I love Disneyland and have been there about 30 times in my life. I'm probably good without another visit until there are grandkids to share it with. Since coasters now make me ill (sad because I was a huge fan), Magic Mountain won't be seeing me again. We see the beach a few times a year.
The rest of it? No excuse. None. I'm retired, I can go see stuff! Maybe it was the cooler temps last week, or school being back in, but I starting thinking about being a tourist in my own town (county, region, area). While I have seen much of what there is, there are some great places I haven't seen in decades or ever.
Tuesday was my first outing. Next to the L.A. Zoo, at the edge of Griffith Park, is the Autry National Center of the American West, also known as the Museum of the American West, OR the Western Heritage Museum. Geez - it's not that big!
|A delightful museum of many names|
Arriving just after opening at 10:30 I figured to have the place pretty much to myself, which I did. Except for the three Fourth Grade classes already in the downstairs gathering room :-( There was plenty for me to see upstairs, and they very quickly quieted down as they broke into small groups, each with their own docent. It was delightful to overhear their questions at different exhibits, and to see them mostly engaged in what they were being taught.
|I thought this was a good place to start - lots of fun and unique information about the historic old highway|
|RVing in the 1960's - love the high chair and women in skirts!|
|From the television show "Route 66"|
I spent nearly four hours, including a leisurely (and very good) lunch on the patio. All of the upstairs galleries are changed out twice a year, but I did recognize a few of the permanent exhibits downstairs. There is an extensive collection of western movie memorabilia from the 1940's and 1950's, including a large section on the singing cowboys like Roy Rogers and the museum's namesake, Gene Autry.
|Chronology of western moviedom - Wild West Show to Brokeback Mountain|
All of the information is very detailed, and offered in a variety of ways: signage, videos, audios, hands-on. There are at least three exhibits that kids can play dress-up, or sit on a "horse", or see themselves riding in a video with movie cowboys. Some of them are not restricted by size, so kids of any age can play :-)
The special exhibit of Native American beadwork is incredible. The leather of these 150+ year old gloves was nearly worn through, but the beading was still perfect.
I was just as delighted to see that this beautiful tradition is being carried on today, in numerous tribes and traditions. This bag was completed by a young Cherokee woman. It took her four months. The detail was exquisite.
|Necklace of grizzly bear claws - a symbol of great bravery|
|Fully restored chuckwagon|
|Army rifle from Wounded Knee - carved with a half moon, the symbol of the warrior who killed the soldier|
|Large sculpture of Crazy Horse in the outdoor area|
|Intricate engraving, ivory carvings, detailed leather work - the firearms exhibit is an art gallery|
|Displays tell the story of the cowboy|
|Selfie in Chinese mask in one of many play areas|
When I was five or six, and living in the desert, my mother drove me to 29 Palms every other Saturday for ballet lessons. On a narrow two-lane road that very few others traveled, we passed by small cabins with no electricity and no source of water. Many were abandoned even back then. Imagine my surprise to find a display about this unique area - and to learn that many have claimed the homesteads and are rebuilding the isolated community. There is one wall of cabin photos, and the new residents are pictured along the back wall. Kind of mixed feelings about finding places from my own past in a museum (already).
|A small room detailing a place from my own history|
There were still a couple hours before I could pick Bill up from work (poor guy) so I headed for the Griffith Observatory on the other side of the park. Figured I could catch a quick tour, take some pictures of the L.A. Basin, and see more of Griffith Park. I guess one-out-of-three is better than none.
The drought damage is fairly extensive in this wilderness-inside-the-second-largest-city-in-the-country, known as Griffith Park. Still, it is a beautiful area with lots of trees and places to picnic, hike, bike and play with the kids and dogs. Lots of people were out - especially for a Tuesday afternoon at the end of September. And a whole bunch of them were at the observatory - like parked down the hill for a mile and walking up through the full parking lot to get there! It was crazy. I didn't see any sign of a special event, so maybe it is always that busy now.
|I was really there!|
|So was everybody else!|
|The grand observer in the very dry hills|
|Los Angeles skyline through the haze|
After catching a few pics from the car (to prove I really did observe it), I headed down the other side to complete the loop. It was a hazy day in the basin (some would say it always is, but I have seen the exceptions), and the downtown skyline looked a bit ghostly as I caught glimpses of it while I descended.
In addition to all of the attractions within the park, there are residences as well. Mostly built in the 1950's, the variety of architecture between the old growth trees adds another layer of visual delight for me. There is literally no street parking so it's a drive-through activity by necessity. I could spend hours driving the main, and side, streets just looking at the houses and landscaping. However I chose to avoid the private security being notified of a Jeep "casing the place", and being escorted back to the freeway :-)
|Hundreds of old-growth trees|
So I didn't spend a lot of time enjoying that........which got me back to Burbank to pick up Bill a little early. It didn't seem to bother him :-) and it was a great end to a really great day.
If you're still in your sticks and bricks home, itching to get out there on the road and see all that wonderful stuff - I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the time you have left in your hometown, and go be a tourist!
Next up? The Getty Museum!