Check out this museum of local natural history in Santa Barbara, CA
I enjoy learning natural history and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a fantastic museum. It doesn't look like much but a big house with a peaceful courtyard, but each room contains a large and expertly put together exhibit. I found this to be one of the better natural history museums on the West coast.
What makes this museum so unique is that it really focuses on the geological and cultural history of the area. There are dozens of exhibits that show the unique landscape of Santa Barbara and surrounding coastline. You can also find the most complete Channel Island pygmy mammoth ever found.
There is a Chumash (name of the local native people) exhibit that contains gorgeous examples of their basket weaving skills as well as an exhibit hall for gems and minerals containing some fabulous specimens.