Gayle Anderson was live from Exposition Park in Los Angeles in honor of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County centennial to see the museum’s new Nature Lab, an indoor interactive complement to its outdoor Nature Gardens exhibit, a 3 acre exhibit, programming and research space.
Gayle Anderson was live from Exposition Park in Los Angeles in honor of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County centennial to see the museum’s new Nature Lab, an indoor interactive complement to its outdoor Nature Gardens exhibit, a 3½ acre exhibit, programming and research space.
Situated between the Nature Gardens and the indoor exhibitions, the new Nature Lab will be a bustling hub of investigation where visitors of all ages can have fun participating in research, and explore a colorful, media-filled space that reveals L.A.’s surprising, rich and ever-changing wildlife and urban biodiversity.
Visitors are invited to take part in citizen science activities and learn more about the wildlife that shares our Southern California environment.
Touchscreens will assist visitors with activities such as identifying birds, discerning the creatures that may be behind backyard sounds and creating “Memory Maps” of nature experiences that they can email to themselves. Images captured by the Museum’s “critter cams,” which were installed as the Nature Gardens were growing in, will exhibit rarely seen, and frequently surprising, glimpses of L.A. wildlife. The Nature Lab will also be a center for citizen science projects such as BioSCAN (Biodiversity Science: City and Nature), an unprecedented collaboration between scientists and Museum householders to discover insect species previously unrecorded in Los Angeles, as well as related citizen science initiatives such as the Lost Lizards of Los Angeles, the Lost Ladybugs Project, and the Los Angeles Spider Survey.
The Nature Gardens is designed to be an ever-changing, year-round nature experience in the heart of Los Angeles, and a place of discovery where visitors of all ages can engage in citizen science projects with NHM scientists and educators. Plantings have been selected to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, ladybugs and other indigenous wildlife, making the Nature Gardens a living exhibition where the public can explore, experiment, learn and enjoy.
Beginning near Exposition Boulevard with the Transition Garden, where the plantings trace the history of Southern California’s flora from the time of the Spanish missions to today, visitors can make their way past the irrepressible variety of plants and animals bursting through the cracks in the Living Wall; pause at the
Listening Tree to marvel at the amplified sounds of water coursing through the roots; use the Bird-Viewing Platform to spot some of the 172 different species of birds identified to date in Exposition Park; join in the hands-on, soil-science activities in the Get Dirty Zone; and continue down to the fruit trees, vegetable beds and helpful buzzing insects of the Edible Garden. In the middle of it all is the Amphitheater, where outdoor film screenings, lectures and other events will engage and delight audiences of all ages.
Helping to realize the citizen science projects both at the Museum and off-site will be NHM’s new website. A major resource for Los Angeles residents and people everywhere who are intrigued by the natural world, the highly interactive website will provide a multitude of opportunities for engagement, from uploading visitors’ photographs of the species they have spotted while exploring the Nature Gardens to participating in the species-tracking projects represented in the Nature Lab.
Along with the new Nature Lab and Nature Gardens, the Otis Booth Pavilion is the Museum’s new gleaming glass entrance and gathering place, which cuts through the center of the museum campus to feature an iconic 63-foot fin whale specimen.
Visitors will hear the sounds of the real fin whale, and experience an immersive light experience provided by the 33,600 LED lights which can simulate water, other fish and animals, and shadows. Named in honor of the late civic leader and NHM Trustee Otis Booth in recognition of an unprecedented $13 million gift from the Otis Booth Foundation, the Pavilion connects the Museum directly to the new dedicated stops on the Metro Expo Line by means of a soaring cantilever bridge, designed in shape to be reminiscent of a whale, which spans the Nature Gardens and the Museum’s new outdoor amphitheater. The direct ground-floor passage from the Nature Gardens through the Pavilion to the NHM’s new Nature Lab sums up the seamless experience of the indoor-outdoor Museum, while the dramatic installation, high up in the Pavilion, of NHM’s 63-foot-long fin whale specimen makes a signature object in the collection visible from afar, embodying NHM’s commitment to connect science with the community.
The Natural History Museum marks its 100th anniversary with the completion of a decade-long initiative known as NHM Next, which has touched virtually every corner of the Museum, with the restoration of the Museum’s magnificent original 1913 Building; the creation of five new permanent exhibitions including the acclaimed Dinosaur Hall and Age of Mammals; the substantial improvement of more than 60 percent of the museum’s indoor space; the construction of new facilities including a car park, box office, new Museum Store and the NHM Grill; and the doubling of the combined indoor and outdoor programming space.
General admission tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors (62+), college students with ID and youth (ages 13-17), and $5 for children (ages 3-12). Admission for members and children under 2 is FREE.
Special ticketed admission applies to the Butterfly Pavilion. Prices for general admission plus the Pavilion are as follows: $15 for adults; $11 for seniors and college students; $6 for children ages 3-12; Members and children under 2 are FREE, but require a timed ticket.
Go Metro and save $1.25 on adult admission! Show your valid Metro pass or Metro Rail ticket at the box office and get $1.25 off adult admission. There are two NHM-convenient stops on the Metro Expo Line: the Expo/Vermont station or Expo Park/USC station.
Parking is available in the NHM Car Park for $8, cash only and across the street in Exposition Park’s Lot 3 for $10, cash only. Both are located in Bill Robertson Lane, north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, south of Exposition Boulevard and east of Vermont Avenue.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County serves nearly one million families and visitors annually, and is a national leader in research, exhibitions, and education. The Museum was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The NHM is located in Exposition Park and is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Nature Lab and Nature Gardens
Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Park
Los Angeles, CA 90007
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