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. 

Weekend Recap: The Library, Margaritas, and Alex G!

Ah, Monday is here. We had a pretty fun weekend. Weekends are pretty much always exhausting. It doesn't matter what we are doing, we could be hosting a party, running errands, or staying at home. Either way, just having kids is exhausting. True story! So, this weekend was busy, but fun and easy going. 

Friday was a super fun day for the little ones. I saw on my Facebook via Our Town El Sereno that the Sea Mobile from the Natural History Museum was going to be at our local library. Next month we will be visiting the Natural History Museum as part of my Summer series and the Sea Mobile was a cool intro for the girls. And since my girls fail miserably at whispering, they hadn't been to the library yet, so this was their first time. 
The girls got to walk through the Sea Mobile and see different creatures from the sea, sit at a computer and use their software and experience a bit of sea life. 

Then, I had a surprise for the little lady, Lacey. First of all, she had no idea we were going to the library, and she was even more surprised to find out that she was getting her very first library card. The librarian explained the responsibilities as a card member, she signed her name, and borrowed her first book Pilgrim Cat by Carol Antoinette Peacock Illustrated by Doris Ettlinger. 

Yes, I made her pose! My eyes watered a bit when I saw her sign her name on her library card. It was just such a big moment in her little life. She will be starting preschool in a couple weeks, and I am slowly preparing myself for that moment. I love books and love to read, and I already see that trait in Lacey. Her favorite books are The Bible, a Bug Encyclopedia, and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. She can't read any of these books but she loves them. I think she will love reading. 

While doing a little shopping for Lacey's school clothes at The Children's Place, a man dressed as a banana walked in and said, "Hey! Jamba Juice is having free smoothies for kids today!" So, naturally, our next stop was Jamba Juice, which was really cool, because they had some coloring pages and crayons out for the kids too.
Then we drove 50 miles to Norco. 
Since my husband's birthday was during the week this year, my in-laws didn't get a chance to celebrate with him. So this weekend we had a birthday BBQ for my husband and his family. 
This was our spread. 
Carne asada for tacos, corn on the cob, Mexican rice, potato salad, and beans. 
Although I only had one (BS anxiety) I highly recommend this Margarita mix from Costco. It's a good mix of flavor and strength. Super yummy at club prices, Lol! 

My nephew picked out an Avengers pinata for my husband's birthday BBQ, and when we jokingly asked if Grandpa wanted to hit the pinata, he went for it! 

My husband beating his pinata! 

Pinata equals smiley kids.
Smiley kids smiling in 3 different directions. Of course. 

Being a parent means never being able to blow out your own candles on your birthday cake. 

Sunday- Date Night! Woohoo!
For us, our weekends are always about our kids and spending time with them. Once in a big ass blue moon we get a night to ourselves. 
Here are a couple of my instagram pictures. 
We live 5 minutes from Downtown LA and I can see the skyline from my bedroom window, but I still think it's beautiful and always try and capture a good photo.
So, as we drove through LA, we stopped for dinner at Komodo. I've had their food once before at a food truck festival. Their motto is Dangerously Good Food, and it totally is! Sorry, I only got a picture of their truffle fries, which are delicious, because I was hungry. (I kinda suck at being a food blogger)
Our plan for the night was to go to the Roxy on Sunset Blvd. to see Alex G. If you don't know Alex G, you can check her out here on her YouTube channel. My husband is a huge fan of hers, he loves her covers and I actually hear her versions of songs before the original. 
So, Hanna Carter was one of her opening acts. She was a super cute, talented young girl. My husband and I were really impressed at how well she performed. 
This is Marissa Jerome, she won the Alex G contest to sing at the Roxy and be one of her opening acts. She has over 4 million views on this video (WARNING: It's a Justin Bieber cover). She has a pretty rad sound to her though, I liked the rasp in her voice! 
This dude Danny Padilla was hilarious! He was another Alex G contest winner and he was a pretty bad ass beat boxer. Check him out
Oh yeah and then Alex G performed! She has an album of originals coming out soon, so keep an eye out for her. She's pretty talented. 
Here she is singing with Tyler Ward
So, that was a fun night out. Pretty low key with some chill music. If I haven't convinced you to go check out any of these artists, this video has over 12 million views! Check it out. 

So that is my weekend recap! Was your weekend eventful or laid back?