The Natural History Museum has always been a prime L.A. destination, with its beautiful rose gardens, dinosaur bones, and a myriad of other exhibits that showcase the wonders of nature for children and adults. This year, the LA institution turns 100 — and the centennial is bringing out the best of the Museum, with new programming, exciting shows, and fun exhibits for kids and adults alike. Here are a couple highlights.
Ring in the first Friday of every month at the NHM, with different programming each month that keeps the museum open until way past twilight. DJs will turn tables for the crowd, behind-the-scenes tours will be given long after the museum normally closes, and exciting discussions will be held until 10 pm! Click for details.
Not Just Dinosaurs
Dinosaur bones may bring the junior paleontologists to this Downtown L.A. landmark, but there is so much more to explore in the Natural History Museum. Take your kids to meet living animals every day of the week at 3:00 PM, or on weekends at 11:oo AM and 3:00 PM! Once Spring weather warms up the air surrounding the museum, the Butterfly Pavilion fills with over 40 species of the beautiful, winged insect. If you’re arriving at the end of summer, see spiders spin fantastic webs through the fall in the Spider Pavilion! If you want a hands-on experience, the Discovery Center is filled with items to touch and inspect, along with great programming to educate you and your kids.
There’s Stuff for Kids of Every Age
If your kids are younger, the Critter Club is the perfect place to be. Aimed to entertain 3-to-5 year olds, the Critter Club offers visits from animals, interactive storytelling, and craft making. Your 6-to-9 year old will love the monthly Junior Scientist events held at the Natural History Museum. With opportunities to use the exact same tools used by scientists in various fields, each month showcases a different arena of science on display at the museum. Each free monthly workshop includes a notebook, so all participants will get to ask questions and write down any fun notes they may have. Children 5 and older can participate in the Museum’s Overnight Adventures. Your kids will sleep in the museum and enjoy a night of programming on dinosaurs, archaeology, or even bugs! With snacks and adult supervision included, you can have a night off while your young ones get to work their imaginations. Kids of all ages will love Curator’s Cupboard, held only a couple days out of the year. See behind-the-scenes at the museum, and learn about the millions of fossils, gems, and bones that aren’t out in the main museum. The Curator’s Cupboard is also a great opportunity to meet museum curators and staff, so any young ones aspiring to one day work for a museum will be further inspired.
There’s Even Stuff For You Fossil-Aged Folks…
If you are looking for more grown up fun, the museum proves to be a surprising resource. Check out B-movies and Bad Science, an event hosted at the La Brea Tar Pits and created by the folks at NHM. See a terrible sci-fi movie from the days of yore, then participate in a scientific discussion that explains why the film you saw was so bad. You’ll learn while having fun, and you’ll even get to see original movie props and promotional materials.
On Sundays, the environmentally conscious come together at the Natural History Museum for a great series of activities, demonstrations, and workshops. These monthly Sustainable Sundays highlight local organizations with green goals, discuss global problems and search for solutions, and offer opportunities for environmental enlightenment for any adults looking to learn more about these complex issues.
We also love the informative lectures and book signings that the museum holds throughout the year. Visits from ape experts and field biologists are just the tip of the iceberg, and the lectures also include some great refreshments and discussion. Once spring rolls around, the Sunday gardening workshops are a great way to get outside and to learn even more about planting your own vegetables.
You Can Experience the Museum from Far Away!
If you’ve been to the Natural History Museum and you think you’ve seen it all, then why not participate in one of its biodiversity programs? These long-term studies look at the urban habitats of Los Angeles and the critters that live in them. Find all the butterfly species fluttering around L.A., or keep an eye on the Zombie fly and its interactions with the honey bee. Look for lizards, count ladybugs – there’s even a program for the spiders of our fine city. The Citizen Science program is a great way to explore L.A., while answering any science questions your budding naturalist might have.