A few years ago, my family and I went to LEGOLAND CALIFORNIA in Carlsbad, California to celebrate Field Trip Boy’s 8th birthday. Field Trip Boy had grown into a kind and loving young man and we wanted to take him some place extra special for his big day. We also brought along Field Trip Aunt and Field Trip Uncle for the special occasion.
Kidspace Children’s Museum is one of the best children’s museums in Southern California and recently made our top list of 40 LA Museums to Explore with Kids. The name says it all…Kidspace is designed just for kids. Each space within the museum provides opportunities for hands-on learning and interactive play. Children are encouraged to jump right in as soon as they arrive and lead the way. Flashy electronic displays are nowhere to be found, but that’s what makes Kidspace such a unique learning place for children.
The Natural History Museum, one of my all time favorite museums in LA, opened their new Dinosaur Hall back in 2011. Last spring, my family and I had the opportunity to check it out and it was AMAZING! This all-new, 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall is twice the size of the Museum’s old dinosaur galleries. On display is over 300+ fossils and 20 complete dinosaurs and ancient sea creatures.
Here are some cold hard facts about the exhibit, literally! (source: www.nahm.org):
- One of the centerpieces of the exhibit is the T. rex growth series — the only trio of different aged T. rex specimens in the world.
- One of the great things about the Dinosaur Hall is how close the design lets you get to the fossils! Look a Triceratops in the eye, or walk under the neck of a 68-foot Mamenchisaurus that’s longer than a city bus!
- All 20 of the complete dinosaur and sea creature mounts have either never been on display before, or have been re-posed according to the latest research. Many were discovered in the last several years by the Museum’s in-house Dinosaur Institute.
- The Dinosaur Hall doesn’t just have fossils. The exhibition is also packed with multi-media stations where you can “excavate” specimens and watch never-before-seen footage of a real dinosaur hunting expedition.
On Thursdays and over the weekend, NHM hosts the Dinosaur Encounters Show! Dinosaurs come to life as realistic T. rex and Triceratops large-scale puppets capture the imaginations of young audiences. Families learn together about dinosaur anatomy, possible behavior and movement. This show is FREE with the cost of admission.
In addition to the new Dinosaur Hall, there are many other exhibits to see at the NHM:
- The traveling exhibit Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art, Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex. This colorful exhibit showcases more than 1,200 works including masks, textiles, sculptures, yarn paintings, clay animals, and religious and political altarpieces representing 22 countries throughout Latin America, as well as Spain and Portugal.
- Get hands-on and up close and personal with live animals in the Nature Lab.
- The Butterfly Pavilion – opening in April 2015
- The Gem and Mineral Hall displays more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries that comprise what is considered to be one of the finest exhibits of gems and minerals in the world.
- And so much more…
Four times a year the Natural History Museum also hosts Homeschool Days! Homeschool Days are FREE for “any student receiving academic instruction at home for grades PreK (2 years old) through Grade 12 and his/her educators.” Furthermore, they offer additional fun classes to enhance your child’s visit.
There are two remaining Homeschool Days for the 2014-2015 school year!
Bugs and Botany
Monday April 20, 2015
Art and Nature
Wednesday June 17, 2015
So the next time you are in LA, make a day of it, and visit the Natural History Museum!
Happy Field Tripping,
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. All opinions are my own.
Ice Skating at the new Holidays on Ice in Mission Viejo!
Nothing reminds us more of winter than snow! However, in Southern California we rarely get any unless you live in the mountain areas like Julian, Big Bear or Idlewild.
Two weeks ago I went to Nebraska and there was snow EVERYWHERE! The first thing my friend said to me when I got off the plane was “You have a winter coat!” Coming from Southern California it was miraculous that I owned such a unomy. It was so cold outside that on Sunday when I drove to church it was -2 degrees and +2 degrees when I got there! Now that is truly cold!
In Southern California to get the “feeling” of winter we can go ice skating! Recently, I did a post about the Best Ice Skating Rinks in Southern California. One of the newest ice skating rinks on the list this year is the brand new Holidays on Ice Mission Viejo at the Shops of Mission Viejo in Orange County.
From November to January 11, you can skate under festive lighting, and celebrate the season with music and family fun. The 50-foot by 70-foot outdoor ice rink accommodates up to 120 skaters at a time.
ATTENTION HOMESCHOOLERS: On Mondays from 10 am to 4 pm Holidays on Ice offers homeschoolers a great discount! The cost to skate is only $10.00 per child or adult. Plus you will receive a $5.00 complimentary coupon good towards any Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor purchase. To make a group reservation, please contact Sad Wardak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOURS OF OPERATION: Friday to Saturday, 10am – 11pm and Sunday to Thursday, 10 am – 10pm
FREE Teachers on Trails event at Rancho Soñado in Silverado on 12/13!Last spring, I set up a field trip for a group of homeschool students to participate in an Inside the Outdoors program called Exploring The Great Park. We were the first homeschool group to attend the program at The Orange County Great Park in Irvine.
Inside the Outdoors is a unique, hands-on environmental education program administered by the Orange County Department of Education whose mission is to empower students, teachers, parents and the community to explore natural areas and expand their knowledge, understanding and stewardship of the environment. They offer affordable, grade-specific, science and social science programs specifically designed to support Common Core State Standards and develop 21st century skills.
Exploring the Great Park was a free field trip and outdoor education program for first grade students in Orange County that emphasized a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) focused curriculum. The program, which ended in June 2014, was designed to build knowledge of scientific investigation, physical science, geography, earth science, technology, language and visual arts.
Inside the Outdoors was kind enough to let us bring our students of all ages and their parents on the field trip. We throughly enjoyed ourselves.
On Saturday, December 13 at 10:00 am, Inside the Outdoors invites all teachers and homeschool educators to join them for a FREE Teachers on Trails event at Rancho Soñado in Silverado.The day will include a hike with an experienced Naturalist, a raffle for a FREE Traveling Scientist program, FREE massages for Educators and learning all about what Inside the Outdoors can offer your students. Plus bring your entire family along to meet some of Inside The Outdoors’ program animals!
Call or email your RSVP by December 11th, 2014 because limited space is available.
For more information visit http://ito.ocde.us/Programs/CommunityPrograms/Pages/Teachers-On-Trails.aspx
Happy Field Tripping!
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only.