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  1. #1

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    T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    My sister let me in on a little secret, the first Tuesday of every month is free admission to the LA Natural History Museum. Armed with that tip I requested March 1st off work, we pulled the kids from school, and we took a family trip to the museum. We generally wouldn't pull the kids from school, but we felt the educational benefit outweighed the missed day. For the record, the last time I set foot in this museum I was about 8 years old.

    Parking is $8. You "might" be able to find parking nearby but given the area I'd highly recommend the $8. The drive for us was under an hour. FYI The "Dinosaur Hall" will not be open until July so if you would like to do the 1st Tuesday free aim for August at the earliest.

    http://www.nhm.org/site/


    Ok so aside from the temporary ramp the outside hasn't changed. They're in the process of building a ramp to match the amazing staircase.


    I laugh because somewhere there is a dusty old photo album with me standing in roughly the same spot, approximately the same age, with the same trusty fossils behind me!


    This is the oarfish. It isn't the one that recently washed up in Malibu. This one was from Catalina, caught in 2006 I believe.


    As impressed as he was to see a "monster from the deep" the decayed state scared him.


    Mineral Hall, first real "stop" on our little tour. Tink and I didn't really know what to expect in here.


    right outside the hall is a collection of larger crystals. The kids went nuts just seeing these

    This is a solid piece of jade. I never realized it naturally formed in such large quantities.


    Along either wall of the hall runs a glass display case filled with countless specimens of every mineral and crystal imaginable.


    In the center of the room are display cases full of even more of the earth's unique, rare, and bizarre natural wonders


    This little specimen for example has hundreds of tiny crystal shafts that extremely fragile.
    Last edited by techskip; 03-06-2011 at 11:49 AM.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  2. #2

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center



    In a throwback to Mineral Hall... some of these glow under a blacklight


    The 3 year old made it clear that I had to take a picture of the pink one.


    An actual gold nugget


    The bands are amazing


    cave formations


    This is one of the largest pieces of flawless quartz crystal. 10.5 in diameter, 65lbs... on loan from the Smithsonian.



    Along with the museum collection they also showcased some private collections.


    MASSIVE geode


    Again amazing rings



    A quick informational tidbit on gold, how it was mined, how it was tested etc.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  3. #3

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center


    The Hall of American History...a bit like being in Grandma's attic


    The "horseless carriage". I especially loved the wicker basket seats.


    A very old gas pump


    For my mechanic friends... this was the original mechanic's set


    A piece of history for all of you...


    One of the original electric LA Trolley cars. This was before they were enclosed cars


    The kids were extremely excited to see this large cross section of a Sequoia.


    The telephone and the telegraph, two inventions that drastically altered how quickly information is sent and received.


    For Steve D this is likely the best shot in the report. These are manual couplers which were only on railroads for a very brief period. Additionally one of them is a tongue coupler... again very old and very rare. Steve can elaborate.


    The reaper, which made large harvests possible.





    While these "modern" inventions need no introduction... sometimes it is amazing to see just how far we've come since they debuted!


    An early Curtess airplane engine. The main thing that led to the success of this design was how light it was!

    We did do the Hall of Mammals and the Hall of African Mammals. Both are filled with dioramas depicting mounted animals in their native settings. I had to explain to the kids that not everyone can make it to a local zoo... and when animals at the zoo die some of them end up here on display. My son brought up a good point though... why bother when they could display extinct animals in a similar setting...
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  4. #4

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center



    A Megamouth shark that was snagged in a net off of Hawaii




    The Insect Zoo... sorry for the blur.


    Actually one of the things that inspired us to make this trip today


    A giant fin whale above your head as you walk through to the new wing...






    The kids had a blast looking at all the ice age animals. Too much to really photograph. The kids also made the connection between the darker fossils and our previous trip to the Brea Tar Pits.


    Ok the bottom 2 are Black Bear and Grizzly Bear mounted at their respective height if they were on all 4. The top is the extinct Short Nosed Bear, 6ft when on all 4. Tink by comparison is 5'3.


    inspecting the skulls of an early ancestor
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  5. #5

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    The bottom floor should really just be named "the basement". It is a collection of random things that didn't fit upstairs and a large section on California history.


    She was the first one to see this and immediately all 3 realized it was a Galapagos tortoise.


    original clock face that was on the old LA city hall


    As Tink said... this... this is for Micechat...


    Native American reed hut


    Conquistadors


    a glimpse of daily ship life


    a musket


    books the missionaries carried and a map of the California Missions


    The California mountain man.


    Brandy still


    I believe it said Mexican American War... Santa Ana's possibly... the wood is replica but the barrels are real.


    More about California mining history. I forget the name of the device, but the instrument on the right of the picture was to break down the ore. 2 iron balls rolled around in the bowel crushing the rocks.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center


    A rare hotel stage coach... not the typical "Wells Fargo" models you usually see from the period.


    The printing press


    One of the original LA steam engines


    The grape smasher


    for some reason I never realized windmills were that big


    old tractor


    early olive presses

    After the basement we took a break to have lunch outside before heading to the top floor. The top floor was the 2nd Hall of American Mammals, Native American stone carvings, Bird Room, Dino Lab, and the kids area.

    The Inca/Aztec/Omec/Mayan stone exhibit is amazing on it's own






    The last one is a piece from one of the famed Mayan temple stairs.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  7. #7

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    Behind the carvings was the bird room. There were a lot of interactive exhibits on how flight is possible. Along the walls they also had cases filled with native bird species. I only snapped a few pictures


    The large one is the extinct Elephant Bird, the middle one is an Ostrich, and that little spec in the lower left is a Hummingbird egg.


    About 20 hummingbirds on a branch... I would hate to be the one who had to mount those.

    Again I had to field the questions about why the museum displays dead birds when zoos have live ones. Not much I can say really.

    THE DINO LAB
    every kid at some point loves to think about how they get the fossils out of the rocks. Here you can see it happen



    They're replica... but come on it's a TREX tooth... you just have to touch it!


    That is actually the director of the lab (sorry for the blur). I believe it was a large vertebrae they were trying to free. The kids just stood there for a good 5 minutes watching them work.


    They had these cool display cases where you could watch them work.


    Like I said still staring at it

    FINALLY the kids discovery area where I the kids could touch things


    The mandatory tourist polar bear photo


    Largest known seashell fossil in the world. 6ft in diameter... and it was broken like that when they found it. The "best guess" is that it had 2 more rings making the live version closer to 10ft.


    Now that my boy is what an Oarfish is supposed to look like!


    The new theory is that TRex had feathers. So this is an "interactive suit" that curators put on to do a show for the kids on certain days. We need one of those in Adventureland


    large crystal that was so heavy you couldn't pick it up



    The puppet area was a hit


    They also had different pelts, skins, antlers etc... really fun interactive area all around.

    No matter how I write this it will sound like bragging. That is not my intent. There were some very proud moments on this visit . The kids recognized a massive cross section of a Sequoia on display. They also recognized a few of the mineral formations from our Boyden Cavern tour and from Calico. They named all the insects in the insect zoo without looking at a label. They loudly stated that the dark ice age fossils came from the tar pits, then they checked the sign to make sure they were right. They even pointed out the electric trolley from our trip to Orange Empire Railway and other items from our trip to the CA State Railway. I'm very proud that the kids are remembering past trips. As a parent one of my "goals" is to give them as many life experiences as possible. There is only so much you can learn from a book. At some point you need to set the book down, look around, and experience life. I look forward to camping with them and showing them even more of the natural world. This trip served to reinforce the memories and experiences of past trips. It was a "pop quiz" of everything we've done so far. Be it comments about the mining equipment or talk of how similar this stage coach was to the Wells Fargo one in Old Sacramento... the point is they are remembering. They are building on the library of experience that Tink and I are trying so hard to expand for them. We realize that not everything will "stick"... that's life. It will be an honor to hear them recount everything they remember when we're all older.

    I will do the California Science TR later, it's late and I'm still sorting through photos. That museum is also in Exposition Park and is a short walk from LA Natural History. It is "donation" based. By the time we got there I only had $4 in my pocket, and I willingly gave what I had.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  8. #8

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    You have every right to be proud of your children. You should also be very proud of yourself, because you are a hands on father.

    Thanks again for the great TR, and thanks for taking the time to share this all with us here at MiceChat.

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaraann View Post
    You have every right to be proud of your children. You should also be very proud of yourself, because you are a hands on father.

    Thanks again for the great TR, and thanks for taking the time to share this all with us here at MiceChat.
    Thank you. How was your trip out here?
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    Thank you. How was your trip out here?
    I had a wonderful time. My trip was extended by two days due to the blizzard back home in Chicago. I can hardly believe it has already been a month since I was there. It was my first time going in what is considered an off season. Lines were shorter, but quite frankly I missed the warmer weather, and the parades, and other things that are present in the Summer. I am hoping to return in 2012.

  11. #11

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaraann View Post
    I had a wonderful time. My trip was extended by two days due to the blizzard back home in Chicago. I can hardly believe it has already been a month since I was there. It was my first time going in what is considered an off season. Lines were shorter, but quite frankly I missed the warmer weather, and the parades, and other things that are present in the Summer. I am hoping to return in 2012.
    Keep me in the loop. I saw your TR but didn't reply to it. We were at Chinese New Year that weekend. Sadly we haven't had AP's in almost 2 years, and haven't been to the park in over a year.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  12. #12

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center


    Clever, they rolled Science into Center and saved 2 letters on the sign...

    Supposedly I've been here before. If I have I don't remember it. Admission is "donation" based. When we walked over to it I only had $4 left in my pocket so that's what I gave them. 3 floors packed with all sorts of science related exhibits.
    California Science Center


    This is a really beautiful overhead sculpture in the outside plaza. Cal Science also has an IMAX theater attached to the building. We didn't do the IMAX.


    3 Floors and an open air lobby. We took the elevator to the top and started from there.


    wind tunnel explaining how an airplane wing works (sorry for the flash).


    hands on wind based power display


    Solar powered cars (sorry for the blur). You basically move the joystick which in turn moves a light to power the car. REALLY CLUNKY... this was actually disappointing.


    Solar powered car on display


    Explains how opposite poles of a magnet can make a turbine spin.


    how a battery works... basically dropping both poles into a solution.


    really good display on the technology behind electric cars


    Probably one of my favorite displays. This explained in detail all the components of the internal combustion engine.


    crash test dummies


    design test in wind tunnels. This explained how lower profile vehicles have less wind resistance.



    Clay and real models from the draft/design phase.

    As I said this entire area was sponsored by Toyota. Really fun. Not everything was working. They also had areas that test brake pads and a workup of a transmission system. The kids had fun just exploring the area.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    Across the way we saw this

    Science of Fear... cool... just cool....


    Tink wasn't sure but how often do you get to confront your fears in a challenge course?


    Snakes, Spiders, Scorpions being the most common ones people are afraid of.


    So the "challenge" is to put your hand in an opening on the counter to see if the animal crawled down there or not. Logic aside, it proved to be a fun surprise.


    I never really thought of this as being something to be scared of


    You sit and stare at a Jacob's Ladder while placing your finger on a clip. Hearing the arc buzz and pop is a little unnerving. The reality is the "shock" is barely a tingle.


    Again not something I would usually think of as being fearful.


    Sorry not the greatest picture. So the concept is you sit and stare at a video screen showing you your face. At some random time a loud bang (think balloon popping) explodes from the speakers around you. Then the video is played back so you can see your expression. This was really fun. Each of the kids tried it. You could see in slow motion as the eyes widened, pupils dilated, mouth opened, scream erupted...


    There is this gray area between 2ft and 10ft where if you fall you're likely going to get hurt. Above 15ft the chances increase of "not making it". My fear is more about being injured.


    So the experiment is to strap you to a board and let you fall back. A video camera is mounted to record your expressions as you fall. My son was the only one brave enough to do it. He FREAKED out... and loved his video. I was so calm I almost fell asleep.


    Tink is TERRIFIED of clowns


    This machine measures sweat, but the exhibit around it explains about pulse, breathing, and pupil dilation.


    OK this was worth admission... how often do you get to look at a cross section of the human brain? dog brain? rat brain? turtle brain? this was just cool.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  14. #14

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center

    2nd Floor

    Cloud and Fog explanation. The kids had a blast learning how clouds and fog are formed, and playing with the fog.


    A sculpture demonstrating how sound bounces and travels.


    Most people don't think about how light fades objects.


    A quick demo on light waves, also a hands on letting kids make a visible wave.


    Reflecting, Refracting, Absorbing... all the different things that can happen to a ray of light.


    Sorry for the flash. This was one of many objects on display explaining how light eventually fades colors.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  15. #15

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    Re: T&T visit the LA Natural History Museum and California Science Center


    Ecosystems is a huge exhibit broken into several areas.


    The Island zone had a fun interactive exhibit on how life travels to islands. Some things hitch a ride on birds. Some things are "flung" onto the island. Others are blown to islands. The object was to get the ping pong ball to the island using one of those methods (crane, catapult, or blower).


    A demonstration on how hard it is to live at the tidal zone. This demonstrated how hard it is to "make a wave" and thereby how much harder it is to resist the impact of one.



    Arctic Zone


    Thermal imaging from the desert zone. They also had desert animals on display and a brief demonstration on how flash floods occur. The real "gem" of this exhibit was the use of thermal imaging cameras to see desert tortoises.


    Deep Sea Area with a display about the LBCC rov... They also had a pressure demonstration.


    Similar to the island hands on, this one pretends that your arm is a Sea Anemone and the ping pong ball is a fish. It was a LOT harder then it looked.


    touch tank similar to what you would see in aquariums


    above view of the large aquarium


    down periscope

    After that we took the elevator down to see the Kelp Forest




    underwater tunnel


    JELLIES


    That is a huge sea anomie... I never realized they grew that big.


    flies, maggots, scavenger beetles... no pics as it would gross people out. It was pretty interesting.

    We didn't take pictures of the River or Urban zones, really not much to see. Sadly those were a letdown.


    I snapped this picture of the escalator before we left. I LOVE how they used glass on the side so you could see how it operates. That "little detail" made me smile. I just wish they'd used similar "safety glass" for the elevator doors.

    The kids learned a lot at the Science center and we actually skipped a whole section on engineering structures. There were a few things they'd seen before (mainly from LB Aquarium) but the majority of it was new to them. While I wouldn't make a day of just this center, combining it with the LA Natural History Museum is perfect.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


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