Indoor Activities

Although most visitors consider Point Reyes National Seashore to be primarily a park at which to enjoy the outdoors, there are three Visitor Centers in which one can find shelter and learn more about Point Reyes during inclement weather. In the Visitor Centers, one will find informative exhibits about the natural and cultural history of the Point Reyes area. Please see our Visitor Centers page to learn more about the Bear Valley, Kenneth C. Patrick and Lighthouse Visitor Centers. Or visitors with an appointment are welcome to check out the artwork that is on display in the Red Barn Classroom.

During inclement weather, visitors may also wish to visit the Jack Mason Museum in Inverness or the Bolinas Museum in Bolinas. There are also numerous art galleries in the vicinity.

Visitors may also request and view a number of audio-visual programs at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.


Bear Valley Visitor Center Auditorium

Now Showing:

  • "Point Reyes: The Point of Kings" - Point Reyes Orientation (16 minute video)
  • "Enchanted Shore" - Inspiring Images of the Seashore (20 minute slide presentation)
  • "Something Special" - Point Reyes Orientation and Introduction (22 minute video)
  • "On a Barren Rock" - Point Reyes Lighthouse History (11 minute video)
  • "A Spark of Life" - 1995 Vision Fire (12 minute video)
  • "Welcome to Kule Loklo" - Coast Miwok Indians (20 minute video)
  • "Cordell Bank: Blue Water Oasis" (15 minute video)
  • "Life at the Ocean's Edge" - Natural history of the threatened snowy plover and least tern (21 minute video)
  • "A Sheltered Sea - The Journey of the California Marine Life Protection Act" (23 minute video)
  • "This is America" - Preview of Ken Burns' 12-hour mini-series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" which was broadcast on PBS in September 2009 (45 minute video)

Audio-visual programs are shown on request. Inquire at the desk about additional offerings.

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Ranger giving a presentation to visitors using the Science on a Sphere.

Science On a Sphere

Attend a presentation of the park's Science On a Sphere® (SOS) at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. SOS presentations may be offered as a "Ranger's Choice" program at 1:30 pm on weekends. Check the program schedule on our Schedule of Events: Weekend Ranger Programs page, or stop by or call the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5 to learn when the next SOS program will be offered. We also have a variety of SOS films which can be viewed at other times of the day.

Science On a Sphere® is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed SOS® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.

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Red Barn Art Exhibitions

In 2003, Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) established the art gallery in the Red Barn Classroom at Point Reyes National Seashore. Rotating painting, photography, and educational exhibits several times a year, themes of the selected shows reflect the natural or cultural aspects of the Seashore and surrounding area. PRNSA sponsors the Art Exhibitions and handles all art show sales, a portion of which supports the Point Reyes National Seashore Museum and Archives Research Services. For art sales, contact the PRNSA Business Manager at 415-663-1200 x302 or by email. If you are interested in exhibiting your art work in the Red Barn, download and submit the Red Barn Art Gallery Guidelines for Artists and Application for Exhibit (116 KB PDF).

The Red Barn art gallery is open by appointment only, weekdays, 9 am to 4 pm; closed weekends and holidays and as otherwise noted. Please contact Carola DeRooy at 415-464-5125 or by email to schedule an appointment or for more information. For most exhibitions, there is also an accompanying artist reception, which is open to everyone.

To get to the Red Barn Classroom, follow the directions to Point Reyes National Seashore. As you proceed up the access road toward the Bear Valley Visitor Center, turn left at the sign for the Red Barn Classroom.

Historic black and white photograph of "Ella feeding the chickens" at the E Ranch on the Point Reyes Peninsula. Clara Marshall Collection, NPS.

"Ella feeding the chickens" at the E Ranch on the Point Reyes Peninsula.

West Marin Vernacular: 1850–1960
Exhibition: December 1, 2015, through January 4, 2016
Reception: December 12, 2015

In celebration of the centennial of the founding of the National Park Service, this show presents a collection of seldom-seen photographs of the lives and landscapes of West Marin. The oldest among them date back to the 1850s, when many of the ranches on the peninsula were first established. Most were taken by family members and friends documenting everyday activities—afternoons on the porch, milking in the barnyard, play with dogs and children, picnics on the beach—as well as the regionalisms that characterize life in West Marin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as unique—peninsula-wide ranch parties, the Lighthouse, the Bear Valley Rodeo, the hunting lodge, shipwrecks.

The show invites us to consider what's changed, what remains the same, how West Marin was shaped by its inhabitants, and how the spectacular and generous landscape gave shape to their existence. Even in their era, these photos read like a place out of time: the Point Reyes peninsula was a wild and isolated place to make a life, but provided a wealth of natural beauty and resources from the forests and hills and sea. In some ways, this collection is a depiction of people celebrating their own secret paradise.

This sensibility is at the core of the National Park Service's original intent, and it is still the place Point Reyes holds in many peoples’ hearts.

West Marin Vernacular: 1850–1960 will be on display at the Red Barn from December 1, 2015 through January 4, 2016. A reception for this exhibition will be hosted by the curator, Zoe Sheldon, on Saturday, December 12, 2015, from 11 am to 4 pm. Prints (framed and unframed) will be for sale. Photos will then move to other venues around the Bay Area.

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Earlier Red Barn Art Exhibitions have included:

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