Friday, January 10, 2014

L.A. Natural History Museum First Fridays: Walk on the Wild Side by M.R. Hunter

The Natural History Museum is always an interesting place to visit.  But if you want some wild nightlife...  

Roar! Ahem…ROAR! Yeah, that's more like it. Unleash your wild side at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum on the first Friday of every month January through June.

We're colossal fans of the NHM, whether on a First Friday or any ole day. It's a badass, take no prisoners museum year-round but First Fridays brings out the movers and shakers to rattle the bones. Here's the scoop: on the first Friday of the first six months visitors can hobnob among the dearly and long since departed while enjoying fresh new bands, drinks in bars among the snarling stuffed saber toothed critters and feel pretty freakin' posh among the surroundings. Plus enjoy special themed lectures and guided tours.


Here are some tips:
  • Get there early. Seriously. The line can be as long as a Brachiosaurus neck (see we know that cuz we've been to these First Fridays). Pay online beforehand and leave those line-waiters in the dust like prehistoric Neanderthals.
  • Getting there early gives you the chance to actually explore the museum before First Friday gets to swinging like a Chimpanzee. We recommend hanging an immediate right and plunging through the Dinosaur Hall displays up to the Age of Mammals exhibit (big white room). This is one of the most awe-inspiring rooms with its fabulous displays.

  • Order a drink but skip the food. Sadly, the food offerings haven't been that great in the past. Drinks are reasonably priced and well made. Go for broke and order a martini or do what our M.R. Hunter does and experiment with their beer specials. Either way, the drinks are part of the scene although you cannot take them into exhibits.
  • If you need food skip the choices inside and go outside for the food trucks. They are plentiful. Make sure to get stamped as you leave so you can re-enter the museum.

  • Music. Soothes the savage heart. Coolness. Unfortunately, lots of folks need soothing. Space is limited in the concert area although you can hear it in the halls. If you arrive early enough to do both the concert and the tours or lectures then double score but we prefer the brainaic offerings of some of the most notable specialists in the field over the din of noise and sweaty bodies. The concerts attract a bigger crowd than say the lecture series which is a shame because we've gotten a lot more out of the talks than the cranked up noise and DJ mixings.

  • Back to the 'Come Early' portion of our warnings…get in later as opposed to sooner and you won't be able to take the tours. Major bummer. You're there right? Might as well make the most of your admission and join the guided tours. We have as of yet been able to take these tours as M.R. Hunter can't stop guzzling down the beer as she loudly talks to the triceratops/T-Rex exhibit in the center of the atrium. It's kinda embarrassing…

  • Kids are cool but they'll enjoy the exhibits more during the day.
  • Life-sized dinosaur makes an appearance! This puppet is a shaggy amber toned T-Rex with loads of personality and he appears throughout the festivities. Worn by handlers, he is led through the crowds only briefly stopping for a photo op or a brief kiss on the snout (M.R. Hunter refused to leave until satisfied). He's a cute and friendly addition that always leaves smiles in his wake (unlike the real thing, leaving carnage).
  • If I catch you in the gift store I might have to hurt you. Yeah, the gift store is fun to peruse but ouch with the prices. Unless you see an absolute need for T-Rex house slippers or a T-Shirt that reads: "ME AT NHM!" we say pass and double pass.
  • Make a day of it. Okay, it's Friday so a workday technically but c'mon, there are plenty of those who sorta work odd hours to say the least (like us!). Come early and make the price of parking well worth your while by seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center literally an easy walk away from the NHM. Remember when it flew over Los Angeles? Anyhoo, it's on display at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. Take a first Friday off and grab a couple of friends who can do the same and make this a day into the night to remember. You've got everything on the spectrum: prehistory, drinks, food, live music and the space program. All in one spot.
  • First Fridays is one of the most popular and fun-filled ways to spend an evening with old bones. Every year this event gets more popular. Prove you're a veritable homo sapien sapien (wise wise) by using our tips to make a First Friday at the Natural History Museum memorable.

First Fridays @ the Natural History Museum
February 6, 2015
March 6, 2015
April 10, 2015
May 1, 2015
June 5, 2015

Nonmembers: $18 (February thru May), $25 (June)
Members: FREE (limited tickets available)
This season the museum is rolling out a new ticketing structure. No longer will there be a separate ticket for concert admission. The ONLY ticket option, General Admission, will provide access to all that First Fridays has to offer. Access to the Museum after-hours, the guided tour, the scientist-led discussion, the DJ lounge, and the Concert Hall will all be available on a first-come, first-served basis. So get your tickets in advance - they sell out!  Then get there early so that you can get in on the tour, concert or lecture.

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