You can find natural history in LA if you look hard enough

“Natural” is not typically a word associated with anything LA. But it’s just right for the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, which lived up to its name during a Weekndr family visit yesterday.

Our photographic highlights (after the jump) include: Taxidermy paradise, rockin’ minerals, gold fever, dino bones, and the awesome mosaic ceiling photographed above.

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Hairy Leaves and More at The Huntington

Surely we had more scenic photos from our recent trip to The Huntington, but this hairy leaf sums it up best: what the heck is that and how did it end up in Pasadena?

For this mystery and more you can thank Henry E. Huntington, the turn-of-the-century railroad and real estate tycoon who amassed the most amazing collection of art, rare books, sculpture, and gardens, and made them all available for public viewing at a massive estate now home to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

In addition to hairy leaves, you can also see a Gutenberg Bible, original Shakespeare manuscripts,  famous artwork including Edward Hopper’s The Long Leg, and acres and acres of well-kept botanical gardens of every variety.

Splash!

lawrence Welk Resort

In the northern corner of San Diego County where the earth is scorching dry and giant, polished boulders shoot out of the mountain sides like they were spit from a volcano hundreds of miles away, there is a water park named for the late Lawrence Welk.

It’s only in a place like this that a kid would position herself beneath a five-gallon bucket as it dumped its fresh load.  Our trusty Rebel caught two of these moments mid-splash; I feel drenched in recycled pool water just looking at them.

Lost in Hollywood

jack nicholson sidewalk art

Sometimes getting lost in Hollywood isn’t so bad.

You end up coming across scenes like this one above captured in digital ink by Mrs. Weekndr, who manned the camera as I navigated the family wagon through the congested space that stands between the 101 and LA’s Original Farmer’s Market on Fairfax Ave. Graffiti Jack Nicholson played the lead in this photo, but the Oscar goes to the little winking character in the lower right corner of the rear-view mirror.

hollywood

A burst of orange Metro rolls down Highland ahead of us with the Kodak Theater towering in the background. I like how the official website spins this architectural monstrosity:

Built at a cost of $94 million, Kodak Theatre was designed by the internationally-renowned Rockwell Group to be as glamorous as its onstage artists and celebrity guests, yet capable of serving the enormous technical needs of a live worldwide television broadcast on Oscar® night.

Okay. So the Lakers won. But that’s no excuse for the dog outfit in the lower left of this photo.

The Gates: Memories from New York City

The Gates with Baby

The Gates. A larger-than life art installation in Central Park, New York City. February 2005

Our first trip to New York City with a baby was a cold and leafless day in February 2005 to see the Gates, a 23-mile-long art installation created by the husband and wife team Christo and Jeanne-Claude, known for similarly massive art adventures around the world.

This week, Jeanne-Claude passed away at the age of 74, according to nytimes.com. To pay tribute, I dug up some photos from our walking tour, which was cut short when we had to return to the car because there’s no place to change a baby’s diaper in Central Park when it’s 30 degrees outside.

the gates saffron draps

More saffron-color Gates near the south entrance of Central Park

The Gates. Central Park, 2005

Walking 1/100th of the 23-mile-long installation.

The Gates at a Glance
Here are some awesome facts about the exhibit via New York City’s web site.

– 7,500 gates lined up across 23 miles of footpaths weaving through Central Park.
– Each Gate measured between 5 ft. wide to 18 ft. wide  and 16 ft. tall.
– Saffron-colored fabric panels were suspended from the top of each gate and hung down to 7 ft. above the ground.
– The project was funded entirely by the artists and provide employment for hundreds of New York City residents, hired to assemble, install, maintain and remove the installation.
– After The Gates was disassembled, most of the materials were recycled.