Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden is another attraction at the city's Griffith Park. I'm sad to say, we had a membership for many years, but let it lapse. When Alex was little, he watched a lot of episodes of "Go, Diego, Go!" and as a result, he knew all the exotic animals. But after awhile, the trips to the zoo meant more time riding the train and jumping at its playground than learning about animals.The playgrounds in our neighborhood were closer, cheaper and less crowded. Serene is now addicted to Nick Jr., so I am sure we'll need to renew our membership.

The LA zoo really has an impressive number of animals to learn about and appreciate, a strong conservation program, educational classes for children, a nursery and a petting zoo. (All you really get to pet are goats, but that's ok).

The giraffes and chimpanzees are both fun to enjoy. Big animals like hippos, rhinos, and bears are all next door to each other. The Elephants of Asia exhibit is extraordinary, but its very large and with too few elephants to be able to glimpse them close up and enjoy. One the other hand, the Campo Gorilla Reserve is excellent. There are lots of gorillas and they will sit nose-to-nose with children at the glass. The new LAIR - Living Amphibians, Invertebrates & Reptiles - houses more than 60 species. The zoo is hard at work on improvements to a campus that had been ailing.

Unfortunately, the zoo still is hard to navigate, and when pushing a stroller, much of it is uphill. The map is poor and the signage could be better. Watch for contruction information too! Be sure to ask employees. A "short-cut" we took to the parking lot ended up being a dead-end. Not much fun on a hot day. The LA Zoo isn't on my top 10 list of fun zoos in the world to visit, but it should be supported!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum is really fun. And, I'm not interested in cars at all. You get to see the Batmobile, enjoy some of the favorite vehicles from classic Hollywood film stars, sit on a CHPs (California Highway Patrol) motorcycle and even learn about Hot Wheels. On its top floor, kids can play with handmade, handheld wooden derby cars.  I recommend it even for those non-car enthusiasts.

BUT - Do NOT go for the Cars the Movie (i.e. Lightning McQueen) Special Exhibit unless you want to see an otherwise great musuem at its worse. Alex has more of the toy pieces at home. A marketing gimmick to draw in children with naive parents' pocketbooks, the museum did a very poor job with its exhibit. Seriously...we have a better display at home. [Museum Curator Take Notice!  You should be fired for this one!]

Luckily, not officially on exhibit, some guest had parked his/her yellow with black-striped corvette in the museum parking lot, so we got to see BUMBLEBEE. (If you don't know Bumblee, just ask any six year old boy for all the details.)