The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, located in Exposition Park, has long been a must-see museum since its opening in 1913. The museum’s storied history, coupled with its massive collection (over 35 million specimens dating back 4.5 billion years), mean there is plenty to see and do while visiting the museum. For first-time visitors, we have recommended five great, must-see exhibits that you won’t want to miss while visiting the Natural History Museum.
Kids and adults alike love dinosaurs. With twenty complete dinosaur and sea creature fossil mounts on display at the NHM’s Dinosaur Hall, it makes this exhibit one of the best Dinosaur experiences in the western United States. More than 300 real fossils fill the exhibit including the only trio of different aged T. Rex specimens in the world (three sizes at various ages are represented). Multimedia stations include hands on activities, as well as a look at the working paleontology lab. And, visitors involved in the excavation process are encouraged to be the next generation of paleontologists.
African Mammal Hall
Do you think you’re brave enough to go up close and personal and look at a wild animal in the face? Not many of us are, and we often don’t get the chance to. The African Mammal hall lets you study many incredible and fascinating animals. This exhibit recreates the natural enviornments of these animals which were found at the beginning of the twentieth century. From rainforest and desert creatures, the stunningly real recreations bring plants, birds, trees and other features to make you feel like you’re actually there. Some of the favorite animals on display are the Savanna elephant, the Arabian oryx, the spotted hyena, the okapi, the hippopotamus, and many others.
The Age of Mammals
The Age of Mammals takes museum guests on a journey through time as you can experience the climate change that brought the mammal species to prominence. Many of the pre-historic specimens in the exhibit lived in the SoCal area including the Simi Valley mastodon, the paleoparadoxiid, the giant jaguar, and the saber-toothed cat. The exhibit doesn’t stop with fossil skeleton specimens, a wide variety of taxidermy creatures are on display in stunning habitat dioramas, realistic interpretations of the natural environments and ecosystems the mammals call home. Hands on activities, including assembling an animal skeleton yourself, keep visitors of all ages engaged.
Becoming Los Angeles
The history of the Los Angeles area unfolds at “Becoming Los Angeles.” This is a must-see exhibit for any local interested in learning about L.A. 500 years of history of the area including six major sections, including the Spanish Mission Era, the Mexican Rancho Era, the early American period, the late 19th & 20th centuries, the Great Depression, and WWII to present are examined. The display follows the story of a tiny pueblo turning into the metropolis we know today. So much more than filmmaking, Los Angeles boasts an amazing array of history that is waiting to be discovered.
Arguably the museum’s most beautiful exhibit, Nature Gardens gets Angelenos outdoors to discover the dirt and soil that is essential to the history of our region. At the Erika J. Glazer Family Edible Garden, you can learn how to grow your own vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens, and the Pollinator Garden explores how to attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies while explaining the importance of these animals and plants, vital to the livelihood of every people group and community.