The Natural History Museum is FREE on the first Tuesday of every month. Practically, that was the deciding factor. Of course, parking was $12 but that was OK by me. If you even want to save more money, then take the Metro with their Expo line; One day is $7 or RT is about $3.50. Practically everything is free in the park except for the historical tour at the Coliseum or if you go on another day to the Natural History Museum.
Exposition Park is located in South Los Angeles, close to the USC Campus. It was an agricultural park that was replaced with gardens and museums; mainly what you see today.
I haven’t been to the Exposition Park for awhile until just recently. I remember when I was like in 8th grade when my class had a field trip to the California Science Center and to the Natural History Museum. I don’t remember much but we saw the some movie in the IMAX Theater. It looked so cool back then because of the big screen; but everything about the Exposition Park was such a blur.
The Park mainly houses the following:
- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
- Los Angeles Sports Arena
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
- California Science Center
- Exposition Park Rose Garden
- California African American Museum
I went on that first Tuesday of the month and had a about half a day at the Park! It was quite interesting to see how the old buildings and modernized displays in the museums. However, I didn’t realized how busy it gets especially with the students on their field trips!
The first thing I did was to check out the California Science Center. The Science Center is Free to the public. However, if you want to check out the movie in IMAX or other movies, you have to pay extra. The main attraction is the Space Shuttle Endeavour. You can reserve online ($2 service fee). However, when I went they weren’t really checking on the times. You first go in on the Second Floor and a staff is there to give you a ticket (kind of like a raffle ticket – Admit One). You walk through a movie about the Ecosystem, then you go through an exhibit regarding the Endeavour. After that, you exit the exhibit and another staff tells you to go to the first floor again because that’s where the Endeavour is located in this hangar. I was utterly confused. They should’ve just put the exhibit and the Endeavour is one place.
The last staff takes your ticket so you can go into the hangar. When I first walked in, I was in awe with the site I saw. This plane that has been in space and the fact that I saw it fly by a couple years ago just made me speechless. I mean I was inches away from something that was in space!
I remember the day when the Endeavour was coming back “home.” A jumbo jet 747 flew it around Los Angeles, before landing in LAX. I was working at a clients site and went out when I heard it was making a head way around my area. I was waiting at the sidewalk when this guy pulled over with his car and started asking me for directions while I was trying to get a picture of the plane carrying the endeavor passing by. I didn’t want to be rude to the guy, but in my head I was like “Really? you’re going to ask me for directions, while this historic moment in my lifetime is about to happen? I’m going to see a plane that has been in space on top of another plane flying around LA and you’re trying to ask for directions???” I tried to give him the directions as quickly as possible and I actually got to see it but couldn’t get a good picture. I’m really not sure what happened to the picture.
Anyways, the funny thing is that this hangar has a gift shop. But I digress. I took a couple of minutes being in awe and taking pictures of the Endeavour and then I worked my way back to check out the rest of the Science Center. It’s so interesting looking at all the different exhibits. Their main focus is to educate people about the Ecosystem. I mean they do have stuff about outer space and stuff but 80% of the things in the Center is about the environment. I personally like their Kelp Forest. It’s like a mini aquarium then you can check out the fishes/things that live in the ocean and touch them! The only thing I didn’t like about the Science Center is that it’s not well kept. Some of things seems old and kind of broken. One of the exhibits had an error Windows message …haha
After the Science Center, I made way to the Rose Garden in front. Right now the roses are in bloom and it’s so fragrant! There’s different color roses and every one of them is so pretty to look at. I took a couple of pictures here and made way to the Natural History Museum (NHM). If you look at a map the California Science Center, the Rose Garden, and the Natural History Museum are right next to each other.
I haven’t been to the NHM for the longest time and it looks like they expanded. You can tell because the old building looks old and the new building is so modern. I would so LOVE to see Night at the Museum film here! If it wasn’t free, the admission cost would have been $12 for adults, $9 for Senior (62+) and Students, and $5 of Child (Ages 3-12). Obviously my $12 to parking.
I was really amazed on the North American and African Mammals exhibits. They’re are all life like and the diorama are just amazing! If I didn’t know I was in a museum, I would think I was taken to a far away land and at the actual place where I would find these animals.
Everything on the second floor kind of creeped me out. There was a whole room with birds and I’m really terrified of them. I might have a phobia that started in Australia. My family and I were eating at Sydney Harbor and there was a lot of seagulls. My cousin was eating something and this seagull swooped down to take it off his fork. He wasn’t looking at the time and when he was about to take a bite, it was gone! It was funny because I saw the whole thing! But THEN…I think my mom tried to feed them and it felt like there were hundreds of them. They were all trying to get the food and that kind of freaked me out! Imagine just having these birds swoop down with their large beaks!!!
Anyways, back to NHM. The other parts such as the Nature Gardens, Dinosaur Halls, and the Age of Mammals are really amazing too. These are the newest of the exhibits and looking these things are quite a sight. I mean these animals actually were alive thousands … no … millions of years ago?
After finishing NHM and before walking straight to my car, I made a quick detour to check out the outsides of the CA African American Museum (which is free), the LA Coliseum, and the LA Sports Arena.
The Coliseum is where they hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. I would be so stoked to hear if LA got the Olympics for 2024! I don’t know where I’ll be, but for sure I’ll be there to check it out if LA gets to host again! You can do a self guided tour of the Coliseum and it’s $10/per person; There’s also a 90 minute guided tour for $25. I didn’t get a chance this time around, but I’ll try to check it out next time.