Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
While the Natural History Museum has numerous galleries and an extensive permanent collection that covers a range of topics, it is best known for its collection of dinosaurs. The 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall has an awesome display of dinosaur skeletons, including a series of Tyrannosaurus rex fossils, known as the growth series, featuring three full skeletons that range from baby to adult. Also on display are a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus. The museum deals with the natural history of California and areas throughout the world. Becoming Los Angeles, which explores the past 500 years of history in Southern California, is another must-see exhibit. The Discovery Center and Insect Zoo offers hands-on experiences and is particularly interesting for younger visitors.
We protect and share more than 35 million specimens and artifacts, the largest natural and cultural history collection in the western United States. But we also explore the nature and culture that surrounds us today, both in L.A. and the world. The Natural History Museum (NHM) occupies a special place in Los Angeles: It’s one of L.A.’s oldest cultural institutions, and today, it’s the anchor of an emerging cultural, educational, and entertainment hub in Exposition Park. We show off extraordinary specimens in exhibitions such as Age of Mammals, the Dinosaur Hall, the Gem and Mineral Hall, and our beloved dioramas. But in addition to sharing the history of the planet, we also explore the transformation around us right now: Becoming Los Angeles, the outdoor Nature Gardens, and the Nature Lab look at the relationship between environment and people, past and present, in L.A. In all of these experiences at the museum, whether they’re inside or outside, we’re interested in the intersection of nature and culture—in L.A. and beyond.
Right in the heart of L.A. sits the world’s most powerful gateway to the Ice Age. The asphalt seeps at La Brea Tar Pits are the only active urban fossil dig site in the world. Plants and animals from the last 50,000 years are discovered here every day. Outside, you can watch excavators carve fossils out of the asphalt. Inside the museum at La Brea Tar Pits (established in 1977 as the George C. Page Museum), our staff prepares these discoveries in the see-through Fossil Lab. You’ll see the final result in our exhibitions: extraordinary saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves, and mastodons, as well as the tiny, but scientifically significant, microfossils of insects, plants, mammals, and reptiles. The Tar Pits help us understand life around Wilshire Boulevard long before we got here, and what lies ahead as climate and habitats continue to change. A Hollywood legend. A cowboy. William S. Hart may have starred in 1920s silent films, but his lifestyle was anything but quiet—explore his 22-room mansion and 166-acre ranch and you’ll see why. At the William S. Hart Museum, visitors are invited to step into Hart’s wild, wonderful world, strolling through his eclectic home and belongings (dog bedroom included), greeting a herd of wild bison donated by Walt Disney, or hiking through the wildflowers of Hart Park.
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