Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: Part One
Thank you Howard Robertson. There is a plaque on the wall in the museum that tells us all that you first foresaw the need for a museum here. Oddly enough the webpage on the history of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County doesn't mention you at all. Digging all the way down into page 360 of a book titled "A History of California and an Extended History of Los Angeles and Environs" written by James Miller Guinn we can find a little more. William M. Bowen (who is mentioned on the museums website in the history) presented a plan for the government of the museum. The museum was to be managed by a board made of two members from the Historical Society, two from the Academy of Science, two from the Fine Arts League, one from the Cooper Ornithological Society and one Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. The building was to be managed by William M. Bowen, Dr George F. Bouvard, J. M. Guinn,Dr. A. Davidson,William A. Spalding, Mrs. William H. Housh, T.E. Gibbon and Howard Robertson.
Breaking it down to a simple version of the same story. On the history page of the website it tells a story of a local attorney and Sunday School teacher, William Miller Bowen, who was alarmed at the saloons, gambling halls and other vices that were growing up in the area. He led the fight with some friends of his to develop this once agricultural fairground into what it has become today. On November 6th, 1913, Exposotion Park and the new museum opened to the public. The history, science and art collection outgrew the space of the 1913 building and in 1963 the Art Museum relocated to its own space in Hancock Park. At that time the museum became the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County or NHMLA and was joined by the Memorial Coliseum, Sports Arena, Swimming Stadium, California Science Center, California African American Museum and the largest municipal owned rose garden in the nation. The entire place is incredible and a must see.
To plan your visit I highly suggest that you check out the website first. Since the park is so close to so many amazing things it tends to have a lot of events. Some of these events will effect the times of the museum, the crowds in the area and the parking situation. The website is great for giving you a pop up type heads up of things going on. The day we went there was a preseason NFL game between the Cowboys and the Rams in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum that would bring in crowds that night. There was a warning on the site and we knew that we would be fine to attend the museum that morning.
Parking is $12 cash only and this number can change during special events. We are early risers here so it wasn't an issue for us but if you like to sleep in you might want to know that the crowds tend to build up through the day so the earlier you get there the better your views will be. The museum opens at 9:30 a.m. We got there as it opened and the crowds were ideal. Tickets are $12 per person for the museum alone, kids are less as well as students and seniors. They have rotating exhibits that cost more. Budget wise I think the annual pass is a great deal since you get an entire year to see the place and you get the rotating exhibits as well. A family pass for us would be $99 and would also include the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and the William H. Hart museum (which is free as far as I can tell). If we were to have gone to the museum plus both of the exhibits our total for the day would have been a total of $102 just for the day. Plus members get these cool member stickers to wear around the place if you are into that kind of thing. Brandan says I have an annual pass problem. He might have a point but I still stand by the fact that it would have been a good option for the day. I went along with his wishes and we just got the day pass. We were only into our first area when we realized the museum is huge and it would take more than a day to really dive into the place.
As we walked in the doors we were thankful there was a greeter there to give us a map and some ideas of how to explore. There is no wrong path but the more popular areas do tend to fill up faster so start there. I can't explain how huge this place is but I can show you a map. Click that link and you can get an idea of how much time you will want to spend there. They have shows at different times through out the day so you might want to plan around that as well. This picture is of the Dueling Dinos. This is the first room you will enter as you walk in. As you can see its a large room with a lot of space. Now if you look at the map and how small that room is in comparison you might get an idea of how much space is here to see.
We decided that with all the things there are to cover here we couldn't cover it all in one post and give it the attention it deserves. Stay tuned to Fridays post where we dive into the cool things you can see here.
Until then, happy travels.