For something totally different, remember Exposition Park near the USC campus. The park is home to more than just the Coliseum, there are also the museums, a Rose Garden and a great farmers market every Saturday. One of the great things is that the California Science Center’s general exhibits are free as is wandering through the rose garden.
The museum was former the California Museum of Science and Industry until its remodeling in 1998. It now consists of the IMAX Theater, the Sketch Foundation Gallery – Air and Space Exhibits (formerly Aerospace Hall) and the Science Center itself.
The current exhibits include Identity: An Exhibition of You which will be open until Sept. 8. There are plenty of hands on exhibits to help youngsters (and who isn’t young at heart) to explore what makes individuals the people they are. Compare fingerprints with others. Find out our personality type. You can even see how you will look ages 30 to 40 years (some of us may not want to know).
Through August 30 there is a special exhibit of toys which will allow people to set up dominoes, build a mini roller coaster and more. According to the museum web site there are the following activities:
•Kids Construction Co., a partially assembled wood and foam house where young children can play “construction worker” and learn about shapes and pattern recognition.
•Tournament of Tops, which gives kids a chance to test spinning lengths of different sized tops. This fun-filled component teaches kids about inertia and angular momentum.
•Domino Challenge, where children experiment with chain reactions by setting up dominoes.
•Roller Coaster, which lets kids experiment with acceleration and momentum by adjusting the incline of a racetrack.
•Catch the Wind, a sailing exhibit that illustrates the Bernoulli principle.
The regular exhibits include the air and space exhibits, human inventions and an exploration of some natural history and science. Check their web site for more information about specific exhibits. To save even the parking fee, check the web site for a several fun games and projects for youngsters to do at home (including making green goop).
Exposition Park is also the home of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles www.nhm.org. Admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month. Open Daily 9:30 am – 5 pm. Museum admission: Adult $9, students (w. ID) $6.50. 900 Exposition Blvd. (between Vermont and Figueroa.), Los Angeles, CA 90007. Phone: (213) 763-DINO. The web site has a map of the museum and how to reach it.
Among the exhibits is the Pavilion of Wings (a look at butterflies), the Visible Vault (artifacts from the Aztec, Maya, Inca and their surrounding cultures on display in a new behind-the-scenes exhibit), the gem and mineral exhibit (including the Kazanjian Red Diamond), and the dinosaur exhibit (always a favorite with youngsters – it was there that my then 5 year old nephew taught my mother that the “spikes” on a stegosaurus were correctly called “plates” – she was appropriately chastised).
Public parking (fee) available on Menlo Avenue across from the Museum.
There is also the California African American Museum at 600 State Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037(213) 744-7432 www.caamuseum.org. The permanent collection centers on African American Journey West, documenting the African American contribution to the settlement of the West. It chronicles the African American journey from the west coast of Africa to the west coast of America. Artifacts include some from West Africa that demonstrate the art, history and culture of the regions; African Americans’ Southern legacy, and the Great Migration West. There are also exhibits of African American traditional and contemporary art as well as an extensive photographic collection.
There are also several current temporary exhibits. Currently these include: Beyond the Literal, through October 4, 2009, Inside My Head: Intuitive Artists of African Descent, through October 25, 2009, and Tuskegee Airman: The Journey To Flight,through November 29, 2009. For more details on these exhibits check the museum’s web site.
Exposition park also has a beautiful Rose Garden which is open from April through December from 9:00 am – sunset. It is closed to the public from January 1st – March 15th of each year for annual maintenance. It is an historic 7-acre sunken garden and has been called “one of the city’s best-kept secrets.” It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. On many weekends be forewarned that is it often the site of weddings in good weather.
It has operated by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks and has been since 1928. Each year the All-America Rose Selection, a rose growers organization, began donating its Rose of the Year to the garden. There are now more than 200 species with 20,000 bushes. It is a restful spot.
If all this were not enough there is even an Exposition Park Farmers Market held every Saturday from 11am on South Lawn right in front of the Natural History Museum. This is a Zero Waste market which means you must bring your own bag. There is live music every Saturday.
There is only one thing of which you must be aware: Check the schedule at the Coliseum. Parking can become dicey when there is an event there.
The California Science Center (www.californiasciencecenter.org) 39th Street & Figueroa Street. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 724-3623. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to Science Center permanent exhibition galleries is free. IMAX Admission Prices: Adult (age 18-59) $8.00, Child (age 4-12) $4.75, Student (age 13-17 and college students with valid ID) $5.75, Senior (age 60+) $5.75
Parking is $8 per car, $10 for buses or oversize vehicles (cash only).* To reach the parking structure, turn west into Exposition Park on 39th Street from Figueroa and follow the signs.