Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Old Jan 12th, 2022, 11:56 AM
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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Tracy and I stepped back in history for a few hours in 2021 to check out what life was like many, many millions of years ago. Not too long after I watched 1954's Godzilla, King Of The Monsters for about the 100th time, we decided to check out the bones of some real prehistoric creatures at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The NHM is a lot more than just dinosaur bones, and after a sprucing up about a decade ago it has returned to its former glory. So climb in the Mai Tai Tom Time Tunnel and let's visit some of our ancient … and not so ancient ... creatures along with much, much more at the NHM L.A. Unlike Jurassic Park, you should return alive from this adventure. Story with lots of photos in link below ... story without photos below the two photos.

Tracy and I were in the mood for dinosaurs (despite Tracy being married to one), and with Jurassic Park being out of the question, we did the next best thing … we hopped in our car and drove to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County located in Exposition Park.

When the Natural History Museum (NHM) opened its doors in 1913. it was called The Museum of History, Science and Art. The opening was quite an event, and a two-week “civic celebration ensued.”

In 1961, the museum was divided into The Los Angeles County Museum of History and Science and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). LACMA moved into its own building in 1965, and the museum in Exposition Park eventually became known as the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Thanks to a modernization project and seismic upgrade done in time for its 100-year anniversary in 2013, the museum is a much better experience than it had been when we visited nearly two decades ago. The famed Rotunda is even more gorgeous (more on that later).

Covering 4 1/2 billion years of history, NHM contains about “35 million specimens and artifacts and is the largest natural and historical museum in the western United States.”

The museum is a lot more than just dinosaurs, but they are definitely the big draw. From a couple of huge rooms with dioramas that included animals from around the world …

… to a myriad of other exhibitions, both indoors and out, NHM is a cool place to spend a few hours

After purchasing our tickets and being reminded to properly distance and wear a mask …

… we entered the Nature Gardens.

Various flora greeted us on our short walk to the museum.

Informational signs pointed out some interesting details. I wanted to take a Squirrel Survey, but Tracy thought I was nuts.

Before hitting the interior of the museum we were directed to “A Living Wall,” where one can find a lot of little critters in the nooks and crannies. The sign told us to look for spider webs, but since I have enough of those at my house, we walked into the museum.

Tracy earned her butterfly wings, and we then flitted into the Nature Lab, which relates tales of the numerous non-human residents of Los Angeles County. Like Lou Reed might have sang, it was time to “take a walk on the wild side.”

We learned about one of L.A. County’s most famous residents, P-22, a mountain lion who has somehow survived crazy human behavior for many years. (There was another sighting of him just a few days before I wrote this.)

We witnessed bugging devices.

Once upon a time, many of these feathered creatures made L.A. County their home. Thanks to those open spaces being gobbled up by homes, only a few of them can be seen mostly in the San Gabriel Valley. This was, in essence, the first Eagles Farewell Tour.

Although probably geared for kids, these cartoons about squirrels, opossums …

… and even rats were quite interesting. No wonder these guys are hard to catch.

Beep! Beep!

After nearly being devoured by a Tyrannosaurus rex, we escaped to the Dinosaur Hall, which contains 20 mounted skeletons of these reptilian archosaurs that roamed the Earth millions of years ago.

We were met by a Triceratops, which is made up from bones of several specimens. Although an herbivore, those feet could cause quite a bit of damage if you were stepped upon

Something we did not neglect, was a Thescelosaurus neglectus, who was one of the last big dinosaurs to become extinct more than 60 million years ago.

And here all these years, they were around in One Million Years B.C. Raquel has aged well.

We paid our respects to the smallest dinosaur in North America, a Fruitaden.

I’ve always found dinosaurs fascinating, and the ones at NHM are pretty spectacular.

Everybody seemed angry and on the prowl, but whenever I glanced at the upper arm bones, it somehow seemed humerus to me.

This guy should have been the star of Jaws!

After being raptured by raptors, we stepped out of the beasts and into beauty. From 60 million years ago, we were now transported to only 100 years ago in the restored Haaga Family Rotunda, which was the museum’s original Beaux Arts entrance. In front of us stood the Three Graces statue by Julia Bracken Wendt, who was one of Los Angeles’ first prominent sculptors. The figures represent the disciplines of art, history, and science, and have also been called the Three Muses.

The sensational stained glass dome was created by Walter Horace Judson of the famed and acclaimed Judson Studios in South Pasadena. The great-grandson of Walter Horace Judson, David, was involved with the restoration of the stained-glass skylight.

Below is the dome from the outside (photo courtesy of NHM).

On the other side of the Rotunda is the Age Of Mammals, whether they be on land or sea.

We saw one of the original football referees.

There were lots of old bones, including mine …

… but there was no reason to stick your head in the sand.

Another door exiting the Rotunda led into an area called “Becoming Los Angeles.” This room’s exhibits told story of the diverse people and interesting places that were instrumental in creating L.A.

Many displays showed numerous ethnic groups, all who helped develop and facilitate the city’s growth.

Thanks to the following exhibit, our house now participates in Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), “which celebrates, honors and remembers their deceased loved ones.”

The altars here depicted the “cultural and environmental diversity” of the region, by “revisiting the history of Los Angeles.”

Altars depicted scenes from many nationalities.

Not all the people shown in these altars were dead, which was good news for Sandy Koufax and Herb Alpert.

One of my favorite recollections of the NHM were their life-sized African and North American dioramas of wildlife in their natural settings (photo below courtesy of NHM).

As its website says, “Immerse yourself in the sweaty jungles of Tanzania or the frozen tundra of the Arctic while staring gorillas and grizzly bears in the eye.”

The photos Tracy took looked like they were paintings, but these were actual large-sized dioramas showing the animals in their native habitat.

“Nothing up my sleeve.”

Bison and caribou roamed the windows.

I felt a little sheepish when Tracy took this shot.

Goo goo g’joob!!

I had never heard of an Arabian oryx.

Ah, there ain't no way to hide your lion eyes.

I’ll never forget the elephants.

Here, they frolic with some friends who will always stick their necks out for you.

Now it was time to catch up with probably the most well-known of all the dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus rex, or as fans of the song Bang A Gong call him, T. Rex.

In the Grand Foyer, old T-Rex looks like he’d like to bite the head off of Mr. Triceratops (photo on left courtesy of NHM).

I had always thought Godzilla was a T-rex, but I found out later he had originally been a T-rex. before being mutated by radiation. Godzilla was later changed to a Godzillasaurus, who could only be killed by the late, great Dr. Serizawa. I watched way too much TV as a kid.

We made our way back upstairs to take one last look at our dino friends.

Strolling outside, we took a quick peek at the Rose Garden, however it was closed on the day we visited, which turned out to be a thorn in Tracy’s side.

From every angle, the NHM is stunning.

There’s a little garden path in this area, and the flowers were fragrant and colorful.

One of these guys must have escaped from the nearby Butterfly Garden (also closed on this day..

That is one happy squirrel.

Having to exit from the other side of the building, we were in for a whale of a time. These bones came from a 7,000- pound, 63 foot skeleton that was put together showing it in mid-dive. It was acquired in 1926.

Our day at the museum was over, but it provided some cool memories. Besides the regular rooms to visit, NHM also features temporary exhibits. Currently (in early 2022), there is a Dr. Joan Goodall exhibit entitled “Becoming Jane,” which sounds very interesting. It runs through April, so hopefully we’ll get down there and take some photos.

The NHM is a delight for people of all ages. I’ll make no bones about this museum with bones, you should definitely pay it a visit. This large guy will be glad you did.

maitaitom is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2022, 03:49 PM
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Yo Old Bones,
Good to see that you and Tracy got out and had this NHM museum outing. Was there a discount for visitors of a certain age? The closed Butterfly Museum and Rose Garden await you two in the future. Thanks for taking the trouble to post this TR.
I have always felt lucky to have had a similar museum in our city, the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). As a teacher, my program involved a lot of outings to such places, frankly more than most of my colleagues. Ditto public library visits--we set the Guinness record and I am not kidding. So many crazy stories about such field trip excursions, dating from my student teaching days right through to the end.
'Eagles Farewell Tour'--love it!
Where to next?

I am done. the NHMTR
zebec is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2022, 10:33 AM
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"Was there a discount for visitors of a certain age? "

Yes, I got the $3 "Old Geezer Rate."

I have a couple of few places were working on. After seeing Dr. McCoy at the Star Trek Experience and then going to NHM, that's all the "Bones" I can take for now. Never a dull moment. Maple Leafs looking good.
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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 11:59 AM
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I have a couple of few places were working on...

And Tom never worked translating English ever again.
I am done. the Brit-bound
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Old Jan 29th, 2022, 03:12 PM
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"And Tom never worked translating English ever again."

Damn, where's that edit button when I need it?
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