When animals are rescued from dangerous living situations or seized from the hands of smugglers, STAR Eco Station provides second chances at peaceful lives. The facility offers a haven for more than 200 rescued animals and educates the public as an environmental science museum. During public tours, guides lead guests through exhibits of rescued exotic animals, such as parrots, pythons, and wildcats, while explaining the habits, history, and New Year's resolutions of each creature.
The recipient of multiple awards from media and government agencies, STAR Eco Station also provides educational outreach programs to more than 40 California school districts and works in concert with conservation organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Paw Project, and Heal the Bay.
The squash-savvy staff at Shawn's Pumpkin Patch flaunts a cornucopia of variously sized pumpkins to adorn fall festivities. Against a rustic backdrop of straw bales and cornstalks, pyramids of gigantic, medium, small, and mini pumpkins ($1–$80) sit ready to be taken home and carved to mimic the visage of a zombie or a beloved imaginary friend. Although not included in today's Groupon, Shawn's Pumpkin Patch also hosts pony rides, mini-train trips, and a petting zoo ($3–$6/person).
There’s almost no way to prepare for what lies within the miniature halls of The Museum of Jurassic Technology. The museum’s stated mission is “the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic.” While intriguing, this doesn’t necessarily help to clarify matters. For further elucidation, you can turn to the New York Times, which describes the museum as a place where “some things are invented but seem true [and] others are true but seem invented." The museum’s collection is the definition of eclectic. It includes sculptures mounted on the head of a needle, early 20th-century machines that may or may not be magical, and a fossilized horn that purportedly grew from a woman's head. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, there’s a set of early 20th-century letters mysteriously sent to astronomers at the Mount Wilson Observatory and portraits of Russian cosmonaut dogs from the 1950s. BBC Travel appropriately describes this series of bizarre exhibits as something like a “collaboration between Dave Eggers and David Lynch."
The Paley Center for Media's international collection is like a window into broadcasting's past. Nearly 150,000 radio and television programs chronicle political and cultural history from the last 100 years, dating back to when Marconi first invented the radio and, as a by-product, listening. At locations in Los Angeles and New York City, curators help visitors browse through these documentaries, public affairs programs, and commercials. They also host special events, in which media leaders interact with the public first hand. Since 1984, the annual Paleyfest has welcomed panels with the creators, writers, and cast behind some of media's most influential programs. Attendees have gained insights into shows such as 30 Rock, True Blood, and Modern Family. In more recent years, the Paley Center has started examining the significance of new media on the internet.
Amid the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard stand two monuments to the silver screen. One, the TCL Chinese Theatre, oozes with history— imported Chinese stone lions, a 90-foot-tall copper roof, and concrete blocks that bear the handprints of Hollywood luminaries from years gone by each memorialize the celebrated role the building has played in Hollywood for more than eight decades.
Next door, Chinese 6 Theatres is a tribute to the cutting-edge. Six theaters, some with 3D capability, immerse viewers in ultra-realistic picture and sound better than sitting inside Steven Spielberg's android brain. Beyond the plush theater seating, a bar slings cocktails for in-movie sipping and a restaurant serves a full menu for cravings after the show. The service schedule varies for the bar and the restaurant but both will be open during Summer 2013. Whether they opt for the historic cinema or the ultramodern theater, visitors can catch a full slate of acclaimed new releases on their chosen big screen.
The storied history of TCL Chinese Theatre rivals those of the more than 200 celebrities whose handprints, footprints, and autographs are cemented into the theater's forecourt. Erected in 1927 and declared a historical and cultural landmark in 1968, the iconic theater stages movie screenings, premieres, events, and red-carpet ceremonies. Today, moviegoers walking through the theater's main courtyard can revel in the same opulence of those 1920s screen idols, craning their necks upward to take in the looming pagoda that frames the entrance. Inside, the theater's original 1927 screen towers high above the plush red-velvet seats, surrounded by wooden panels that rise to a ceiling with flowing Chinese-style drawings. This classic Hollywood setting is one of the reasons why the theater, in an echo of its origins, hosts celebrity-studded premieres, such as the 2012 opening for Life of Pi and the 2013 opening for Beautiful Creatures.
Petroleum mogul Dr. Armand Hammer clung to life just long enough to see The Hammer Museum make its debut in 1990, passing away three weeks later. Without the founder’s support, construction screeched to a halt and spaces sat in varying states of completion. But not for long. The powers that be at UCLA saw Hammer’s vision, and took control of the abandoned museum in 1994. They restored it to its former glory by importing the university’s own collections and staff. Today, The Hammer’s unique compendium of works still hints at the unlikely collaboration that bore the museum all those years ago. Its stockpile of masterpieces explores the modern-day in a contemporary collection of mostly drawings and photographs. Richard Hawkins’ disembodied zombie george green might best embody current artistic trends; his expressionless eyes stare from a yellow backdrop, the handiwork of an undead inkjet printer. Meanwhile, the Armand Hammer Collection, left behind by the museum’s namesake, balances george and other outlandish works with 19th-century art by Degas, Cézanne, and van Gogh. It’s virtually impossible to predict whether rotating exhibits will land in classic or contemporary camps. They range from performance art installations—Floor of the Forest depicts two dancers moving through hanging jumbles of used clothing and ropes—to sculptures, paintings, and drawings. To cultivate better artistic understanding, the Hammer Museum hosts events including lunchtime art talks, tours, and screenings.