Are you somewhere between two years old and one hundred two years old? If so, you are in luck—you will enjoy visiting the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. From gems and minerals to American history to insects to dinosaurs, there is plenty to tickle your fancy. Plan on two to three hours, or more, to explore all the nooks and crannies of this fascinating museum.
During the summer months of 2010, April 11 through September 6, to be exact, hundreds of butterflies flutter around in the Pavilion of Wings. Some of the butterflies mate and produce offspring in the exhibit, but most are brought in from butterfly farms as chrysalis from across the US. It’s a wonderful experience to walk through the garden of flowers surrounded by these amazing creatures.
Inside the museum the exhibits are no less spectacular. The museum is camera friendly, allowing flash photography in most of the galleries. But you may get a better result by selecting the museum setting on your camera. Also, remember to use the “through glass” setting when photographing a showcase.
Over the past few years the museum has undergone a lot of changes. If you remember it from five or six years ago, you will notice the difference. Construction is still ongoing and more updated and new galleries will be opening in 2011 and 2012.
For now you can inspect the 30 terrariums housing all kinds of insects with information about their dining habits. You can walk around the skeleton of a huge whale. You can learn about the history of California and see real artifacts including the actual table used for the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga, which ended the fighting between the Californios and the US. You can see working paleontologists cleaning dinosaur bones. You can view archaeological treasures from the Inca and Mayan cultures. You can walk through a wetlands marsh and a rain forest. And when all that makes you hungry, you can sit outside in a pleasant patio munching on a healthy salad or sandwich.
During the summer months especially, the museum is filled with youngsters. There’s nothing wrong with Disneyland, but for about one tenth the price you can keep your kid happy for a morning or afternoon. The only crying you will hear is from small boys and girls who haven’t had enough and are upset to be leaving so soon. As a parent or grandparent you feel good not only to be entertaining your progeny but to be helping them learn valuable information too—and the best part is they are having so much fun they don’t even realize it is educational. But if you are an adult on your own, you will also have an enjoyable experience.
Of course, I don’t have to tell you the real test of a museum is the museum shop. Better yet when there are two—in this case the main store across from the entrance and off the rotunda. A refrigerator magnet is a nice way to remember any visit.
(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007