Are you looking for free things to do in San Diego? Have you ever heard of the Mormon Battalion Museum? The Mormon Battalion Museum San Diego historical site is awesome and a great choice.
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is located in Old Town San Diego. Don't let the word Mormon museum scare you! All religions are welcome.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints did settle a lot of areas in the Western United States. This Old Town Mormon Battalion site tells an awesome story of brave men who represented the United States during the Mexican-American War.
We always make sure to visit the Mormon Battalion Museum when we go to San Diego! Our kids love it because it brings history alive with interactive experiences.
In this post, we are going to give you some basic information about the Mormon Battalion visitor center, all of the fun things to do at the Mormon Battalion Historical site, and some fun tours that include the Mormon Battalion San Diego site.
Let's explore what to expect at the Mormon Battalion Historical Site!
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Where Is The Mormon Battalion Historic Site Located?
The Mormon Battalion Museum is located in Old Town San Diego. If you are familiar with San Diego you will know that this area is a high tourist area.
Many people love coming to Old Town to get authentic Mexican food. It is also a historic district with many historic buildings and museums that are replicas of structures from the 1850s when California first became a state.
Mormon Battalion Museum
The Mormon Battalion Museum is not located in the main part of Old Town San Diego. You have to walk about a block or two from the main area. It isn't too far.
If you GPS it, you can start at the Mormon Battalion museum and then head over to the other part of the historic district.
Parking at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site
During busy seasons, parking is a nightmare at Old Town San Diego! But if you are specifically going to the Mormon Battalion Museum there is a free parking lot on site. We went at a very busy time and had no problem finding a spot.
Just know that you will have to park at another spot once you leave the museum.
Do I Need Tickets or Reservations for the Mormon Battalion Historic Site
Tickets are not required. Reservations are sometimes required during busy times but we went during Christmas break and still had no trouble.
It is a good idea to call ahead and make sure that you can get in but not necessary. We were able to get a tour within 10 minutes and we had a party of 14.
So no need to worry if you just show up!
How Long Is the Mormon Battalion Museum Tour?
A few things that you should know so that you can plan accordingly. The Mormon Battalion Museum tour takes about 40-45 minutes.
My kids wanted to stay longer as they have gold panning after the tour. They loved that. The tour is also free! So, this is a free thing to do in San Diego.
What to Expect from the Mormon Battalion Historic Tour
The Mormon Battalion San Diego tour is really awesome. The Mormon Battalion Museum is an interactive museum.
As you enter the building you are guided to an area where you meet real people from the past, who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints during the time that the saints were basically being kicked out of Illinois.
The United States Army came and asked 500 men to be a part of the Mexican-American War. This group became known as the Mormon Battalion.
The Mormon Battalion Tour
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site tour guides (sister missionaries) will lead you through four different rooms which represent different parts of the journey to San Diego.
The first part reminds me of Harry Potter because the photographs actually talk and walk out of the frames. It is really cool! You get to follow these individuals and learn about their stories.
The next room a video is shown all about the lives of the Mormon Battalion members and their decisions and why they wanted to join the Mormon Battalion army.
Living History Mormon Battalion Museum
After the video, you are led into a room that resembles the campground of the army. You watch a video describing how migrants enlisted in the army.
You then proceed to a room that resembles the living quarters of the Mormon battalion.
Become a Mormon Battalion Member
A volunteer in the tour group gets chosen to try on all the items that the soldiers had to carry. These items included a heavy musket, a backpack made of wood, and food. It was a lot of extra weight as the soldiers marched from Nebraska to San Diego.
This really brings things to life when you get to experience hands-on learning.
Mormon Battalion San Diego
After getting the demonstration we went into another room and watched a different video that showed how the people who served in this militia were spared actually having to fight a battle.
They finished their march to San Diego and ended up helping the people who lived there establish a city. They built houses and roads and were some of the first Americans in the San Diego area.
As you conclude your Mormon Battalion tour, you and those who you came with will get a really cool black and white souvenir photo. I would post a picture of it but ours didn't turn out so hot. I look pretty bad!
After the photograph, you step outside into a courtyard. This area was the highlight for our family. The kids will get to pan for gold.
You can pan for as much gold as you can find but will only be able to take one piece as a souvenir. There are waterproof aprons that your kids can wear to avoid getting wet. Our older kids were fine but our little ones needed the aprons for sure!
Our Thoughts on the Mormon Battalion Museum
This concludes the Mormon Battalion San Diego tour explanation!
We were very impressed with the presentation and interaction along the way. If you are nervous about this being an establishment run by a church don't be. You will not be preached to.
This site's purpose is to honor those members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who served in the Mexican-American War.
The Mormon Battalion Museum is a fun interactive museum and maybe the best museum in all of Old Town San Diego!
Will my Kids Like the Mormon Battalion Historic Site?
Absolutely! Your kids will love this tour. Even our little kids had the attention span to enjoy the entire presentation.
This tour is a fun family outing that your kids will love. I highly recommend the Mormon Battalion Museum if you are headed to San Diego!
Tours Available Around Old Town San Diego
The Old Town Trolley Tour is a nice option because you will not have to deal with having to find a parking spot on the street or having to pay for parking in a private lot. It will take you to more locations besides Old Town San Diego as well!
San Diego City Guided Tour
The San Diego City Guided Tour also has a stop at Old Town San Diego. If you are looking for more options this might be a great idea.
Have Fun at the Old Town Mormon Battalion San Diego Museum!
You will have a blast in San Diego! I hope you get to go to Old Town and see the Mormon Battalion Museum!
If you will be in San Diego and need more ideas for what to do, be sure to check out my post on San Diego in 3 Days the Ultimate Vacation and if you are thinking about having a SeaWorld San Diego Vacation or the Marina District I also have a great post to help you out there.
The Best Citieplanningaway.com/seaworld-san-diego-vacations in California is also a great read if you are planning on seeing more of the wonderful state of California!
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