Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bad to the bone

If you don't know my last name, this picture might confuse you...

Hello world! I'm back. Sorry for the being all quiet on the western front. Did I really leave you with a Twilight post for two weeks? Bad blogger! Unfortunately, work took over my life, as it always does, but that isn't the whole story. See, the longer I went not blogging, the harder it was to get back into it. Has that ever happened to you?

Anyway, I'm back. (Even though I should be working right now but whatev. I worked all day and I'll probably stay up late working, too.) And I have been meaning for weeks now to share some photos with you that I took at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. No time like the present!

It's not often that my job takes me out of Simi Valley. And while my story on the Simi Valley Mastodon taking center stage at the new "Age of Mammals" exhibit at NHM didn't necessitate me driving out to the museum to see it in person, I used it as a good excuse to do so anyway.

Though I can't be certain, I have a vague memory of going to the museum as a child. But since my recollection is more than a little foggy, I was dying to go back and see it as an adult, especially since I had read that the old historic 1913 building had been beautifully restored. My editor came along for the ride, too.

The "Age of Mammals" exhibit itself was phenomenal. The two-story exhibition hall was chock full of mesmerizing fossilized remains and interesting information. Of course the showstopper was the Simi Valley Mastodon, the partial remains of which were found in the hills of my hometown in 2001. It was definitely a sight to be seen and my editor and I couldn't help but snap photos of ourselves in front of the giant, curving tusks of "The Original Valley Girl."

Me with the Simi Valley Mastodon in all her glory!

My editor, and friend, Kyle.

We were amazed when we walked out of the exhibit hall, looked at the time and realized we had been browsing for more than two hours already. We had such a good time examining each fossil and skeleton, reading all the plaques, playing educational games on the exhibit's touchscreens-- museums really have come into the 21st century!-- and making (sometimes inappropriate) jokes along the way. (Such as when my editor pretended to walk like a gorilla and I pretended not to know him, or when I sheepishly pointed out the, ahem, "manhood" bone of a Dire wolf.)

Here's a quick "tour" through the rest of the exhibit:

Just a few of the many articulated mammal skeletons, as well as some taxidermy specimens in the background (do you spy the zebra?)

A saber-toothed cat. You can tell it's from the La Brea Tar Pits because of the dark color of its bones. (I noticed that before my editor did. Score one for me!)

There were even human skulls that visitors could touch! (Though honestly, it kind of creeped me out!) The exhibit explored the evolution of mammals, including ourselves, and the impact of global climate change.

While we didn't get to as thoroughly explore the rest of the museum as I would have liked, we did also see...

The Fin Whale Passage, which features a breathtaking 63-foot-long specimen of a fin whale from Humboldt County, Calif.

The gorgeous Haaga Family Rotunda (which includes a fun, mini-exhibition on the lower level and a series of paintings that bring prehistoric animals to life on the top floor). The stained glass is stunning, isn't it?

One of the museum's iconic diorama halls, the African Mammal Hall. The giraffe leaning down for a drink of water is so adorable!

And Dueling Dinos! Located in the Grand Foyer on the ground level, these dinosaurs are actually replicas of the authentic T. rex and Triceratops specimens from the museum's collection.

I can't wait to go back and see everything else the Natural History Museum has to offer, particularly the Pavilion of Wings (read: fluttering butterflies!) and "Dinosaur Mysteries," which will open next summer once the renovations on that part of the museum are complete.

So, have you visited any museums lately?

And more importantly, since I've been so out of the loop, how have you been? :)


Vic said...

that does look amazing:) my girls will love to see this!(:

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Cool photos!

I find that blogging, like anything else, is really hard to get back into after you haven't done it for awhile!

Katy Mary said...

Awesome, I love museums. I could get lost all day in the museum of natural history in nyc.

Shoshanah said...

I definitely went on a field trip of two to the natural history museum growing up, but its been ages since I've been. I definitely do remember the African mammal hall, that's actually the main thing I remember about the museum actually!

Phoenix said...

I love, love, LOVE the Natural History Museum. I'm such a geek for animals and nature and fossils... come to think of I'm just a geek about everything, aren't I.

Did they still have the Butterfly Exhibit? It's awesome - you get to walk through a nursery with tons of butterflies flying all around you!!

Carissa said...

I'm pretty sure they do still have it Tracy! the bad thing is I didn't realize it was there until AFTER I left! haha. we had spent so much time at the one exhibit already but if I had known there was a pavilion full of butterflies I would have raced over, no question!