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San Diego Museum Doubles in Size, Adds Glass Atrium

April 08, 2001

Fulfilling a six-decade-old dream, the San Diego Natural History Museum this weekend reopened with its first addition, more than doubling its space and adding a dramatic, four-story atrium.

Planners of the building in Balboa Park wanted to put a courtyard and an east wing on the L-shaped building when it was built in 1933, but the economic pressure of the Great Depression thwarted their efforts, a museum spokeswoman said.

In the $28-million expansion, financed largely by private funds, the courtyard has become a glass-walled atrium. The addition also includes an 8,500-square-foot hall for large traveling exhibitions and a 300-seat theater for large-format films. The exhibit "Epidemic! The Natural History of Disease" opened this weekend in the new hall and runs through Aug. 12. The film "Ocean Oasis: The Story of Baja California and the Sea of Cortes" is running at the theater.

Museum admission, including the film, is $7 adults; $6 ages 60 and older; $5 ages 5 to 17; free under 5. Each price will go up $1 May 25. The museum is open daily. Telephone (619) 232-3821, Internet http://www.sdnhm.org.

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