Sheriff's Museum – San Diego, California - Atlas Obscura
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San Diego, California

Sheriff's Museum

It would be a crime to miss it. 

The concept of a sheriff conjures up many romantic images of the Old West. The Sheriff’s Museum located in historic old town San Diego not only honors that tradition but also educates visitors about what it’s like to be in law enforcement today.  

Although it looks small from the outside, this museum is actually 6,800 square feet of room after room of crime-fighting equipment and history.

There are many interactive exhibits such as the convenience store robbery crime scene, which engages the visitor to look for clues, to the reconstructed courtroom, where you can sit in the judge’s chair and hand out justice. You can try on a bullet-proof vest, sit on a police motorcycle and turn on the siren, pretend to drive a sheriff’s vehicle, or get locked up inside the jail.

There are also specialized sections dedicated to subjects like women in law enforcement, K9 units, search and rescue and weapons, and walls of remembrance for those who have died in the line of duty. If you find yourself in Old Town San Diego, it would be a crime to miss it. 

Know Before You Go

As of July 2017, the museum's first floor was flooded and many of the exhibits have been removed. They are using this opportunity to update, modernize, and renovate many of the first floor exhibits. Until renovations are complete they are not charging admission, but suggesting donation. Call prior to visit to see if renovations are complete if you want to see the full museum. Entrance tickets are $5 for adults and kids under 12 are free. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00-5:30 (April through September) and 11:00-4:30 (October through March)