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Natural History Museum Opens Pollinator Garden

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What better place to welcome the first day of Spring than at the opening of the 3 1/2 acre Pollinator Garden at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.  If you’re not familiar with the museum, it opened it doors in 1913 and over the years has established one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history, right here in our own background!

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We arrived with much excitement, my kids are born naturalist.  We were greeted by Lila, a staff member with incredible knowledge about butterflies and other wildlife that we could expect to see in the garden.  Lila quizzed the kids about the life-cycle of the butterfly, which I’m happy to report they passed, and let us experience the release of a butterfly into the garden.

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It was time to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. The kids and I made our way over to build a bug or insect house.  The kids started with a small ball of clay and molded it into the shape of their own creation, then adding natural materials that were overflowing in buckets on the table.  Staff members encouraged the kids to add items that an insect or bug would be attracted to and add them to their dwellings.

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Just as we finished, we turned around to find an enormous Monarch Butterfly and a cute bubble bee headed straight for us!  The bubble bee came over to the kids to demonstrate how a butterfly pollinate; Sarah volunteered to hold to giant bouquet. At this point, the large butterfly blew a party blower into the bouquet to show the kids how the pollinating process works.  These two characters are not normally in the garden, but do visit with fairies to member events (a benefit of becoming a NHM member).

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Upon arrival, we received a Nature Hunt page which allows kids to search for various flowers, birds, bees, butterflies, and other wildlife. The kids were ready further explore, so we began our walk on the paths through the garden.  While the kids were busy trying to locate species and I was busy snapping pictures of the gorgeous surroundings.

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While on our Natural Hunt, we stopped to ask Jessie Daniel (Education & Exhibit Supervisor) a question and he was nice enough to not only answer the kids questions, but to further explore the gardens with the kids.   He took us the pond (where dragon flies lay their eggs), showed us bee hotels, and preformed an timed observation with them.  This gave them the chance to find a resting butterfly, a ladybug, gray squirrel and a hummingbird feeding.

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Jessie also educated us on an app called iNaturalist, which is an interactive map allowing users to contribute by adding to the site when they find wildlife or plants; my oldest described it as Facebook for scientists. Using this app was made easy with the new Time Warner Cable Wifi available free inside and out of the museum, which was handy because Ronan (8) was obsessed with adding pictures using the newly installed app on our iPad.

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We finished our visit to the Pollinator Garden by visiting the Edible Garden, Get Dirty Zone and a little play time on the Urban Water Feature.  As we left for the day, we stopped to upgrade our tickets to become members because we are anxious to return and see the new Butterfly Pavilion that will open in April and Spider Exhibit that will arrive soon!

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Even tiny critters need shelter

Even tiny critters need shelter

About NHM: The museum is located at 900 Exposition Blvd. in Los Angeles, just across the street from USC.  Visit www.nhm.org or call (213) 763.3532 for hours and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter (NHMLA), Pinterest and Instagram.

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Wendy is a wife and mom of three that lives in Ladera Ranch. She enjoys experiencing life through the eyes of her kids, party planning, exercising, and cooking.
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  1. 101 Things to do with Your Kids in Orange County this Summer - OC Mom Blog | OC Mom Blog - […] 71. Slide down the epic slides in Santa Ana 72. Drive to LA to see the pollinator garden at…

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