I wouldn’t necessarily say that the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History is a kid’s only museum or that you have to have a child with you to go, because I love this place. It was my favorite as a kid and remains one of the best museums in Los Angeles in my adult opinion. When I was in elementary school, my class went here for a field trip and somehow my mom didn’t know about it until afterwards. I remember her being so crushed that she wasn’t able to chaperone, so when my daughter’s school field trip came up I felt like I was making up for this oversight 30 years later. It was an absolute blast to experience this wondrous place through my kiddo’s eyes.
The museum is in the heart of Los Angeles in an area called Exposition Park, easily accessible by public transportation and fairly close to the airport. It is nestled in between the legendary Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (where the Los Angeles Rams and USC football teams play) and other museums such as the California Science Center and the California African American Museum (here is a list of all of the Exposition Park attractions). It is also adjacent to the most vast rose garden that makes you forget you are in a concrete jungle. This was a beautiful place for us to wander around while we waited for the rest of the school to arrive via bus.
Other outdoor spaces attached to the museum are the Butterfly Pavilion and several nature gardens with water features to cool off in and plenty of organic structures to climb on. Who doesn’t want to be in a giant enclosed area with hundreds of butterflies fluttering about? It was an extraordinary experience- especially when one landed on my flower tattoo on my arm!
But the best memories are made inside the cool, marble hallways of the massive natural history building. Iconic staples of my childhood are the North American and African Halls with the incredible dioramas and the full-sized dinosaur skeletons in center, reminiscent of Night at the Museum. There are plenty of exhibits for the dinosaur lover or the insect enthusiast. They have incorporated so many hands-on stations for the kids and some fun photo ops.
Overall the LA County Natural History Museum is a true Los Angeles landmark and a beautiful piece of architecture that’s not to be missed. There’s enough to do in the Exposition Park area to keep solo adventurers or families busy all day. The general area has also had a major facelift in recent years with lots of safe eateries nearby. They also have summer music nights and rotating exhibits. In November they are opening an exhibit on the History of Tattoo- you know I’ll be back for that!