Day at the Museum -The Natural History Museum

One of my favorite museums in Los Angeles is the Natural History Museum which is located in Exposition Park.  The museum is a beautiful building that is adorned with grand pillars and a massive domed roof. It houses four floors of exhibits featuring over 80 million items that include prehistoric creatures, dinosaurs and life-size replicas of mammals that date over 65 million years!  It also showcases a butterfly pavilion and a beautiful nature garden exhibit. L.A. County Residents get free admission from 3–5 pm Monday through Friday. If you are 17 and younger but live outside of LA County, the admission is only $12. You can pretty much spend the whole day there, as there is so much to see and do!

One of my favorite exhibits is the Dinosaur Hall, which features an extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons and fossils. The hall showcases a 67-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Stegosaurus but there are also a wide range of others like the Brachiosaurus and the Velociraptor. The models are incredibly realistic and there is a variety of fossils and skeletons from different periods of the dinosaur era. There are also very cool interactive displays that allow you touch real fossils and participate in a virtual reality experience that puts you in an simulated dinosaur habitat!

There many other exhibits like the African Mammals exhibit that highlights various life size mammals found in Africa. The Age of Mammals exhibit, which is another completely different exhibit, shows the evolution of mammals over the past 65 million years. Also life size! There is an Insect Zoo that displays live insects from around the world. The Gem and Mineral Hall houses the famous 563-carat Star of India sapphire, as well as many other remarkable gems and minerals that you’ve probably never even heard of before. The Nature Lab which is an interactive space. lets you explore the natural world and learn through hands on fun. There is a lot! Although all of the exhibits are pretty incredible, I think the most important part of the museum is that it serves as an educational resource for the city. There are a lot of educational programs and workshops for students and teachers that are designed to engage learning and interest in scientific exploration. There is also a focus on environmental conservation and sustainability which reminds us to be mindful of the impact that we have or leave on planet Earth. This is a pretty phenomenal museum that you should visit at least once!

Day at the Museum-LACMA

One of my favorite museums is LACMA. The LA County Museum of Art is located in Los Angeles and It is the largest art museum in the western United States. It houses a collection of over 145,000 objects and covers over 6,000 years of artistic history.  It showcases works of art from many different cultures and time periods, which is why it draws such a wide audience. For anyone 17 and under that live in Los Angeles County, admission is free! I think that is amazing because the value of the museum is priceless. Also, there’s not a lot free out there that’s cool, interesting as well as interactive.  If you’re 17 and under but live outside of LA County, the admission is ONLY $10. I say it is ONLY because there is so much to see and actually do there. 

There are five different buildings of art and experiential activities.  You can take an art class, you can take a docent tour, you can participate in a community program, and then there’s ALL that art to see. There are also music, design and film programs, as well as concerts every Friday night. That’s a lot for free, or $10 if you’re from Orange County.

If you don’t have all day to take advantage of any of the numerous programs that are offered, and just want to view the art, the exhibits at LACMA  are overwhelming (in a good way) in range and style. The permanent Picasso and Warhol exhibits are definitely highlights but past exhibits have covered everything from Monet to Yoshimoto Nara and the Obama Portraits. The ever changing exhibits are windows into different perspectives of historical and current issues, as well as beautiful or repugnant reminders of the human experience. I’ve been to many museums all across the country and for many reasons this one holds a place because I’ve been going there since I was three years old. I didn’t quite get it when I was that young but in retrospect, I believe that any cultural experience you have offers a frame of reference into your future panoramic view and that’s worth a lot more than $10. If you can take a day trip to LA, definitely make it to LACMA, even if you are not a huge museum person. You will see crazy, beautiful and completely unique things that you will not see anywhere else!