The NHM's original Beaux Arts structure was the first museum building in Los Angeles, opening with Exposition Park itself back in 1913. Its massive collection spans more than 35 million objects and specimens (not all of them are on display at any one time), making it second in size only to the Smithsonian's.
It's an immense place, so it's well worth planning your visit. Those with only a little time to spare should head directly to the truly dazzling collections in the Gem & Mineral Hall, where the exhibits include a 4,644-carat topaz, a 2,200-carat opal sphere and a quartz crystal ball which, with a diameter of 10.9 in and a weight of 65lb, is one of the biggest on earth.
A six-year, $135-million program of renovations wrapped up in 2013, including the addition of 108,000 square feet of indoor space. The Otis Booth Pavilion now welcomes visitors into the museum from the north with a six-story light-filled glass entrance, featuring a stunning, 63-foot-long fin whale skeleton. Twelve new galleries and five exhibits have opened, including "Becoming L.A.: Stories of Nature and Culture," which examines the Los Angeles region's history from Native Americans to the Catholic missions, the Industrial Revolution and the World Wars, to the present day. Outdoors, the Nature Gardens features 3.5-acre urban wilderness with a pond, dry creek bed, beautiful landscaping and other features that attract local critters. The Nature Lab features interactive multimedia and live animal habitats, telling the stories of LA's wild residents.
The wonderful skylight that crowns the museum's rotunda has already been restored to beautiful effect, and an Age of Mammals exhibit, opened in July 2010, was soon joined by a new 14,000-square-foot dinosaur hall. An outdoor wilderness exhibit is in the works as well.
Other highlights include three old-school diorama halls; the effectively creepy and dauntingly crawly Insect Zoo; and the Visible Vault, easily the most interesting of the anthropological exhibits.
The website also has details of special events; among them is the First Friday program held on the first Friday night of the month, which features tours, lectures, music from hipster-friendly acts such as the Mountain Goats and even DJs.
|Venue name:||Natural History Museum||Contact:|
900 Exposition Blvd
|Opening hours:||9:30am-5pm daily|
|Price:||$12 adults, $9 seniors/college students with ID, $8 children 13-17, $5 children 5-12, free children under 5.|
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Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs
Cue the Jurassic Park helicopter shot and that John Williams score—at least inside your head—as the Natural History Museum dedicates an exhibition to pterosaurs, the extinct family of bird-like flying reptiles. Scope out an assembly of rare casts, life-size...Natural history Until Sunday October 2 2016Read more
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Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum
Nature lovers rejoice! Spend a day at the NHM's Butterfly Pavilion, which will open for the season with more than 30 butterfly and moth species and an assortment of California plants. The seasonal outdoor exhibit allows for adults and children alike to...Until Sunday October 16 2016Read more
Things to do
Put on a pair of footed pajamas for this adults-only sleepover with DJ sets, scavenger hunts and a breakfast buffet. The evening also includes a lecture on the steamy mating habits of bats, part of this special "Sex and the Species: You Are NOT the Father"...Late openings Saturday October 29 2016Read more
Things to do
Face your fears and head to the Natural History Museum's Spider Pavilion, where you can observe approximately eight local and exotic species in an open, landscaped area on the museum's South Lawn as they wander freely in a living exhibit. Scared they...Walks and tours Sunday October 30 2016 - Sunday December 11 2016Read more
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A great place to visit in LA. I came here for one of their late night series when there was a Neil Young album viewing session. There was a cool and young crowd of people with live music and food trucks. A good place to go on a date.
It might not have the encyclopedic collection that other, more famous museums have, but that's exactly why I love this place. The exhibited are well-curated, polished and aesthetically pleasing. There a focus on quality over quantity, especially in the dinosaur and mammal exhibits. The museum itself is absolutely gorgeous, a Beaux Arts building that feels so unlike anything else in LA. There's great after-hours programming, the museum is Metro-accessible and admission is an absolute steal.