barbershop, a 1906 schoolhouse and a Civil War display.
Best and worst time to go to Big Bear Valley Historical Museum
The museum is only open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (and holiday Mondays) from the end of May to October. During those months, it would be best, especially in the summer, to visit during the week as the nearby campgrounds and cabins get busy on weekends.
Must see/do at Big Bear Valley Historical Museum
A life-size, traditional Native American teepee is in front of the museum, and the perfect photo opportunity for kids. Receive a hands-on mining experience by panning for gold (pyrite nuggets) like the miners did 150 years ago during California's "Gold Rush." There are also the remains of a famous Chinese flume that ran for seven miles and carried water across the mountain's ridge top. It was built with 250,000 square nails.
Admission to Big Bear Valley Historical Museum
Admission to the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is only a few dollars for adults, while children 14 and younger are free.
Parking and public transportation to Big Bear Valley Historical Museum
The museum is located off State Route 18 on Greenway Drive, just east of Big Bear Airport. There is a sufficient amount of parking for this small museum. For those taking public transportation, Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) heads in this direction, but does not take riders to the museum's door. Riders can pick up the 1A toward Gold Mountain at Interlaken Center at Big Bear Boulevard. This will take them to Nature's Inn down the street from the museum, and then they can walk two-tenths of a mile to get to the main building.
Food at Big Bear Valley Historical Museum
Food and drink are not allowed at the indoor museum. However, a visit to the old, recreated saloon nearby can get you a drink of sarsaparilla.
Insider tip for visitors toBig Bear Valley Historical Museum
The mountain roads get very dark at night. If you are unfamiliar with Big Bear City, consider leaving the area an hour or two before sunset. Also, Rt. 18 gets bombarded with traffic on late Sunday afternoons and early evenings with travelers going home. Consider going down the mountain earlier in the day.
Author's bio: Mary Beth Adomaitis is a freelance writer from Southern California. She loves to visit exciting and new places with her family. In the summer of 2014, she drove cross-country from California to Ohio, visiting 14 states in two weeks.