Easily recognizable by the 10-story black cube that looks more like a crashed alien spaceship than a source of clean energy, the museum has been using science-based exhibits to educate and inspire its young visitors for more than 15 years, with a rotating cast of hands-on, interactive exhibits, including MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition.
The colorful B-17 Flying Fortress known as Fuddy Duddy once shepherded General Dwight D. Eisenhower across the Pacific near the end of World War II. Today, the massive plane is on display at the Lyon Air Museum on the west side of Orange County's John Wayne Airport. The museum has a curated selection of authentic aircraft and rare vehicles, most of which trace their lineage back to World War II. A 1939 Mercedes-Benz G4 Offener Touring Wagon was actually owned and used by Adolph Hitler until its seizure by the French army at Bertschesgaden. Museum tours are led by volunteer docents throughout the day and last about an hour; along with the planes and cars, you'll encounter Jeeps, motorcycles, and a 1941 Dodge pickup truck.
While wandering the Museum of Latin American Art's permanent collection of works?from artists native to 20 Latin American countries?it might come as a surprise that the space was once home to a roller-skating rink and a silent-movie studio. Its transformation into one of the country's only museums dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art was the work of physician, philanthropist, and patron of the arts Dr. Robert Gumbiner. He acquired the properties and founded the museum in 1996, revamping the Hippodrome into galleries alive with Latin American music, paintings, and video.
Since that time, the museum has doubled in size, adding a 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden and expanding its collection to include masters such as Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Sebasti?n Matta, Los Carpinteros, and Tunga. The site now serves as a beacon of Latin American culture, showcasing artists who made names for themselves in their own countries but may not be well known in the United States.
Beyond the eye-catching exhibitions, which have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the museum offers educational programs and events such as concerts, film showings, and children?s art camps. Each is an outgrowth of the museum?s mission to stimulate the intellect and cultivate an appreciation for Latin America?s contributions to the world of art.
Rancho Los Alamitos enjoys a spot on the National Register of Historic Places for a couple reasons—the site is the birthplace of the native Tongva people, and it has also played an important role in local history since 1790. That’s the year Manuel Nieto took control of a 300,000-acre parcel of land as a reward for serving the Spanish crown on an expedition to California. Over the years, the land saw subdivision—in 1833, it was divvied up among Nieto’s heirs into five ranchos, some 25,500 acres becoming Rancho Los Alamitos. Around this time, the Nietos erected a still standing adobe house, most likely for ranch staff and horses. Fast-forward nearly a hundred years and Florence Bixby is cultivating a lush garden. From native plants and cacti to geraniums and roses, her garden incorporated aspects of ranch life without fully relinquishing a European vibe. Along with that garden, vestiges of the Tongva Village and the homestead’s former inhabitants live on today next to a renovated Rancho Center and Barns Area. The ranch is still home to barnyard animals—chickens, rabbits, horses—and thanks to Bixby’s heirs, the 7.5 remaining acres of Nieto’s once-colossal estate now welcome the public with exhibits about its history and that of the Tongva tribe.
In the early 1960s, the Long Beach Kiwanis Club realized their community's history was slipping away, unpreserved. So they took matters into their own collective hands by founding the Historical Society of Long Beach with a museum in Bixby Knolls. The organization's staff went to work collecting photographs, documents, and other artifacts that chronicle Long Beach's past. To date, society members past and present have assembled around 27,000 photographic prints, 3,000 slides, and 1,400 volumes of newspapers covering events from as far back as 1897. The society also maintains a collection with maps, artifacts, and even interviews of notable citizens.
Rotating exhibits grant peeks into this historical collection. Historical Society of Long Beach also hosts special events, including an annual history tour of the city?s two oldest cemeteries, one of which is a favorite vacation spot for the world's richest ghosts, special conferences, and First Fridays.
Nestled in the historic Rancho Santa Anita?a homestead originally inhabited by the Gabrieleno Tongva tribe?Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden houses wildlife and plants from all over the globe on 127 acres. Its creators opened the Arboretum in 1947 to promote environmental awareness in a sanctuary that reflects the distinct history, flora, and culture of southern California. The grounds reflect the founders' aim?hummingbirds flutter among the colorful blooms in the Grace Kallam Perennial Garden, and wildflowers, herbs, and veggies spring to life at the hands of community volunteers in the educational Garden for All Seasons. Tropical and temperate blossoms embellish the Meyberg waterfall's sun-drenched stone face and blue-gum trees stand guard in front of the Queen Anne cottage, one of several historic sites that was constructed in 1885 to encapsulate Victorian opulence. Peacocks and great egrets strut among living plant collections, which explode into flowery canopies whenever the right garden sprites are available to aid in pollination.
Members often gain exclusive access to the Arboretum's slate of events, which includes workshops, tours, Yoga in the Garden, and live music performances in the summer months. The Arboretum Summer Nights series kicks off with David Correa and Cascada on July 11, followed by Sour Mash Hug Band on July 25, Ooks of Hazzard on August 1, and closes out with Steve Rushingwind on August 8. Summer camps reawaken brains that usually hibernate until September, and Bookworms Story Time captures attention year-round. Members can also take advantage of free tram rides during SpringTopia on May 3?4.