When the summer heat really kicks in, Angelenos flock to water or air conditioning. When you’re not in the mood to wrangle wet suits, a museum visit is just the ticket. Combine that cool air with art, education and hands-on fun! These incredible exhibits will keep you and the kids busy and cool the whole summer long.


photo credit: LeTania Kirkland

Discovery Cube Los Angeles

Animal Grossology
Sure animals can be cute and cuddly on the outside, but what about the inside? In this exhibit, little biologists will learn about the biological processes or “grossology” of the animal world with interactive games and hands-on activities to really make the lesson stick. See the four different colors of blood and compete in a quiz to determine which colors belong to which animals. Take a look inside a cow and watch all four parts of the stomach do their thing. Learn why a papa frog belches his babies to life. For the non-squeamish, step into the penguin’s ice house to examine piles of poo and take a guess which animal left it. This exhibit is full of interesting facts that you may never have guessed (or wanted to know) and is fun for everyone.
Runs through September 7, 2015


photo credit: LeTania Kirkland

Clifford the Big Red Dog
If someone in your family is nuts about Clifford the Big Red (and lovable) dog, this is worth the stop. The exhibit is located in the Cube Jr. Early Learner’s Zone and is geared toward those 5 & under. Enter the exhibit and step into Clifford’s home, Birdwell Island, and the imaginative world of Clifford author and illustrator, Norman Bridwell. This interactive play space is complete with a ferry to usher the kids into the island, Clifford’s dog house and Emily Elizabeth’s backyard theater where kids can dress up like their favorite Clifford characters and dance the day away with a Clifford music video as a backdrop. The exhibit is based on Clifford’s big ideas like sharing, playing fair, and working together, and each station reinforces these themes. Be sure to stop by the Norman Bridwell art retrospective to learn more about the man who created this family classic.
Runs through September 7, 2015
Admission: $10

Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd.
Online: discoverycube.org/la


photo credit: LeTania Kirkland

California African American Museum

Flash Tag
One of the beauties of Los Angeles our amazing street art. Flash Tag takes this unique form and brings it into a gallery setting. CAAM commissioned four crews of “graffiti” artists to adorn the walls of an empty gallery. But there was one catch: instead of aerosol paints, artists were asked to take up a brush to bring the walls to life. Step in with the family to take in the vibrant space filled with everything from familiar icons like James Brown to conceptual words and images.
Runs through August 2, 2015
Admission: Free

California African American Museum
600 State Dr., Exposition Park
Online: caamuseum.org


photo credit: Darryl Moran/The Franklin Institute

California Science Center

Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition
Step back into time and discover one of the most significant archaeological finds of our time. The Dead Sea Scrolls were documents written and hidden in caves over 2,000 years ago and discovered in 1947. This fascinating collection is the largest Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition outside of Israel and includes over 600 artifacts and sections from 10 of the Dead Sea Scrolls. You and the kids can wind your way through this dimly lighted room filled with beautifully lit documents and artifacts. It feels like walking into a hidden vault of treasures. There are also interactive stations where your little explorers can write in Hebrew and and Greek, reconstruct broken pottery and learn all about the techniques of dating and preserving these ancient gems. Get our tips about bringing kids to the exhibit in our detailed guide.

Jerusalem 3D
If the exhibit isn’t enough, you also have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the city of Jerusalem on the big screen. Experience stunning aerial footage, personal interviews, cultural rituals and history that tells a story about this historically significant land.
Runs through September 7, 2015
Admission: Kids 4-12 are $12.75, Adults are $19.75 For exhibition & IMAX combo: Kids 4-12 are $16.25, Adults are $26.

California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr.
Online: californiasciencecenter.org

Jimi Hendrix

photo credit: Skirball Cultural Center

Skirball Cultural Center

Bill Graham and the Rock n Roll Revolution
Run, don’t walk, to bring little music lovers to this exhibition! And if your kids have yet to discover the wonders of Rock n’ Roll, this is a great way to introduce them. The retrospective covers the life of legendary music impresario and concert promoter Bill Graham who propelled the careers of noted rockers such as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Graham was also the creator of benefit concerts like Live Aid and Human Rights Now! The exhibition includes hundreds of pieces of memorabilia that include psychedelic concert posters, photographs, instruments (see a piece of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar) and costumes. Kids can stop at the music stations, put on the headphones and soak in some great music. Or the whole family can step in the a mini theater complete with classics songs and a light show that is like stepping directly into a lava lamp. This exhibit is not to be missed.
Runs through October 11, 2015


photo credit: LeTania Kirkland

The Singing Posters: Poetry Sound Collage Sculpture Book
This piece is a perfect combo for the family: vibrant colors and images for the kids to absorb and the words of famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg for parents. Allen Ruppersberg created the installation, which is based on Ginsberg’s poem “Howl.” Ginsberg’s words are transcribed phonetically and printed on brightly colored commercial concert posters. Think Sunset Boulevard condensed into one room. This is the perfect companion to Bill Graham.
Runs through August 23, 2015


photo credit: LeTania Kirkland

Rock & Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip
To bring everything full circle, be sure to step into the Skirball’s community space for this exhibit, which features over 20 photographs of hand-painted billboards that graced the Sunset Strip. The photographs tell a story of a 20 year era when the L.A. rock scene was at its peak. From The Beatles to Marvin Gaye, this is a grand scale lesson in music greatness for the kids.


photo credit: LeTania Kirkland

In keeping with the theme, the Skirball has created a 70’s style “living room” for the kids to romp around in. Step inside and take a seat on the vintage couch (it will make you want to head straight to a flea market, or maybe just flee, depending on your 70’s recollections) while the kid’s explore the wonders that are tinker toys, view finders (complete with Flinstones themed slides) and Connect Four. If that wasn’t enough, there is a basket filled to the brim with 70’s vintage wear and a music corner for the kids to start their own garage band.

And, in keeping with the Bill Graham theme, the Skirball is hosting “A Musical Road Trip Through America” every Saturday and Sunday afternoon featuring music that spans the country from Latin Hip Hop to Honky Tonk. Check the schedule and make it a part of your visit.

Admission: Kids 2-12 are $5, Adults are $10.

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Online: skirball.org


photo credit: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s Birthday
Come visit and say “Happy Birthday” to LACMA, which turns 50 this year. And for such a momentous occasion, a variety of donors have gifted the museum with 50 new pieces (that will eventually be housed in a new LACMA building). Bring mini Monets to see work from the likes of Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas and Andy Warhol. The pieces are mostly drawn from the 1870’s through the 1930’s, which was a time of radical shifts in the art world. Step in and see these new (to LACMA) beauties up close.
Runs through September 13, 2015

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 photo credit: Fredrik Nilsen

Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada
If your family hasn’t heard of Noah Purifoy’s work, this is a great introduction. Purifoy was an artist based in LA and Joshua Tree and one of the founding members of the Watts Towers Arts Center. His first sculpture was formed from burned debris from the Watts Rebellion in 1965 and is entitled 66 Signs of Neon. Purifoy would go on to create many pieces of assemblage art that are at once whimsical, mystifying and grounding. The stunning works are sure to send your loves into question mode. Be prepared to answer the inevitable “Whats” and “Whys.”
Runs through September 27, 2015
Admission: Kids 17 and under free, Adults $15 or free with a NextGen Kid

Bonus: Take advantage of LACMA’s NexGen program. Kids 17 and under and one accompanying adult receive free admission to all permanent galleries and select temporary exhibitions.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Online: lacma.org

Sherlock Holmes_Guest

photo credit: Discover Cube

Discovery Cube Orange County

Sherlock Holmes
Got a mini-detective on your hands? This is your stop. First, the kids enter the exhibit to learn the basics about Sherlock Holmes, Sir Conan Doyle and forensic science. Next, find yourselves surrounded by imagery of London and step into the Baker Street Underground Station and into an International Science Exhibition where your gumshoes can learn a bit more about 1890’s innovations and participate in forensic science experiments. The fun continues when your detectives enter Sherlock and Watson’s sitting room and listen to a recording to help solve a real mystery. Kids can move through the “streets of London” and use the skills they’ve learned throughout the exhibit to solve a time sensitive case. And once they’ve completed their London adventure, step back into the present and soak in Sherlock pop culture from comics and magazines to movie and television props and costumes.
Runs through September 7, 2015
Admission: Kids 3-14 are $12.95 plus $5 for Sherlock, Adults are $17.95 plus $5 for Sherlock

Discovery Cube Orange County
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana
Online: discoverycube.org/oc

What’s your favorite museum for cool summer exhibits and activities?  We’d love to hear your tips in the comment section below.

—LeTania Kirkland