Written, Reported, and Photographed by Alister Lewis (left) and Stevie Key (right)
Mrs. Renick’s fourth and sixth-period Honors Geology classes went on an educational field trip to Los Angeles’ beautiful Natural History Museum on October 5th, and it was a blast. Despite getting on the road before school had even started, the trip took an entire day! Yet it was still not enough time to see all the amazing exhibits. All Geology students with a passing grade of a C or higher could go on this trip and frankly, it was worth turning in any late work.
Just entering the museum, we were greeted with intricate architecture and statues. A gorgeous stained-glass mural on the ceiling made the sunlight cascade in vibrant rays and brought people’s eyes to the gentle details that filled the room. However, that was not the only thing that caught my group’s eye. While checking in, the group easily reached a consensus to explore the gorgeous rose garden situated just outside the museum entrance. Filled with roses of all varieties and colors, the rose garden was a wonderful sight. Including a fountain and plenty of gazebos littered amongst the flowers, the garden included placards that told us the names of every flower and donation contributed.
After deciding we had spent enough time outdoors, my group’s chaperone led us inside the Becoming Los Angeles Exhibit. Filled with a myriad of objects from the past; the exhibit told the story of Los Angeles. It was filled with memorabilia of Los Angeles and California. We spent a brief time there before moving on to the reason we went on the field trip, the Gems and Minerals Hall.
The Gems and Minerals Hall was gigantic for lack of a better word. The Natural History Museum presented things like the “Mojave Nugget” a 4.9-kilogram gold nugget, meteorites they have obtained over the years, and a 65-pound ball of pure clear quartz. Along the walls, educational videos played, informing us of California’s rich expanse of crystals and minerals. Further inside the exhibit, we came across the Gem Vault. As the name says, it’s filled with cut precious gemstones and embedded pieces that made a statement. Gems of all shapes, sizes, and colors were displayed under glass barriers in a dark room, glistening underneath the bright spotlights. There was even a security guard stationed to protect such a valuable collection.
After a short break, our group decided to journey on to the African Mammals exhibit. Even though the focus of the exhibit was the mammals, plenty of other smaller animals were shown. Unnamed birds, plants, and even reptiles populated the displays. Just like the rose garden, small plaques were in front of each section highlighting what animal was the true star of the display. Walking through the displays didn’t feel like walking through a creepy grandma’s taxidermy room though. It was as if my group was walking through a hall of windows and each animal was frozen in time in their natural environment. Unless you are given the chance to directly view these animals in their natural environment, this is the closest you’ll get to it.
After the magnificent African Mammal Exhibit, our group decided to do something more aquatic. A few rooms away lay a brand-new exhibit that showed the evolution of sea creatures. As we enter, a video presentation greets us in the soft blue-and-purple-lit room. Showing the differences between a deep dark sea, with creatures such as angler fish, and the lush greens of coastal areas, the video had zero dialogue but still told a beautiful story. Even though the video was the focus, nearly 40 different fossils related to aquatic life were displayed as well as a small tablet that showed any fossils found in the area. Sadly, the group couldn’t spend too long in the room; if given the chance to go back, it is on the list of must-dos.
One of the more popular exhibits was the Discovery Center/Insect Zoo. A joint exhibit, the room had interactive activities, bug displays, and preserved animals. As we walked into the room, we were greeted with dinosaur-themed activities such as a puzzle about claw bones and a tub where we could “excavate bones” which was just plastic shaped like dinosaur bones covered in minuscule rubber chunks (I was thoroughly entertained; the texture was funky). Past that, there were bug terrariums and related activities, like building an ecosystem or creating a “new” bug. Just past that was a stage where workers would hold dinosaur puppet shows. It was adorable and I’m disappointed that I couldn’t see the show myself.
Trying to get to the ground level, my group stumbled across the Dino Lab. Showcasing all the museum’s research equipment. To be frank, there wasn’t anything super interesting about it to me but Mrs. Brown loved the comparisons between microscopic and normal views of everyday objects. Continuing our trek, we came across Bird Hall. It was a simple exhibit, but it held more birds than you could name off the top of your head; not to mention the freaky broken-down pelican animatronic at the end of the exhibit. After two flights of stairs, we finally found ourselves at the ground level and ready to eat. Eating was a quick and easy job (ignoring the outrageous prices), so we walked off to another area before we had to leave. We explored a little bit of the Nature Gardens and hopped on logs before walking over the giant bridge that led us into the Dinosaur Hall.
With skulls larger than some of our classmates, the Dinosaur Hall had all types of fossils and artifacts. Having both aquatic and terrestrial dinosaurs, informational panels could be found everywhere. A particular section talked about marine fossils in Kansas! My favorite part was seeing all the different skeletons and skulls, it felt surreal to be so close to something from ages ago. Unfortunately, we had to hurry off because we were cutting close to departure time.
On the bus, it was quiet, and you could feel the exhaustion settling in. My co-writer, Stevie, took a little cat nap on the way to the rest stop, that’s how peaceful it was. Overall, it wasn’t a bad trip, I wish we had more time, and I would love to go again on my own time. My biggest regret was not walking through the edible garden and spider exhibit. I recommend going to the museum to history lovers, explorers, or those who love getting lost in natural beauty.