Visiting the Natural History Museum Los Angeles, CA

I’m not sure why we hadn’t visited the Natural History Museum Los Angeles before having kids. We’ve been to the Natural History Museums of New York and DC and liked them both.  Somehow, LA’s museum flew under our radar until we saw it on a list for a free museum admission day. Excited to teach Kairi about dinosaurs, we headed into LA for a busy museum day. A day that also included visits to the La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA, and the Discovery Science Center.




Natural History Museum visitor info

Website

https://nhm.org/

Hours

Everyday 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m (closed July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day)

Address

900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

Price (At the Door.  $1 Cheaper if purchased online)

  • Adults $15
  • Seniors $12
  • Students $12
  • Child $7

Parking

$12 flat rate

The parking lot entrance is on Bill Robertson Lane at the corner of Exposition Boulevard

Visit For Free

Free First Tuesdays

You can visit the Natural History Museum Los Angeles for free very first Tuesday of every month (except July and August).  The museum highly recommends reserving tickets for that day to guarantee entrance.  Visit the link below to get your tickets

https://nhm.org/plan-your-visit/museum-free-days-admission-and-hours

Free visiting Hours for LA County Residents

L.A. County residents get free museum admission Monday – Friday from 3 – 5 pm. Free hour tickets available at the museum. Bring a valid ID or utility bill the day of your visit.

Our Experience

Before we even got to the entrance, we could tell the museum was jam-packed.  Reserving our free tickets online, we collected them outside near the bottom of the stairs and headed in.

Inside, we were immediately greeted by a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex Triceratops display.  It was awe-inspiring. Though our oldest daughter’s face was one of distraction. The museum was overcrowded, and it was hard to hear inside the central atrium.  Like us, hundreds possibly thousands of families were taking advantage of the same free admission event we were.

Finding refuge in the Africa wildlife wing, we were floored by the unbelievable detail of the animal dioramas.  The lifelike animals were hard to pull our eyes off. Along with the incredible set designs, each display felt like we were peering into another part of the world frozen in time. 

After the first wing, we shuffled into the dinosaur exhibit.  The sheer size of the dinosaur displays was impressive. But we went through rather quickly due to the insane crowds.  By then, the volume of all the people was starting to affect our experience.  

Needing some time to away from the crowds, we headed outside to the museum’s garden area to feed the girls.  While we ate lunch, we decided to check out the North America animal wing and head out. It was just too busy.

It was a shame we weren’t able to walk the entire museum.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to go back on a less busy day to see the parts we missed.

Prep your kids before going to the Natural History Museum 

We find that our daughter is more interested in a museum of historical landmarks if we teach her about them beforehand.  This gets her excited about the visit, and she has a great time. If we don’t prep her, she loses interest fast.

For the natural history museum, we used an old Berenstain Bears book that I loved as a kid. The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Dinosaur Bone. We recommend renting it from your local library or you can buy it with the amazon link to the right.  We read it to her a few times a week leading up to our visit.

By the time we arrived, she knew a couple of the dinosaurs by name, and she wanted to see them in person.

Things to do nearby

The Discovery Science Center is a short walk away from the Natural History Museum, and it’s an excellent place to bring your kids.  Not only is it free, but it contains a few play areas that the kids will really enjoy! We recommend visiting both places if you go.

Should you go?

The Natural History Museum Los Angeles is a great place to bring the kids. The dinosaur exhibits and animal dioramas are truely awe-inspiring. While it costs a family of 4 about $45 to visit, NHM also offers a free admission day once a month, so start planning your visit today!

Just be aware of the crowds if you decide to visit on a free addmision day.  The gigantic crowds can really affect your experience.

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