Exposition Park and “Museum Row” comprise the two locations in L.A. that are noted for their high density of museums. Exposition Park contains the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, the California Science Center, and the California African American Museum. Exposition Park also contains the Rose Garden, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (home to USC football) and the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.
We crossed off a major portion of our “to-do” list by visiting the Natural History Museum in December 2011. I was particularly excited to see the new Dinosaur exhibit, since I am fascinated by the fact that the earth (and the air) was at one point inhabited by gigantic lizard-birds. We spent some time with the dinosaurs and followed up our tour by visiting the mammals, which is metaphorically appropriate, since the mammals big show on earth begin after the dinosaur extinction. We then made our way through the “fin whale passage” which is a large room dedicated to displaying a single fin whale skeleton. The size of the skeleton provided us with a full appreciation for just how gigantic these animals really are. Just imagine some gigantic fin whale lumbering around in the ocean as you read this. We had had enough of the dead animals at this point so our next stop was the “Insect Zoo”. I figured we better eat before seeing a bunch of insects so we got our picnic food out of the car and went to the nearby Rose Garden for a picnic lunch. My wife and I are pretty crazy about planning ahead like that. (Hint: there is a cafeteria at the Natural History Museum, but it is pretty much detested on Yelp).
The “Insect Zoo” was pretty neat. They had a wide selection of insects and any one of them would make you lose your bowels if you stumbled upon it in the wild. The insects were sometimes difficult to find in their enclosures, but my wife and I trusted that they must be in there since the alternative would be catastrophic. The Museum contains an impressive collection of Gems and Minerals and a small quiet section devoted to American History. The museum also contained sections of stuffed mammals from Africa and North America. The stuffed mammal section would be described as a “dead animal zoo” by some, and would be the most interesting part of the museum in comedy movies that like to make museums come to life at night.
Individuals recommend visiting the Natural History Museum in the morning, having a picnic lunch at the Rose Garden, and visiting the California Science Center (CSC) in the afternoon. I Personally didn’t get too many kicks at the CSC.
Cost: $10 or $8 for parking nearby. $12 admission with discounts for a large portion of the population including students, children, and seniors.
Address: 900 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007