This esteemed institution established in 1874 examines and preserves the history of the flora, fauna, and geology of Southern California and Baja, boasting a collection of over 7.3 million specimens. The long-running exhibition, Fossil Mysteries, works through seven geologic epochs and 75 million years with dioramas, interactive displays, and life-size models of dinosaurs. The Nat is also known for hosting popular traveling exhibitions, such as Real Pirates, which presents over 200 artifacts from the only pirate shipwreck ever to be discovered in U.S. territory. First-time visitors are often struck, figuratively that is, by the enormous Foucault Pendulum hanging in the lobby that demonstrates the rotation of the earth. The gift shop could be more accurately called a toy store, with plenty of kid-pleasing dinosaur and pirate gear, plus rocks and minerals, stuffed animals, educational games and books. A giant-screen theater shows 3D films about dinosaurs, the Ice Age, and great white sharks.