Kristen Beall Barnes

There are many nonprofit organizations here in Kern County working diligently to provide our community with opportunities to learn, grow and have fun experiencing this amazing place we call home.

Think about what matters most to you. Is it having a natural place to play outdoors? Learning about our rich history? Fostering a love for animals? Teaching your children the importance of understanding our environment? Igniting a passion for the arts? Whatever it is, it’s easy to get out and find a nonprofit organization aligned with your values! Here is a list of places to visit and a few ideas you might consider supporting.

Bakersfield Museum of Art (BMoA) Downtown Bakersfield

The museum and its art-filled gardens are beautiful places to visit. Featuring a permanent collection and traveling exhibits, children’s programming, artist interaction and evening events like Art After Dark and Theater in the Garden.

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History Downtown Bakersfield

A four-story, family friendly museum focused on geology, anthropology and paleontology. Visit and see the largest known display of fossils from the Miocene period.

California Living Museum (CALM) East Bakersfield

A family friendly zoo displaying native California animals, plants, fossils and artifacts in interactive exhibits for education, recreation, conservation and research. Now featuring condors and the California Coast Room.

China Lake Museum Mojave

A large variety of present and past U.S. Navy aircraft, weapons and technology displayed for close-up viewing. •

Kern Pioneer Village Downtown Bakersfield

Featuring historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1800s, exhibits on the oil industry and the Bakersfield Sound, and the interactive Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center, the museum breathes life into the history of Kern County.

Maturango Museum of Indian Wells Valley Ridgecrest

Highlighting the natural and cultural history of the northern Mojave Desert through research and education in science and art.

Wind Wolves Preserve

South of Bakersfield

Experience 93,000 acres of impressive land formations and habitats made accessible to the public through hiking trails, guided tours and community events.

Kristen Beall Barnes, Ed.D., is the president and CEO at Kern Community Foundation. Contact her at or 616-2601. The views expressed in this column are her own.

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