Natural History Museum
If you’d like to get your kids some fun with educational purpose, take them to the Natural History Museum (900 Exposition Blvd., 213/763-3466, www.nhm.org, Mon.–Fri. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., adults $9, teens/seniors $6.50, children $2, parking $6). This huge museum features many amazing galleries; some are transformed into examples of mammal habitats, others display artifacts of various peoples indigenous to the Western Hemisphere.
The Discovery Center welcomes children with a wide array of live animals and insects, plus hands-on displays that let kids learn by touching as well as looking. The chapparal exhibit is a favorite, and it provides a multisensory experience that includes smell as well as sight and sound.
Dinosaur lovers can spend a whole day examining the museum’s collection of fossils and models, which include a tyrannosaur skull. Be sure to visit the Megamouth as you walk through; it’s one of only 17 examples of this species of shark ever discovered by humans.
Rock nuts flock to the Natural History Museum to see the fabulous gem and mineral display, complete with gold and a vault filled with rare precious stones. If you’re interested in the natural history and culture of California, be sure to spend some time in the Lando Hall of California History.
The Natural History Museum sits within the larger Exposition Park complex. The museum café is open daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m. All exhibits are both wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, but ask at the ticket booths if you need special assistance to tour the museum.
Do be aware that the surrounding neighborhood can be dicey, so don’t plan to explore the area around the museum on foot.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition