Critters Abound This Summer With SoCal Museums’ New Creature Crawl!

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

This summer is about to get a lot more exciting! Starting June 15, 2019, kids and families can explore explore all the real and imaginary animals that will be on view in exhibitions this summer at the Getty Center, Los Angeles Zoo, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and Skirball Cultural Center.

You and your kids 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. Then you upload your creations to www.socalmuseums.org and win prizes for your work at the end of the summer by September 2, 2019.


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.


On view at Creature Crawl museums this summer:


Getty Center

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

Through August 18, 2019

Getty.edu | @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.org | @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

NHM.org/dinos | @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

Tarpits.org/mammoths | 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.org | @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.


Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Prehistoric Forest

Through September 2, 2019

Sbnature.org | @SBNature


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.org/noahs-ark | @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.

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