Things to do and see in SoCal {Natural History Museum}

This summer my husband and I have been stepping our weekends up a bit by visiting some attractions local to our area. Lucky for us, we live in Los Angeles and there is always a million things going on. It is only a 10 minute drive to the Exposition Park area, which is home to some really amazing places. (If you missed my post on the California Science Center, you can check that out here!)

Let me get into the amazingness of the Natural History Museum (there is a lot of cool stuff here!!) When you think of the Natural History Museum, you probably only think about dinosaurs. Am I right? Well, let's keep it real, dinosaurs are awesome! And they are the first thing you see when you walk into the museum. They are giant and pre-historic and amazing to be in the presence of. As a kid, dinosaurs almost seem mythical. It's kinda like they are creatures that once existed and we have their bones to prove that once upon a time they lived on our planet. As an adult, dinosaurs are still amazing, but this time around, I had a totally different understanding of the information.  
We had been to the Natural History Museum once before, but my girls were still very young and I don't think they remembered it at all. They haven't seen Jurassic Park, they really only know cartoon versions of dinosaurs. I made sure to catch their expressions as they experienced dinosaurs for the first time. That's kind of a priceless moment for me.  
I love that the Natural History Museum is so interactive and how they have incorporated technology into the learning experience. You don't just walk around looking at things you can't touch anymore. They have interactive displays and touch screens that allows you to get as much information that you possibly could. It is all at your fingertips. My oldest loves technology, so she was looking through the digital catalog of fossils for 10 minutes! 

 My absolute favorite part of the Natural History Museum was the Nature Lab. This whole area was new to me and as I found out it just opened in June 2013. My girls are fascinated by nature. Yup, on the daily, my girls hand me snails, ladybugs and every flower they can find. At the nature lab, my girls got up close to some insects that I pray they never hand me. The lab is so informative and interactive. We actually spent the majority of our time here. There are microscopes set up to look at both unusual and common insects as well as little windows to peek in and see all the different habitats where they can be found. I was obsessed with getting an awesome picture of a black widow. I am scared to death of spiders, and just trying to get a good picture had me sweating and nauseous! (But I got a good picture.) 
One of my favorite parts of the nature lab was their focus on how nature and culture has helped form Los Angeles. There was a particular story about a young boy who always chased lizards around his yard, and one day found one that looked a bit different. He researched it and discovered it was the first of it's species to be found in this part of the world. That particular lizard was known to be native to South America. Our local area has so much nature to offer us, if we are willing to look. Off our coast, you can find dolphins and whales, in our mountains you can find cougars and hawks. Just walk outside, you can find amazing things right in your backyard.  

This giant Polar bear can be found in the Discovery center and Insect zoo area. A lot of this area is hands on, including an area showcasing different types of minerals and stones. Oh! and, when you visit the Natural History Museum, definitely make it to the Dinosaur Encounters show.  Their puppet is awesome! My girl's mouths just dropped! It is a really cool experience for the kids! 
Thursday - Friday: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm*
Saturday - Sunday: 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm*
Located in Level 2 North American Mammal Hall
*All times are subject to change. Starting Sept. 5, 2013, there will be no shows Thursday and Friday. Please check the Museum calendar or upon arrival, the admissions desk.
It is really incredible that the Natural History Museum brings these dinosaurs to life. It was such a cool moment for my girls. And honestly, my husband and I were really impressed too! 
Also, if you get the chance, check out the Butterfly pavilion (mid-April through Labor day) and the Spider pavilion (mid-September through early November) located just outside the museum. You can purchase a timed ticket for an additional fee when you purchase your general admission tickets to the museum. I have been to the butterfly pavilion and it is really beautiful to be so close to the different types of butterflies. We haven't checked out the Spider pavilion yet, and even though I am terrified of spiders, I am really intrigued. We will have to go back in a few weeks to check that out.
 You can check out the price for admission below:
General Admission Tickets
Children 2 and underFREE
Children 3-12$5.00
Youth 13-17$9.00
College Students w/ ID$9.00
Seniors 62+$9.00
Thanks for checking out our adventures at the Natural History Museum!

So, I'm curious, what is your favorite Dinosaur? We all have one right? Mine is the Stegosaurus, I always thought they looked gentle.

Disclosure: I was provided admission for myself and my family to view the exhibits at the Natural History Museum. All opinions and photos are my own.