Exciting New Additions Mark Los Angeles Natural History Museum’s Centennial
My family and I found a new hang out in Los Angeles: The Natural History Museum ! Just a few weeks ago the museum opened doors to its brand new Nature Lab and Nature Gardens and, wow!, are we impressed! My kids spent hours just in the Nature Lab exhibit alone. Here visitors can find out more about L.A.’s wildlife that’s starting right outside our front door, or should we say right inside our own homes, speaking of silverfish, cockroaches, bed bugs , etc. . Visitors learn about which foreign species (be it animal or plants) took over the habitat from its California native counterparts making life for those unbearable and sometimes pushing them even close to extinction, like in the case of the Western Pond Turtle which is being pushed out of its habitat by the Red-Eared Slider Turtle.
All this information is delightfully packaged into little messages on walls and displays, but one can find more in-depth articles as well. Visitors can observe the behavior of live animals in glass terrariums, like native rats, spiders, lizards, snakes and more while interactive games and movies invite to get deeper into the subject. So much information everywhere, but so perfectly displayed and in so many appealing variations that one doesn’t get tired of exploring. The different information bites entice the viewer to read on, keep on listening and wanting to find out more!
Throughout the museum visitors get reminded to take an active role in discovering nature all around them, and get encouraged to share their new findings via email directly with NHM scientists.
Did you know we had parrots flying around L.A. and OC? Well, today I learned that the Red Crowned Parrot has in fact become LA’s most common wild parrot!! Another interesting fact I came across was that black widows are slowly being replaced by their grayish looking cousins, the Brown Widow, which luckily are not as poisonous as the California native black one. In 2003 school children in Los Angeles discovered the first brown widow in L.A. . And so on….
A new science experience for the 21st century minds of young and old
Having covered the California Science Center for CaliforniaGermans, which is right next door to the Natural History Museum, as well as San Francisco’s Exploratorium (before its move to the Pier this year) and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, I must say that this is an addition Los Angeles’ museums world can be so proud of.
Designed by German architect Fabian Kremkus the new addition to the Natural History Museum also features a beautiful Nature Garden, which unfortunately we ran out of time to explore today. We will have to tame our curiosity and wait for next time to visit the “Listening Tree”, where one can hear the water flowing inside the trees! However, we did take a tour of the little Butterfly Pavilion, where kids can experience various kinds of butterflies flying around them and witness their different stages of development. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff is right there to answer all kinds of questions one might have..
Dinosaur Galore in Dinosaur Hall
Should you have enough time to treat your kids to the extraordinary dinosaur exhibit, definitely do so. Completely redone, the exhibit opened in 2011 and is impressive. Yes, there is a lot to read, but if you like to dig in to the whole history, this is the way to do it. The complete dinosaur age is exceptionally well explained and recounted. This being said, even younger kids will love to spend time here since there is simply so much to see. And just envisioning those huge animals roaming about the same ‘habitat’ that we are walking on today, is an adventure in itself.
With the architectural design of its new additions the Natural History Museum also supports Los Angeles’ urban development with a new entrance (the Otis Booth Pavilion) right on the side of Exposition Boulevard and the light-rail Expo Line, which shall entice pedestrians to stop by the museum.
All in all the Los Angeles Natural History Museum has become a gem of a museum, one you don’t want to miss! It’s inspiring, and with its innovative design so ready to take on 21st century audiences.
Don’t miss putting it on your summer To Do list !
Upcoming new exhibits and events at the NHM:
- “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit covering 500 years of LA history, opens on July 14. LA.
- A Friday night film series of L.A.centric movies starts July 13.
- You: Natural History Museum is set to dive into L.A.’s cultural scene (latimes.com)
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Opens Nature Gardens, Nature Lab and Otis Booth Pavilion to Public Sunday, June 9, as Culmination of Transformation Into an Indoor-Outdoor Destination (sys-con.com)