Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Pollinator Garden at the Natural History Museum is worth a trip or five

When was the last time you went to Natural History Museum in L.A.? If you're like most people, this is probably the last thing you remember seeing, along with the sound of your second grade teacher screaming your name:

For most of us trips to the museum were usually courtesy of elementary school field trips. I gained a new appreciation for the place when my kids started going to the summer camp there (which is excellent, by the way. More on this later). I would spend many solo hours exploring the grounds and got to know every nook and cranny pretty well – the sprawling Rose Garden is not a bad place to hang out while you wait for your kids. After camp my girls and I would spend another couple of hours checking out the exhibits and end with a visit to the gift shop. We have a pretty hefty collection of NHM pencils.

But a couple of weeks ago I was invited to the opening of the new Pollinator Garden, the last component of their new (well, new to me) 3-1/2 acre Nature Gardens and I was completely taken by surprise – the entire garden attraction has completely transformed the space, and once again it's taken on a whole new appeal for me.

After I parked my car, I was directed up a gorgeous trail – one of several – and over a pedestrian bridge. (The one on the right leads you to the Edible Gardens.)

What was once a parking lot now looks like this:

The Pollinator Garden is located in the northeast corner of the new outdoor garden space, and was created to attract wildlife and demonstrate the relationship between flowers and pollinators. It will be in bloom every month of the year.

But wait – I can't resist showing you the other parts of the garden too. Check out these 'trumpets' along the path where you can listen to the roots:

No, not these Roots, although that would be kind of awesome.

Look at these beautiful areas to climb into and under. These are part of the Get Dirty Zone. I know just the sound of that gives some parents the dry heaves, but it was one of my favorite parts of the garden and seemed to be the most popular with all the young kids, too.

Last but not least, the designer in me could not get over these gorgeous hand-made signs. They're everywhere. I plan on a special trip back just to photograph all of them. That's after my special trip just to hang out in the garden with a picnic. That's a lot of trips.

Getting back to those girls of mine, they're teenagers in high school now but are still fans of the museum, and are eager for a visit after they saw my pictures of the new Nature Gardens. They also want to see the newly remodeled gift shop. I guess you can never have enough pencils.

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Natural History Museum of LA County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: (213) 763-DINO

Hours: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm daily

Check the NHM website for ticket info. 

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