If it’s free, it’s for me! Everybody loves free stuff. Why wouldn’t you? And here are some free activities for you to enjoy in and around Hancock Park.
The La Brea Tar Pits is a favorite with adults and kids. And you can enjoy it for the low, low cost of free.
Back in 1875, a group of amateur paleontologists discovered animal remains in the pits at Rancho La Brea, which bubbled with asphalt from a petroleum lake under what is now Hancock Park. Some 130 years later, the pros are still at work here, having dragged more than 3.5 million fossils from the mire. Many of these specimens are now on display in this delightfully old fashioned museum, which can’t have changed much since it opened in 1977. Reserve a spot on the Excavator Tour (free with museum admission), which includes stops at the Fossil Lab, the Lake Pit, the newly re-opened Observation Pit and Project 23, where you can see archaeologists at work. Inside, check out the multimedia experience Ice Age Encounter, and the simple, instructive displays of items found in the pits. Most are bones – of jackrabbits, gophers, a 160lb bison, skunks and a 15,000lb Columbian mammoth, plus an extraordinary wall of 400 wolf skulls – though there are also early cave drawings and human accoutrements such as bowls and hair pins.– Time Out
The California Science Center is also a favorite among kids and adults. The space stuff is amazing! 🚀🛰👽
A fusion of two longstanding prior facilities, the California Science Center opened in 1998 in a bright, airy building directly in front of the Rose Garden in Exposition Park. The undisputed standout here is also the museum’s most recent acquisition: Endeavour. The final ship to be built in NASA’s space shuttle program, Endeavour inspires a reach for the stars ambition unlike any other exhibit in the city. And its story is distinctly rooted in LA: Endeavour was built in Palmdale and, almost 123 million miles later, rolled along our streets to its permanent resting place in the museum. Elsewhere in the museum, permanent exhibit galleries—World of Life, Creative World, and the SKETCH Foundation Gallery featuring air and space exhibits—explore life sciences, human innovation and powered flight, albeit with a decidedly ’90s flair. The Ecosystems wing tackles science with a hands-on look at Earth’s biomes, from polar extremes to life in our own backyard. The many touch-friendly exhibits cater almost exclusively to kids; childless adults will likely find the bulk of the museum too crowded, chaotic and, well, boring.
Other exhibit highlights include the Kelp Tank, populated with 1,500 live fish, kelp and other marine life; the ever-popular High-Wire Bicycle, which allows the brave and the trusting to ride a bike along a one-inch wire some 43 feet above the ground in order to demonstrate the power of gravity; Tess, the 50-foot body simulator and star of the Body Works show; and actual space capsules from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo-Soyuz missions. Further entertainment is provided by a roster of temporary exhibits and an IMAX cinema, screening the usual array of dazzling, quasi-educational, nature-slanted films.
Entrance to the museum’s permanent exhibits is free, which might explain why the main attraction on the ground floor is an enormous shop.– Time Out
Take in an architectural wonder while also catching up on your reading at the Los Angeles Public Library.
Designed by Bertram Goodhue, completed in 1926 and renamed after the city’s former mayor in 2001, the city’s main library is worth a look even if you’ve no interest in borrowing books. The exterior is a Beaux Arts beauty, topped with a dramatic, tiled pyramid tower and decorated with bas-reliefs by Lee Lawrie.
The main lobby features an unexpectedly colorful ceiling mural by Venice artist Renée Petropoulos; other highlights include a frieze that retells Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (International Languages Department) and a series of murals dedicated to California history (Children’s Literature Department). There’s also a fine program of lectures and discussions in the Mark Taper Auditorium (for details, see www.lfla.org/aloud).– Time Out
These are only a few things to check out. But, for a deeper dive, check out this “Best Free Attractions in L.A.” from Time Out.
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