SoCal Museums Announces New Creature Crawl Summer Activity For Families


SoCal Museums announces its summer Creature Crawl, an activity for kids and families that lets them explore the many museums that currently have animal-themed exhibitions on view. Participants can collect puzzle pieces at each of the five participating museums and use them to create a mythical beast that kids can design and color. Families can upload their creations to and win prizes for their work at the end of the summer.

Creatures featured include fabled unicorns in medieval manuscripts at the Getty Center, a beautiful garden of butterflies at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, dinosaurs from Antarctica at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and much more.

With support from UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, kids at the hospital who are unable to travel to the museums will receive their own package of activities so that they can also participate in the fun.

UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital is the Presenting Sponsor for Creature Crawl. PBS SoCal is the Media Sponsor for Creature Crawl. Check museum websites for individual hours and admission.

On view at Creature Crawl museums this summer:

Getty Center

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

Through August 18, 2019 | @GettyMuseum

Explore the throngs of animals that tumble, soar, and race through the pages of the bestiary, a popular medieval book that describes the beasts of the world. Through vibrant and fascinating images, the pages of these bestiaries will bring creatures to life before your eyes – with some escaping from the pages to inhabit the Getty's galleries! Pick up your creature's head at the Museum Information Desk. The Getty is always free.

Los Angeles Zoo

Ongoing - Summer Creature Features | @LAZoo

Explore the L.A. Zoo and discover thousands of creatures with remarkable features, Iike purple-tongued giraffes, pink-and-preening flamingos, super-floofy golden lion tamarins, and fabulous neon-colored frogs. Along the way, you'll do more than just see these animals, many of which are endangered. You'll get a glimpse of the world through their eyes and, thanks to daily keeper-led presentations, you'll understand more about them. Best of all, your visit will help save them, by supporting vital conservation work. Pick up your creature's back frog legs in the International Marketplace gift shop.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Antarctic Dinosaurs

Through January 5, 2020 | @NHMLA

Gear up for the expedition of a lifetime! Follow the footsteps of past and modern-day paleontologists who excavate fossils beneath Antarctic ice and stone. Discover hands-on activities, specimens, and media touch screens that reveal what these science adventures are really like. Be transported back millions of years to the warmer habitat where exotic dinosaurs lived, including the 25-foot-long, cold-crested Cryolophosaurus! Pick up your creature's body at the Museum Store.


La Brea Tar Pits

Ongoing - Mammoths and Mastodons | IG: @TheLaBreaTarPits

The museum at the Tar Pits is experiencing a takeover of mammoth proportions. Discover these magnificent beasts from the Ice Age in a whole new way. Get up close to La Brea's real fossils as well as new life-sized replicas. Take part in interactive experiences that will give you a hands-on understanding of the science behind excavating and analyzing these fascinating creatures.

Please note, the creature puzzle piece is only available at the Natural History Museum, not at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Butterflies Alive!

Through September 2, 2019 | @SBNature

Walk through a beautiful garden while nearly 1,000 live butterflies flutter freely around you. The exhibit features a dazzling variety of butterflies, from local favorites to exotic tropical varieties. Learn about the Iife cycle and behavior of these spectacular invertebrates while observing them up close. Built in 2018, the Sprague Butterfly Pavilion features plants butterflies love and comfortable spots to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Pick up your creature's butterfly wings at the Museum Admissions Office.


Prehistoric Forest

Through September 2, 2019

Take a stroll back in time and come face-to-face with dinosaurs on the banks of Mission Creek! Meet a Tyrannosaurus rex, the formidably armored Stegosaurus, high-crested Parasaurolophus, and Triceratops and Ankylosaurus mamas with their young. These hand-crafted moving animatronics spark the imaginations of dinosaur lovers of all ages. Pick up your creature's butterfly wings at the Museum Admissions Office.

Skirball Cultural Center

Ongoing - Noah's Ark at the Skirball™ | @Skirball_LA

From your first sight of the floor-to-ceiling Ark to a close-up encounter with a whimsically designed creature, Noah's Ark is sure to spark wonder no matter how old you are. You'll play, climb, build, and explore aboard the Ark, and you'll leave with a greater appreciation for the value of building community and caring for the world. Make memories that will last a lifetime — this summer at the Skirball. Pick up your creature's front zebra legs in the Rainbow Gallery at the conclusion of your visit to Noah's Ark.

SoCal Museums (SCM) is a group of marketing and communications professionals from museums all over Southern California. The mission of the organization is to foster dialogue between marketing and communications museum professionals in Southern California in order to learn from each other, network, conceptualize and execute ways to increase visitation to and awareness of museums in Southern California, and develop collaborative opportunities between museums.

UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital cares for the physical and emotional well-being of children, from newborns to young adults, providing critically ill children with sophisticated, compassionate care in an environment that is both welcoming and healing to children and their families.

The mission of the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is to provide state-of-the art treatment for children in a family focused atmosphere, as well as conduct research that improves the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases and to train the next generation of leaders in pediatrics.

PBS SoCal is the primary PBS station for more than 18 million people across six diverse Southern California counties, and a content channel of the Public Media Group of Southern California, formed by the 2018 merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group. Our Mission is to foster a love of LEARNING, CULTURE and COMMUNITY using the power of public media.

Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum Opening at Simi Valley Town Center


The Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum is opening its doors at the Simi Valley Town Center on Saturday, December 15, 2018. It is located directly across from the Vans store in the mall in a space of over 10,000 square feet. The address is 1555 Simi Town Center Way, #230.

The International Skateboarding Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by Todd Huber. It was created to honor the passion, dedication and contributions to skateboarding history and culture by skateboarders and cultural icons through the decades.

The Museum displays hundreds of skateboards and other skating artifacts going back decades. There are some fascinating home-made specimens of boards on display. There will also be an skating art gallery, gift shop, theater/library (over 600 skating videos as well as skating magazines) and skate shop. They will also be able to build skateboards at the facility.

The Museum also has a mini skating ramp with a fun wall ride available to local youth for a fee.

Admission to the museum will be free, but donations are welcomed.

Visit to learn more and to support the cause.

Old school. REALLY old school.

Old school. REALLY old school.

Nearly complete mini ramp at Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum.

Nearly complete mini ramp at Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum.

California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks to Relocate to The Oaks in November


To accommodate its continued growth as one of Conejo Valley’s premier art museumsthe California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO) has entered into a strategic partnership with The Oaks – a Macerich property. The museum will vacate its current location on Thousand Oaks Blvd. and move into a new 5,500 square-foot facility at The Oaks, located at 350 West Hillcrest Drive. The new location will feature expanded exhibit space, new resources for educational programming and special event space. The museum will be located on the second floor between Nordstrom and Macy’s, across from JCPenney, and will be easily accessible from the parking structure.

The grand opening of the museum will coincide with the exhibition of Kevin Sloan: A Collection of Rarities on November 8, 2018. Sloan, a Denver-based painter whose work is characterized by a deep reverence for the natural world, will take visitors on a surreal journey examining the precarious position facing wildlife today. The museum anticipates 15,000 visitors during the exhibition run and has developed accessible educational materials and public programs to complement the exhibition.

Since 2015, CMATO has exhibited acclaimed artists at the City’s property; welcomed thousands of visitors from throughout Southern California; and seen its membership, donors, and volunteer contributions steadily increase. During this time, CMATO received two substantial gifts: Shawn and Letal Skelton ($100,000) and Larry Janss ($100,000). Both donors are committed to providing the means for CMATO to be a cultural gathering place for generations to come and fully support the move to the Oaks.

As part of CMATO’s mission to be a place for authentic and meaningful engagement with art, the museum’s new location will accommodate larger exhibitions, provide more robust programming and feature dedicated areas for participatory and interpretive experiences. The space will also provide greater exposure opportunities for museum sponsors. Plans are currently underway for CMATO to collaborate with Macerich on major events throughout the year, including its School Cents program.

About CMATO:

The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO) is a cultural institution dedicated to engaging, educating and uplifting the human spirit through the palette of art. Established in 2008, the museum showcases established and emerging contemporary artists, with a unique focus on participatory art. As part of its mission to connect people to creativity, ideas and to each other, CMATO features rotating temporary exhibitions, artist lectures and educational programs that foster discussion, participation and an appreciation for the visual arts. To learn more or to become a museum member, visit

About Macerich:

Macerich, an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls throughout the United States.

Macerich currently owns 52 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 48 regional shopping centers. Macerich specializes in successful retail properties in many of the country’s most attractive, densely populated markets with significant presence in the Pacific Rim, Arizona, Chicago and the Metro New York to Washington, DC corridor.

A recognized leader in sustainability, Macerich has earned NAREIT’s prestigious “Leader in the Light” award every year from 2014-2017. For the third straight year in 2017 Macerich achieved the #1 GRESB ranking in the North American Retail Sector, among many other environmental accomplishments. Additional information about Macerich can be obtained from the Company's website at

Grand Re-Opening of Museum of Ventura County in January 2017


The Museum of Ventura County is preparing excitedly for the Grand Re-Opening of its galleries after being closed since September 1.  A fundraising gala, “Splendors of the Museum” will be held on Saturday, January 7, followed by a community celebration—free and open to all— on Sunday, January 8 from noon to 5 pm.  The community celebration begins with an opening ceremony at 12:30 pm, followed by free tours throughout the afternoon of the museum’s new galleries.  Two new exhibits, “Masterworks of the Museum” and “Really Awful People, featuring the George Stuart Historical Figures” will debut.

The rebirth of this century-old institution came from a desire to give residents throughout Ventura County more access to their history, and to provide a more participatory and exciting experience for all visitors from the moment they enter the museum.

Under the new direction of interim executive director and consultant Elena Brokaw, it is no longer business as usual. “As I toured this treasured cultural resource from top to bottom, I immediately saw one core problem—not enough gallery space.  We needed to increase our ability to share more of the history of Ventura County with visitors and residents. Our 104-year-old collection comprises more than 31,000 historical objects, and it belongs to all of us.  Although it can never be displayed all at one time, the lure of “what is in the basement” is so strong.  We wanted to do something about that.”

Accordingly, exhibition space has been nearly doubled by reinventing spaces, such as the lobby, courtyard and museum store as galleries where more artifacts could be installed and stories could be told. Changes literally begin at the front door, where guests are greeted by historic photos, large-scale objects and digital installations covering previously blank walls. This space is now meant to “set the stage”, telling visitors where they are and what they can expect.

Even the way visitors proceed through the museum is different. Instead of entering through the museum store, they will proceed from the lobby into the outdoor courtyard space; they are literally re-directed into a more welcoming, expansive and chronological adventure.  This space features a historic timeline mural, created by local artist Ryan Carr, which transports visitors back in time.  Also in this space are citrus trees evoking the Mission Orchard, which existed on that very site 200 years ago.

Visitors will discover many artifacts and works of art that haven’t been seen for years, which have been researched and revealed by the museum’s curators.  The inaugural exhibition, “Masterworks from the Museum’s Collection” will pair works of art with artifacts and photos that convey the proud heritage and important stories of individuals and families throughout the region.

The beloved Chumash gallery, an essential field trip stop for 3rd- and 4th- grade students throughout Ventura County, has been transformed into a more vibrant and educational environment with the installation of large-scale graphics, authentic artifacts and interactive stations providing hands-on experiences for kids.  This re-invigorates the museum’s popular education program, led by a devoted Docent Council, which serves nearly 5,000 schoolchildren per year.

A new interactive gallery called “Is it Art?” brings forth some of the more unusual items from the collection and invites visitors into a collective discussion of what constitutes a work of art. 


The Museum of Ventura County, located in historic downtown Ventura at 100 E. Main Street, was founded in 1913.  Its first home was in the County Courthouse building, now Ventura’s City Hall.

The museum’s collection of artifacts began with pioneer Cephas Bard, a doctor who accepted Chumash baskets, trinkets and personal items from indigenous patients in lieu of payment for his services. Bard was a beloved doctor from Pennsylvania who relocated to the California Coast with his brother Thomas, who became a U.S. Senator from California.

The collection has grown to over 31,000 artifacts, which includes Chumash-era objects and implements, as well examples of contemporary clothing, ephemera, fine art and photography from the past century. The Museum of Ventura County’s collection reflects life in Ventura County, and includes items from every city in the County.

One of the most well-known features of the Museum is its renowned Research Library, housing a collection of more than 150,000 documents, books, maps and historic photographs and periodicals.

Museum of Ventura County to Close Galleries Temporarily through December 2016

The Museum of Ventura County, which houses the region’s oldest and most comprehensive collection of documents, maps, and historical artifacts, will briefly close its downtown Ventura galleries (at 100 E. Main St.) in order to design and install a new exhibition on Ventura County history. Its Research Library will remain open during this period, as will the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula. Some of the museum’s special programs, such as Free First Sundays for Families and popular community events, including the traditional Dia de los Muertos celebration in November, will still be held at the museum during this time. The Museum galleries will re-open and public programming will resume in early January.

In addition to newly remodeled exhibition space depicting the history of Ventura County, more of the museum’s exceptional art collection will be displayed throughout the facility. New educational exhibits will be installed at the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula as well.

This decision stems from the board’s desire to highlight the quality and depth of the museum’s collection on an ongoing basis, and to reach out and engage with Ventura County residents about the museum’s mission and purpose.

For more information, visit or call 805.653.0323.

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit at Museum of Ventura County Celebrates Asian American History

Vietnam refugees (photo courtesy of U.S. Department of the Navy)

Vietnam refugees (photo courtesy of U.S. Department of the Navy)

Asian and Pacific Americans make up more than 5 percent of the U.S. population—more than 17 million people—and those numbers are growing. Their ancestral roots represent more than 50 percent of the world, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia.

In commemoration of this important history, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story” will open at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main Street, Ventura, on Saturday, June 18th as part of a 21-city national tour. “I Want the Wide American Earth” was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In this first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across a multitude of diverse cultures and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of the nation’s history. “I Want the Wide American Earth” tells the rich and complex stories of the very first Asian immigrants, including their participation in key moments in American history: Asian immigrants panned in the Gold Rush, hammered ties in the Transcontinental Railroad, fought on both sides in the Civil War and helped build the nation’s agricultural system.

Through the decades, Asian immigrants struggled against legal exclusion, civil rights violations and unlawful detention, such as the 120,000 Japanese who were interred during World War II. Since the 1960s, vibrant new communities, pan-Asian, Pacific Islander and cross-cultural in make-up, have blossomed.

The Ventura County presentation will be enhanced by artifacts, photos and documentary materials drawn from its own collection and from local residents.  These items will tell the stories of and celebrate the rich heritage of the Asian-American populations in the Central Coast region.

The banner exhibition is complemented by an e-book, which is a 14-page illustrated adaption of the exhibition. Produced in collaboration with SI Universe Media, creators of the first-ever Asian Pacific American comics anthology, the e-book will tell the Asian Pacific American story in graphic narrative, featuring work by seven Asian Pacific American comic artists. The e-book is free to download and viewable on all tablet devices and e-readers.

The exhibit also features a free mobile tour app (available on the App Store under “Wide Earth”), which includes interviews with authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Monique Truong; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta; Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng; activist Deepa Iyer; and U.S. retired major general Antonio Taguba.

Curated by Lawrence-Ming Bùi Davis, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Initiative coordinator, “I Want the Wide American Earth” is a moving, dramatic and evocative narrative of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

The Museum of Ventura county’s presentation of this national exhibition was made possible by the generous support of Susan Van Abel and Eric Oltmann, Tolman & Wiker, and the Downtown Ventura Organization.

Dinosaur Fossils Exhibit at California Oil Museum in Santa Paula Sept 26 to Jan 24

Skull (Cast) of a Velociraptor (Velociraptor mongeoliensis).  Actual size of the late Cretaceous dinosaur.  Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China. 

Skull (Cast) of a Velociraptor (Velociraptor mongeoliensis).  Actual size of the late Cretaceous dinosaur.  Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China. 

Don’t miss the California Oil Museum’s newest exhibit of fearsome fossils that will take you back to when dinosaurs dominated the planet. Experience that primordial time on earth and learn how these massive beasts lived and died. Come and see actual fossils of T. Rex, Triceratops and Pterodactyls and many more! Included in the exhibit is a replica field excavation site showing how Paleontologists dig up these ancient bones. On Opening day only (September 26th) be sure to join us for exciting family fun junior paleontology activities including unearthing fossils, identifying your find, and creating a fossil cast you can take home.

The exhibit will also include a Color Your Dino station and the movie Dinosaur 13 which documents the story of “Sue”, the most complete T. Rex fossil ever found.

The California Oil Museum is located at 1001 East Main Street in Santa Paula.  Hours are Wednesday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.  Admission is FREE: Suggested donation is $4.  Digging Up The Past opens September 26th, 2015 and runs to January 24th, 2016. For more information call 805-933-0076 or visit

From Jurassic to the Cretaceous, Dinosaurs were the dominate species on Earth. It was during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that led to the demise of this diverse and amazing group of animals that are the ancestors of many animals we see today. As currently known, all dinosaurs belong to one of two major groups, the saurischians and the ornithischians. From the onset of their long evolutionary history, ornithischians and saurischians already show the features characteristic of these groups. Ornithischians, like the Edmontosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus, comprise a series of plant-eating dinosaurs such as the armored stegosaurs and ankylosaurs, the duckbills and their kin, and the horned and dome-headed dinosaurs. Saurischians include the meat-eating theropods (the renowned Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor among them) and the plant-eating sauropodomorphs (such as the gigantic Apatosaurus). With the discovery of a large deposit of fossils in the 1990’s in China, feathered dinosaurs became much more understood. Many new species were documented and new fossil evidence shows a number of non-avian dinosaurs are now known to have been feathered, such as the Velociraptor, thrilling the scientific world. 

“Terrible Lizards” they are not—instead they represent a separate group of reptiles that did not exhibit characteristics traditionally seen as reptilian such as their posture.  Once to have thought to be sluggish and cold-blooded research has indicated that all dinosaurs were active animals with elevated metabolisms.

Since the early 19th century dinosaurs have been major attractions at museums around the world and collectors worldwide have coveted their bones.  Monstrous and fantastic, these animals have inspired the imagination of many books and films such as the well-known movie Jurassic Park.  Scientific enthusiasm has resulted in significant funding and new discoveries are regularly redefining the world of dinosaurs.

Commemorative Air Force SoCal Wing Constructing New Hangar Complex as Part of Expansion

Existing CAF Hangar at Camarillo Airport

Existing CAF Hangar at Camarillo Airport

Construction is underway on a new, 32,800 sq. ft. hangar complex, part of a multimillion dollar plan by the Commemorative Air Force Wing to develop a modern WWII aviation museum that will attract more U.S. and world visitors to Ventura County wanting to see its historical archives and flying fighter, bomber, training, and other aircraft on display.

The Wing has run out of space in the current CAF complex, built 14 years ago, consisting ofa maintenance/restoration hangar, and adjoining museum/and event hangar.

Concrete has been poured around the exterior perimeter of the new hangar building including the big foundation pads where the main steel beam framework will be bolted into place. Once all the foundation cement and flooring is poured and cures, then attaching the steel sections begins.

The new hangar was engineered, manufactured and specifically designed by Butler Buildings to fit adjacent to the present western side of the CAF property.

One key element of the expansion plan is a CAF wing 30-year leasing agreement with the Department of Airports. It insures the aviation museum complex will remain at Camarillo Airport for years to come.

The agreement also involves a lease-land swap with Camarillo Chapter 723 of the Experimental Aircraft Association. It wanted to give up its land, old office building and hangars next door to the CAF. In the exchange, the E.A.A. gets new offices, a new hangar and is leasing facilities in the new CAF Complex. The old E.A.A. buildings were torn down and foundations removed.

The new Hangar complex provides the Wing with much needed space for parking and displaying aircraft and museum historical artifacts.

Ultimately this will be a new state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled indoor two-story aviation museum with all new exhibits, a theater, digital video areas, a restaurant with an outdoor viewing area of the museum and hangar complex and a new gift shop.

More information at