Last weekend I attended the #WeAllGrow Summit, which was kicked off by 4 field trips to various places around Los Angeles. I was able to go on a field trip to the Natural History Museum followed by lunch at Yxta in Downtown LA. The Natural History Museum is a must-see indoor outdoor experience in Los Angeles. The tour we went on provided some great insight into the history of the Museum as well as all it has to offer now. You could make 2-3 trips to the museum and still not explore all of the exhibits in detail. In a few weeks, I'll be sharing more details about the Grandes Maestros exhibit about the Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art on display through this Fall.  In this edition of Saturdays in So Cal, I am sharing an overview of the museum as a place to take the family, explore and learn about California, and to see some of the most rare fossils and complete dinosaur skeletons on earth.

Natural History Museum Los Angeles JPriest

We started our tour looking at the dinosaurs and fossils in several galleries.

Tours are available throughout the day as well as volunteers who can answer questions and explain exhibits in more detail. There is ALOT to see but I am going to share just a few of the highlights from the 4 hour tour we went on so you can get an overview of what you can expect to see in the museum.

Natural History Museum Dinosaurs JPriest

The museum is filled with fossils, including many dinosaurs created from castings as well as real bone. This display above is right at the entrance of the museum, which is through the Otis Pavilion. Below, the Dinosaur Hall houses the museum's collection of 4 T-Rex skeletons which span the life of a T-Rex showing its growth over time. The collection also includes many real fossilized bones that are on display so you can see what an actual T-Rex skull looks like, for example.

Natural History Museum 4 TRex JPriest

The building itself is a mix of traditional architecture and modern additions.

Built and established 102 years ago, the Los Angeles Natural History Museum is one of the oldest museums in the western US.

The NHM invested $135 to remake the institution for the next 100 years, according to Dr. Jane Pisano, NHM President and Director. The 1913 Beaux Arts Builing was the first museum facility constructed in Los Angeles and is newly restored as part of this investment.

Natural History Museum Ceiling JPriest

In addition to fossils and animal exhibits, the museum boasts a large collection of gold in raw and processed forms, including the largest gold nugget found in California. This display shows the variation between differing karat weights of gold:

Natural History Museum Gold JPriest

Beyond the gold exhibit is a precious gem stone exhibit housed inside a state of the art vault. Our tour guide shared diamonds and other precious stones with us but the rarest, in his opinion is this sample of Benitoita, the California State Gem, which is only found in one mine in California and is rarer than diamonds. 

Natural History Museum Benitoite JPriest   

The vault houses a vast collection of gemstones in their raw form as well as in finished jewelry pieces.

Natural History Museum Gem Display JPriest

 The Natural History Museum has added new urban Nature Gardens on the grounds with sections that mimic different regions in Southern California from the LA River to the Antelope Valley.

The staff and local University students study wildlife and have found that Los Angeles has one of the most diverse populations of birds in North America and they are currently monitoring bats in the area.

Natural History Museum Get DIrty Zone JPriest   

I reallv loved this sign encouraging kids to get dirty in this area. In the city, there aren't many places to just play in the dirt so it was nice to see this encouraged! I love this little tunnel under this planter. I want one in my yard!

Natural History Museum Outside Play JPriest

Here are all the details you need to know about the Natural History Museum:

  • Location: 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007
  • Hours: 7 Days a Week, 930 am to 5 pm
  • Cost: $12 for adults; $9 for students, kids 13-17, and Seniors 62+; $5 for children 3-12; FREE for 2 and under, Museum members, active duty Military
  • Website:
  • Phone: 213-763-DINO

We'll be back to visit and check out more of the exhibits as well as the Grandes Maestros exhibit through this fall. See you there!


Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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