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Our Mission

The mission of the Buena Vista Museum is to educate, engage, and inspire our community to explore the wonders of science through enrichment activities, exhibits, and special programs

Our Collection

BVM has one of the best and largest collections available of fossils from the Miocene period (14-15 million years ago).  Kern County is home to more than 100 square miles of Miocene fossil beds.  Most of the Miocene fossils that reside at BVM were recovered from an area near Sharktooth Hill, northeast of Bakersfield.  These are unique and rare fossils; some are one of a kind and are not found with the same completeness anywhere else in the world! 

On display at BVM is a significant African animals collection with over 50 taxidermy specimens from the African continent. Additionally, North American animal specimens are on display providing an up close and personal look at the wildlife that live closer to home.


BVM's upper floor is home to an impressive display of fossils covering much of Earth's history including examples from the Paleozoic era, dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and ice-age specimens from the Pleistocene. Also on BVM's upper floor, you will find petrified woods and rock and mineral exhibits.

BVM houses the Native American Lifeways exhibit constructed in partnership with the Native American Preservation Council of Kern County. This interpretive display portrays Yokuts village structures and includes artifacts from many Kern County sites as well as collections from the Department of Energy and California State University, Bakersfield

Our Story

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science began in 1995 as a small exhibit at California Living Museum (CALM).  Through the years, BVM has grown tremendously every year. 

In November 2006, with help from the Native American Preservation Council of Kern County, BVM opened the new “Native American Lifeways” exhibit. This exhibit portrays a full scale .... 


In September of 2007 the museum opened phase I, and in 2008 Phase II, of the “Oh! Zone.” This area is a hands-on interactive nature discovery center that provides mind stimulating activities for children, parents and teachers.

Today, the exhibits are housed in a 20,000 square foot building containing three and half floors. Here, you can find world class specimens, exhibits, classrooms, a paleo-laboratory and secure storage areas. 

We couldn't do it without YOU!

Please consider helping us make our mission a reality. 

Make a Donation

Become a BVM Member

Become a BVM Volunteer

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