Got 75 cents? How would you like to spend a day at a world class museum, with transportation from Long Beach included. Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but Rich Pix just did and it was an amazing adventure.
Granted it took some legwork to prepare for our cheap adventure, but it was worth it. We began last Friday by traveling to the Long Beach Transit Center to apply for TAP senior discount cards.
They gave us temporary senior transit cards that give us reduced fares on buses and trains throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. We ride the Long Beach buses for 60 to .75 cents, as well as the Metro for only 35 cents off peak!
We started today by parking at the Willow Metro Station on Long Beach Boulevard. This modern parking garage has lots of parking for Metro patrons. Best of all its free and right next to the station.
Then we waited until 9 a.m. for off peak rates for seniors on the Metro Blue Line, when the usual 75 cent fare drops to only 35 cents. An amazing ride to downtown Los Angeles for under two bits.
I had never been on a Metro train before and I found it clean and safe, as we sped north to LA. Even the transfer from the Blue Line to the new Expo Line is included two hours from when you tap your TAP card.
Really, it took less than an hour to go from Long Beach to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum! And the train stop next to U.S.C. is right next to the museum!
We had already gotten our tickets for free admission online. So we scooted past the long line and waltzed into the E-ticket counter with NO wait! Awesome!
The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month except July and August. The next free Museum admission will be every Tuesday in September. Your next chance is in September, thanks Wells Fargo!
Be sure to reserve tickets in advance to guarantee museum entry and to skip the line, which can be long on these days. Get Tickets
Free Museum admission does not include specialty ticketed items, such as these special exhibitions; but, you can use the money you saved on admission to get into them!
Inside, I scurried over to the Hall of Mammals, while we waited for the 1 p.m. free tour. This is the museum I remembered with lions, water buffalo and elephant posed in their natural habitats.
Our tour guide later led us back to this African adventure, where she shared wonderful facts and stories about these legendary animals. Did you know a rhinoceros’ horns was made from the same material as our fingernails? Go figure!
Unfortunately, the hall was filled with screaming kids, so it was hard to hear our tour guide. And the resounding cacophony drove us away from the tour group.
We found ourselves wandering through the gem and mineral hall, where I was fascinated by the gold nugget shaped like a bear. How appropriate for the Golden State which was largely founded on the wealth of the Gold Rush at Sutter’s Mill.
But I had never seen all the beautiful gems and minerals which came in every color of the rainbow. Loved the geolites and other crystal formations. The meteorites from Mars were really something!
Our photographer, Craig, reminisced about growing up in Long Beach as we strolled through the Founding of Los Angeles exhibit. He was enthralled by the historic gas car made in LA.
I liked the photos of Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Lucille Ball that illustrated the film and television industries founded in Los Angeles. As well as the aviation history that is so much a part of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Of course, we had to see the all-new, 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall that is twice the size of the Museum’s old dinosaur galleries. And I must say it was a job well done!
It rivals the world’s leading dinosaur halls for the number of individual fossils displayed, the size and spectacular character of the major mounts, including the world’s only Tyrannosaurus Rex growth series.
It showed a 3 year old, 10 year old and 17 year old dinosaur. My what big teeth they have!
In these spacious, light-filled galleries, visitors will encounter science not as static information but as a vibrant, ongoing investigation into mysteries — some resolved and some still being explored.
I was surprised by the size of the dinosaurs. They seemed smaller from what I remembered, but it’s probably just my size having grown up!
There was also a wonderful tour offered at 2 p.m. on the dinosaurs.
Sir Rich may be old, but I know a tremendous bargain when I see one. Please join us as we visit the wonderful museums and gardens in Southern California. They are a treasure that don’t cost a fortune to enjoy in your golden years.