Tag Archives: Family Events

Kids ‘Approved’ Museum Shows around L.A. – Kindgerechte Ausstellungen in Museen rund um L.A.

Museums are a great way to educate children about science, history, music and art, and in fact about life in general. If these shows are even fun on top of it, the learning experience is even more impressive. A trip to the musuem can be a great adventure for the whole family and will give you stuff to talk about for days to come.

There are a few shows here in Southern California that I wanted to mention and which are definitely worth while to take your kids to. The Natural History Museum in LA has a great exhibition that opened during the summer. Age Of Mammals goes back in history and tells the story of the extinction of the dinosaurs to the evolution of the  mammals. In a superbly researched exhibit one can read about and see historical mammals’ skeletons that used to live here in our neighborhood, like a Smilodon fatalis, a sabor-toothed tiger that was found in the Brea Tar Pits. The exhibition is great for kids, even though in my opinion children above the age of eight might get more out of it and value it more, since there is much to read and explore on panels and computer screens. (read more about the show in a LA Times article)

Aside from the Age of Mammals show the Natural History Museum in LA has a lot more to offer. My six-year old loves to walk through the permanent exhibits of animals of the world, standing close to elephants in the Sahara or in the big plains next to grazing Bisons. In the Discovery Center on the ground floor, kids can get hands-on experience as a paleontologist and dig for dinosaur bones. Another popular attraction is the Insect Zoo, which features anything from weird spiders to scorpions to velvet ants.

Next to the Natural History Museum is the California Science Museum, an impressive museum in and out, with mind-blowing shows, like Mummies of the World or Ecosystems . We have yet to visit the Mummies of the World show, but couldn’t hear enough good about it from other parents while visiting the Ecosystems. While Ecosystems and so many other special exhibits are all free at the California Science Center, the Mummies of the World exhibition does have a ticket fee. In fact it is advisable to buy tickets in advance, since the show is in high demand. Don’t delay and visit it soon. Mummies of the World is only open for a limited time and very popular! (Read Article below: ‘Mummies of the world welcomes 100,000 visitor’)

Ecosystems is another exhibit you want to make sure to bring your kids to. Eight zones illustrate a different ecological principle. “Explore the varied ecosystems of land and sea, and discover how the physical and living worlds are connected and shaped by the same fundamental ecological principles.” (California Science Museum website) Lots of hands-on displays make the information digestible also for little kids. Ecosystems is a show you can go back to several times and find yourself discovering new things every time you are there.

Another museum that deserves great attention is the El Muzeo in Anaheim. A small museum with only a limited exhibition space , compared to the big museums just mentioned above, this museum is putting on various shows throughout the year that are stunning as well as admirably researched in detail. The latest one is Frogs: A Chorus of Colors. The exhibition features over 100 live frogs, many interactive displays (great for younger & older kids!) and various movies on different topics of frogs’ lives but also on the topic of how frogs are an indicator of environmental changes on our planet earth. The kids station that offers several frog games as well as computers with special frog animation games and a computer with a special program for virtually dissecting a frog, is very popular with children of all ages. Great, great exhibit! Hurry to not miss this wonderful, colorful show, since it is only open until September 12th, 2010.

Another museums where kids can have a lot of fun is the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. A great attraction among the many regularly changing shows is for sure the permanent Dino Quest, where kids can earn little token once they have mastered the Dino Quest. On our list to visit next is the Natural Science Musuem in San Diego with its Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries and The Art Shack at the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach.




Farewell to the OC FAIR

The Orange County Fair, ranked as the 11th most attended fairs in North America, with 1,072,018 attendees (OC Register Wiki)  will end this weekend. Open from 10am to midnight on the last few days, many events are included for free at the OC Fair. Enjoy the last days of deep-fried delicacies, heart-stopping rides, rockin’ concerts and more for the whole family (OC Fair Newsrelease, Aug. 9).

With a carnival, petting zoo, extreme sports acts, acrobatics, live music and more, the OC Fair has always offered fun for everyone (OC Register Wiki). In 1890 the Orange County Farigrounds were founded and after many headline news this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sold the Fairgrounds to the City of Costa Mesa for $96 million this June, just before the official start of the OC Fair.



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Should you have missed the OC Fair and are longing for some “Jahrmarkt” adventures, then prepare yourself for the LA County FAIR starting Sept. 4th to Oct. 3rd, 2010.


Fun In The Sun – Summer Attractions in Southern California

Summer in Southern California means diving not only into the waves at the beach but also into the wealth of attractions and fun activities offered by every city along the beaches but also inland. Great about it is, that most of the fun is FREE! Look at the endless beaches. One always can find a great spot and enjoy a whole day at the beach without paying prime time money to secure a nice sunspot contrary to being on the Italian or French riviera. Most often the beach cities are offering a whole entertainment program for free as well. Look out for movies or concerts at the  beach or street fairs. Check out your local press for the latest announcements. All you need to pay for  is usually for food & drinks and trinkets  you would like to buy at the fair. One fun street fair is the weekly one in downtown Huntington Beach Main Street every Tuesday from 5 – 9 PM.

Speaking of Fairs, the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa has started last Friday and will last until August 15th. Apart from all the carnival ride attractions there is entertainment of all kinds. The Ice Museum presented by Carving Ice, features the fair’s coolest attraction. In a 25′ by 25′ ice gallery that’s kept at 15 degrees, the visitor can watch ice sculptures of classic artworks, like the Mona Lisa. So, should you get too hot at a day’s long visit at the fairgrounds , go and cool off at the Ice Museum.

Three famous summer art festivals are happening in Laguna Beach at the moment and are fun for the whole family. The Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair. A triple value passport is offered through www.lagunabaechpassport.com or by calling (949)497 0521. For just $19 you receive unlimited admission to all three festivals. Every ticket includes a one-time, all-day free parking!

The Festival of The Arts offers a great way for the whole family to spend a whole day immersed into the art world. Start the day with a free guided art tour, offered weekdays (11am & 3pm) weekends (11am & 4pm) . The artists are all present, which makes it easy to chat with them and get to know the person behind the artwork. Sign up for the many daily free art work shops, where you can learn about the various art techniques. Offered are workshops on :  Printmaking, RAKU ceramic workshops, and Video 101 FOA (thru august 30th, 10-11am) and more.

Every Saturday afternoon there is the Summer Smooth Jazz Concert Series at the Festival of The Arts from 1-3:30pm ( free with Festival Admission $7). In the mood for an exquisite wine tasting? Then don’t miss the Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate! Events every Thursday 5-8pm. Experience fine chocolate and wine tasting at its best for a nominal $12 fee in addition to the general Festival admission. (Check out their calendar for the daily events). At night enjoy the show of the Pageant of the Masters. A celebration of art showing world know master pieces as “living pictures”.

Almost right across from the Festival of the Arts is the Sawdust Art Festival, which my 6-year old really enjoys every time. The visitor will find a mix of fine art and craft. ‘Media include hand-blown and fused glass, painting, jewelry, surf art, ceramics, clothing and textiles, wood and metal sculpture,

Sawdust Festival 2010

scrimshaw, photography, and so much more’ (see Sawdust Festival website). Kids love the four stations with ‘hands on art projects’ like the pottery station, where kids but also adults can learn how to make a little piece of clay into a beautiful bowl, vase, etc.

If you have enough form the sun and outdoor activities please take a look at the great show at Southern California museums . The Los Angeles Natural History Museum just had the grand opening of its exhibition “Age Of Mammals”, featuring spectacular and rare specimens on display, including a sabor-toothed cat. And at the San Diego Natural History museum at Balboa Park the dinosaurs are loose.  Don’t leave before seeing some of the various dinosaur movies in 3-D and check out “Dinosaur Sundays” from 11am to 3pm during the summer, where kids can dig for fossils, create dinosaur art and much more.

Another fun dino quest takes place at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. While this is a permanent exhibit throughout the year there are interesting exhibits going on all the time which are well worth visiting as well. Grossology and Tinkertoy as well as the Boing Rocket Lab are current exhibits.

Another not to be missed exhibit is the “Mummies of the World” exhibit at the California Science Center in LA. According to the Goethe Institut it “…is one of the largest traveling exhibitions of mummies ever mounted. Based on the work of the German Mummy Project,  it features a collection of 150 human and animal mummies dating as far back as 6,500 years.” Admission to the Science Center’s permanent exhibition galleries is free. Tickets for the “Mummies of the World” are $19.50 adult or $12.50 for a child. Call (213) 744-2019 to reserve your ticket or buy them online.


Art Walks & Film Festivals

Spring has arrived and with it the time of great, not-to-be-missed art walks and film fests.

The Spring Brewery Artwalk is next weekend, April 17-18, 2010 from 11am-6pm. The Brewery in downtown Los Angeles is the world’s largest arts community. Industrial buildings have been converted to art studios and live-in/work studios that host up to 300 artists and art related businesses. For the two annual artwalks , one in fall and one in spring, more than 100 artists usually open their doors for visitors to see their work and also see the artists in action.

The scene is vibrant and one can spend the whole day exploring the latest in the artscene. The artists are right there to answer any questions or to just chat with you about their work. If you fall in love with a piece of artwork, you can not only buy and take it home right there but you can get to know the artist behind the work as well. This makes for some invaluable connection to your new artwork and memories as well.

You can discover new works, find unique art gifts and millions of decoration ideas.  The on-site restaurant makes it easy to take a lunch break without leaving the premises, so that you can just lean back and enjoy the scene around you.

The Brewery Arts Colony is located on 2100 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031

Another famous art walk is coming up in May 2010, in Venice. It’s different from the Brewery one in the sense of being spread out over Venice itself. It’s not one big art complex. You will actually walk through the streets of Venice visiting houses and studios of artists all around the neighborhood. Plan for it. It’s exciting, fun, impressive and absolutely worth it. (Read some reviews of people who went to last year’s Venice Art Walk on Yelp ) This year’s Venice Art Walk & Auction will be on 22-23 May, 2010. One can tour the studios of about 400 artists and attend architectural tours of 15 extraordinary houses. Check their website regularly for updated information.

Once you got into the spirit of the arts with the Brewery Artwalk, plan ahead for the Newport Beach Filmfestival, which starts the following Thursday, April 22. One can enjoy cinematographic gems just blocks away from the beautiful Newport Beach ocean line. Films will be offered throughout the city and some will feel like Hollywood has changed places for a few days. Showcased will be a diverse collection of studio and independent films by both emerging and seasoned filmmakers. The festival has something for everyone, from free events to films in the categories:  ‘ActionSports’, ‘Family’,’ Youth Films’ and of course the special Festival 2010 feature film selections. The Festival opens up with the movie ‘Five Star Day’ and closes with ‘Letters to Juliet’ on April 29th. Don’t miss the great series of documentaries and shorts. To download a digital program go to the Festival’s website and plan and buy your tickets ahead of time.

The LA Film Festival is next and takes place in Westwood Village from June 17-27, 2010. Now in its 16th year , it “…has grown from being held in one theater with 5,700 attendees” (official 2010 press release) to an event with more than 85,000 visitors expected this year. The Festival schedule is not yet posted. For ticketing information please phone 1-866-345-6337.


A world to experience: LACMA – more than a museum.

LACMA, the “mega museum’ in Los Angeles just opened its blockbuster show RENOIR on the 14. February. The exhibition focuses on the last three decades of the master’s work, when he turned away from impressionism towards a more decorative and classical painting style. “This exhibition is the first monographic study dedicated to Renoir since the comprehensive retrospective of 1985 at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, and the first one ever mounted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.” (LACMA  Online).

For everyone who wants to immerse him/herself more into the French culture, LACMA offers a special Adult Art Course—The Art of Wine: Sensuous Wines from Renoir’s France on Saturday, March 20 | 7:00 pm.  After viewing the exhibition a wine historian will introduce a variety of wines from the area near Renoir’s home in the South of France, and from his wife’s home region, Provence.

Another art exhibition at LACMA not to be missed is Joseph Beuys: The Multiples at BCAM, 3rd Level.
This special exhibition has already been open since September 2009 and  “…features 572 of the artist’s works from the collection of The Broad Art Foundation” (LACMA online). Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and his life and his art spiked a lot of controversy not only in Germany.  “Beuys’s multiples were intended to be widely circulated and cheap to acquire. Ranging from small-editioned objects to mass-produced political flyers and postcards, in materials as different as felt, wood, found objects like water bottles and tin cans, instruments, records, film, video, and audio tapes related to performances, these works, rich with allusions to his biography and personal iconography, provide a complete picture of his diverse oeuvre.” (LACMA online)

If you want to combine art and music, visit LACMA on a Sunday. Every Sunday at 6pm, one can enjoy free chamber music concerts and recitals with artists from Southern California and around the world. And if you are at LACMA with children then don’t forget to check out NexGen’s Boone Children’s Gallery. Kids will love all the creative arts programs and it’s free.

To find out more about this wonderful museum, where one can spend more then just an afternoon, visit LACMA’s website: www.lacma.org