museum, history, gardens

project Exposition Park

EXPOSITION PARK, home to the Science Center and Natural History Museum which, together, celebrate the weird and incredible universe we live in.


The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration - we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky; we sent 12 men to walk the moon and we discovered water, the essential ingredient of life, on the martian planet.

[Note: the above is a shameless bastardization of a West Wing quote]

Both museums are love letters to science. Now the Monday Project girls fall more cozied under the umbrella of “artist” than they do scientist. But damn, if science isn’t sexy and poetic in its own right. And, judging by the space suits on display at the Science Center, astronauts are too. The suits suggest they all have very taut little butts. In actuality, these guys (guys colloquially, as in guys and gals) are PhD’s with the bodies of world-class athletes.

The Science Center has all sorts of cool science-y stuff. There’s an entire exhibit on kelp that actually makes kelp interesting. There’s a starfish petting zoo. For $2 you can put yourself and your best friend inside a glass encasement and feel what it’s like to be in a hurricane.

The golden exhibit at the Science Center is, hands down, the stuff about space. Included in that is the space shuttle Endeavour. Inside an airplane hanger you can stand under the space shuttle Endeavour. Like it’s the actual shuttle that’s been to actual space. It’s been to space 25 times, in fact, and it was the second to last shuttle to ever exit Earth’s atmosphere under NASA’s space shuttle program as of 2016.


Fun Fact: If you’re wondering why Endeavour is spelled the British way, it’s because the shuttle is named in honor of the HMS Endeavour, the ship that took explorer James Cook on his first expedition.

The Science Center also has an IMAX theater.

When you’re done exploring the Science Center, head to the gift shop and get yourself some astronaut ice cream (Neapolitan flavor, recommended). Enjoy it while you walk through the Exposition Park Rose Garden. Afterward, make your way to the Natural History Museum.

Now, the NHM is cool for several reasons. Among them is that it’s constantly hosting special events. The first Friday of every month from February - June the NHM presents a KCRW-hosted music event, which means visitors get to stay late at the museum and listen to DJ’s, special music guest and scientist-led talks.

On just regular old days, the museum has halls worth of taxidermy animals - some still roaming the earth, some long since extinct - that look outrageously real. In the recently redone dino exhibit, Triceratops and T-Rex skeletons tower over you. There’s an area, called the Dino Lab, where you can watch real scientists work on excavated bones.

Parts of the museum look they haven’t been updated since the 70’s. The Bird Hall is conservatively colored, lots of taupe and deep burgundy. The birds are all cluttered behind glass encasements. But, hey, it’s still cool.

There is always as special exhibit going on. At the time of this post, it’s Mummies.

Take Note

The Science Center is free to visit, excluding special exhibitions and IMAX.

Click here for a link the ticketing for The Natural History Museum:

An awesome perk, you can very conveniently take the metro to get here! The Expo/USC station off the Expo line is right across the way. If you must drive, It costs $10 to park in the lot at Exposition Park. Free street parking is also available. But don't forget to look at the signs for parking restrictions. 

Exposition Park is also home to the California African American Museum, which we’ll going to on another visit.

art, history, gardens

project Wayfarers Chapel

Wanderer, adventurer, vagabond, rambler… Wayfarers Chapel.

In Rancho Palos Verdes, on a grassy hillock overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there is a small chapel made of glass. The chapel is chic, and gentle and warm inside. It was first envisioned in the 1920s, by a member of the Swedenborgian Church (a Protestant Christian denomination, named for its 18th century founder, Emanuel Swedenborg, a scientist, philosopher and theologian), as a place where life’s wayfarers could stop to rest, meditate and give thanks to God.  

Pause for a moment, wayfarer,
on life’s journey.
Let these waters restore your
soul and nourish your
inner being.
— Quote on a wall of the chapel, 1984

The chapel came to its redwood and glass fruition in 1951. It was designed by Lloyd Wright (Frank Lloyd Wright’s eldest son) who found that the teachings of the Swedenborgian church, their emphasis on the harmony between God’s natural world and the inner world of mind and spirit, matched his own design ethics.

When the trees that surround the Chapel grow up, they will become the framework...this is done to give the congregation protection in services and at the same time to create the sense of outer as well as inner space.
— Lloyd Wright

The chapel, grounds and visitor’s center are open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. There are frequently weddings held in the chapel, so you may have to wait for an opportunity to go inside. Worry not. The breathtaking views of the surroundings and the little rose garden are more than enough to occupy your eyeballs and feed your gentle wayfarer soul.


project Huntington Gardens

The Huntington is 207-acres of Botanical Gardens, Art Collections and a Library

Abby on approach to the gardens

The best railroad tycoons are the ones with philanthropic hearts and a penchant for collecting art, and books and pretty flowers. Happy for Los Angeles, Henry E. Huntington was just that sort of tycoon. In 1919, he and his wife, Arabella, transferred their vast property holdings and collections to a non-profit educational trust. That trust became The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

The Botanical Gardens are gobsmack gorgeous. All 12 are. Just past the entrance, take the path on the left and it will wind you into the Desert Garden, which is beautiful, and colorful and filled with cactuses that look like a bunch of penises.

Our suggestion would be to get here early, when it opens, and devote as much time as you can. There's lots to squeeze in to you visit.  Lay on the grass by the Lily Ponds and watch the sky, run through the trellis in the Rose Garden. Use the air-conditioned galleries to look at art and break up the sun-drenched garden viewing.

There is a tea room on the grounds that you can make reservations for in advance; It’s $30/person and looks charming. We brought a picnic and threw our blanket down in the Shakespeare Garden. Two groups of people who passed us mumbled, “we should have brought a picnic.” Muahahaha. Also, a little red wine. Not sure if it’s technically allowed, but nobody seemed to take notice.

The gardens close at 4pm. Which is frustrating because the temperature and light is pretty much ideal at right that time. You won’t notice many security people on the grounds while you’re wondering. But 4pm hits and they start materializing from the bushes to beckon you toward the exit.

Take Note:

  • You're gonna want to bring your sun hat or parasol to shade you, if you going in the summer.
  • Bring sunscreen
  • Look cute and take a camera! This is such a great photo op location!
  • We really do recommend a membership if you're in the area.. Its so beautiful and reasonably priced. The lowest level membership is $120/ yr for two named adults! Here’s a link for the full membership breakdown on the Huntington’s website.