One of the benefits of living in the Los Angeles area stems from an intricate knowledge of the glitz and glamor that awaits people as they step out the door. The unique atmosphere is charged with over used hot-spots and a bounty of tourist attractions. If those attractions have gotten old, there still lay a few gems in the area, particularly hidden within obscure museums.
One of the museums that is down the beaten path but enhances trivia knowledge is The Travel Town Museum.Founded in 1952, the attraction calls to lovers of engineering, transportation, and history while providing solid playtime for kids. The “Town” is a center within which kids and adults can physically engage with old-time locomotives and other previous modes of transportation. After exploring a variety of freight cars, passenger cars, and motorcars, as well as horse drawn buggies,visitors can ride a locomotive around the parameter of the museum for a fee. Kids can also host their birthday party in their choice of locomotive car or have a picnic outside using their barbeque facalties. There is a solid balance of education and fun in this museum as well as offering free admission and parking services. It’s hours are Monday through Friday 10am-4pm.
Come prepared for the next museum to rock your cerebral cortex with its unique presentation. Upon entering the twisted step-sister of Ripleys Believe It or Not, visitors must ring a doorbell to enter and begin their tour of educational wonder. The Museum of Jurassic Technology brings its visitors into a series of fictional and real life technological and historical stepping stones leading up to this centuries developments. Highlighting the exhibitions are employees that fit perfectly into the Gothic wonderland setting with highlights including: The Piercing Devil, a bat that uses sonar to go through solid objects, and The Cameroon Stink Ant. This treat for the educationally wacky houses a myriad of old wives tales as well as non-fiction historical artifacts to peak anyone’s interest and spawn endless hours of “is that real or not?”.Hours are Thursday (2pm-8pm) through Sunday (12pm-6pm). Ad mission is moderate.
When it comes to the aspect of real, there is no other museum that works within historical realism better than The Heritage Square Museum. While exploring eight different architectural wonders within the California Victorian Era, visitors are guided through and around the houses by period costumed docents. As a living history museum dedicated to preservation, The Heritage Square Museum website adheres to a motto of “Tell me, and I will forget .Show me, and I will remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” which is reflected in the resourceful and open nature of the employees as whole. They are always willing to answer questions during presentations as well as doling out engaging, little known trivia about each house. A site boasted most among the architectural beautys is the Octagon House, a house with eight walls instead of the standard four walls. The reason for its construction was that it would supposedly lead to better air circulation throughout the house in the winter when fires were burning consistently and the lumber for its construction was cheaper than the amount needed for a regular house. While visiting, be sure to stop in at the gift shop to purchase one of a kind historical knick-knacks in many variates. It’s hours are Friday through Sunday from 12pm to 5 pm and admission is nothing to wince about.
A place where visitors won’t see any knick-knacks, but plenty of scraps, is home to the worlds largest collection, in size and diversity, of fossils. The La Bera Tar Pits exhibit both Ice Age plant and animal fossils dating back from 400,000 years. As a former excavation site where work had begun in 1906 the pits boast a range of indoor and outdoor activities all centered around fake replica’s of Woolly Mammoths and Saber tooth Tigers. Families can roam around the facilities thirteen excavation sites peeking at left over fossils and tools that were used to dig them up. Once they have the full grasp of the work it takes to dig up and find fossils of this size they can step into the museum and watch through a glass window as curators clean, repair, and handle those same fossils. The museum also offers reasonable prices and overnights where kids and adults alike can spend the night with their favorite set-in-stone creatures, getting personal, special tours and wakeing up without the hassle of mid-morning crowds. It’s hours are Monday through Sunday 9:30 to 5 pm and admission isn’t pricey.
In our last museum its hard to imagine crowds, because of its location and the average number of events they showcase each year. Grier-Musser Museum caters to antique and history lovers alike with a display of antique furniture from the early nineteen hundreds displayed in an original, restored Queen Anne house. The collection changes regularly making each visit totally unique and hours are different from any other working museum. Instead of being open all week, the Grier-Musser is open from Wednesday through Saturday from twelve noon to four in the afternoon. This doesn’t include their seasonal holiday exhibits which offer unique twists on the normal antiques as well as a number of different activities. There is also a postcard exhibit every Saturday highlighting the old history of downtown California as it used to be through antique postcards. The price is typical of a regular museum but because of the limited space within the house and the hands-on, personal tour visitors are given, reservations must be made in advance to view this museum.
Given an open mind on a rainy day or even a perfectly sunny day, these museums are sure to titillate a thirst for knowledge along with a little fun and whimsy thrown into the mix. Each offer a bounty of culturally unexpected twists and turns sure to delight any visitor while being more affordable than a trip to that water park families often default too.