Having come from the metro DC area, where we took for granted the presence of the plethora of Smithsonians at our fingertips, I was so relieved to find that I'd still be able to give Ethan some exposure to the type of culture we'd left behind on the east coast. Yes, I can fully admit that before we moved out here, I was convinced that the West Coast was a vast waste-land of movie-star wannabes and surfer dudes and that my child's only option was going to be to learn how to surf or become a child star. I was an East Coast snob in terms of all things Left Coast.
Now that we'll be heading up to Northern California, as excited as I am by that prospect, I'm aware of what we're leaving behind. Amazing museums set on gorgeous hilltops with views of the city and the ocean. Kid-friendly, interactive exhibits that have thrilled Ethan over the past year. It's not easy to say goodbye to these things, although I'm sure we'll find options in the San Francisco Bay area, too. But I've decided that in this last month in LA, we're going to revisit the museums we've grown to love one more time.
To that end, on Monday, we decided to go to the Getty. The last time we attempted this, we spent an hour and a half in traffic (it is 5 miles from our house), staring at the plumes of smoke and spitting fire of a brush fire right off the highway, only yards from the museum. Needless to say, the museum was closed that day. Nothing makes regular old smoggy LA air even more palatable than a good brush fire.
mmm, good for the lungs!
So Monday we gave it another try. Told Ethan we were going to the Getty, popped him in the car and off we went. Beautiful day, no fires, all was well. We pulled into the Getty parking lot and were stopped by a security guard who informed us that the Getty is closed on Mondays. Clearly, the universe is attempting to keep us from getting to that museum.
Fine. The Skirball is just down the road. I made a big U-turn in the Getty entry way, all the while trying to respond to the eleventy billion "why??" questions being hurled at me from the back seat. Yes, friends, we've been thrown head-first into the age of "why??" And Ethan has mastered it in the most mind-numbing way. I've counted upwards of six "why?"'s in quick succession after every explanation offered. It's hard to get 6-deep into a series of "why?"s. Just so you know.
We got to the Skirball, pulled into the parking garage. The, um, empty parking garage. Turns out, the Skirball is also closed on Mondays. Apparently I've lived here for over a year without realizing that Mondays are strictly "NO CULTURE" days. Go figure.
Now I have a 3 year old in the back seat whose head is about to explode with the number of "WHY?" questions bouncing around in his brain, competing for vocalization. No Getty. No Skirball. WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY??????
I breathed deeply for the next several minutes as I went over my options in my head (and blocked out the steady stream of "why"s and whining coming from behind me). I'd promised the kid a museum. I had to come through. It was only Monday and it was only 1pm. That's a lot of hours in the day to fill once the bubble of glee has been burst by disappointment.
Then I remember that the LACMA (LA county museum of art) celebrates it's "NO CULTURE!" day on Wednesdays, which means it would be open on Monday! So, thirty minutes later we found ourselves downtown, immersed in culture and feeling good. There was an exhibit on Pompeii that I really wanted to see, but Ethan stumbled upon a really stellar display of hanging tupperware first. And that's where we stayed...
You thought I was joking when I said "hanging tupperware" didn't you? Nope. Not joking. This display was aptly called "Happy Happy", which Ethan clearly was. It wasn't exactly the artistic and culturally enriching exhibit I'd had in mind, and I spent much time gnashing my teeth as I followed Ethan's squealing and giggling sounds through the maze o' plastic, but it was one of those things that makes Ethan loves museums instead of say, video games. So it's all good.
I did eventually pull him away from the hanging vines of reclaimed IKEA-ware and we walked around the outside of the museum, which featured a street-light exhibit, the famous tar-pits (which stink like highway construction in 100 degree heat) and what I think is a pretty disturbing sculpture of mammoths stuck inside said tar pits.
Then he made me go back outside to the plastic party and the street light exhibit...
Not exactly anything Keats would be writing a stirring ode to...