The NHM Next campaign is transforming the Museum into one of the coolest destinations in Southern California. Want to get involved in our final phase?
Citizen Science Manager Lila Higgins is tracking the latest and greatest developments in the Museum’s new outdoor habitat, the Nature Gardens!
View Lila's Blog
A 3½-acre urban habitat is sprouting up in the Natural History Museum's frontyard. In it, visitors can track species with our scientists, spot hummingbirds and butterflies, take nature walks, learn to garden, get their hands dirty, or wander through the lush greenery that is all too rare in Los Angeles.
The Nature Gardens are transforming the Museum into an indoor-outdoor destination unlike any other in the U.S. The Nature Gardens are set to open as part of the Museum's centennial celebrations in June 2013, but a few elements of the exhibit are now open to the public.
Visitors to the Nature Gardens can now skirt the Museum's Urban Edge, where nature meets the street, and watch a butterfly fill up on nectar plants. They can stroll through the history of the Los Angeles landscape in the Transition Garden, which features native plants, and then takes visitors through a quick journey of how the landscape has changed: olive trees brought to L.A. by Spanish missionaries, for example, and mediterranean plants brought with the advent of water. The Living Wall that hugs the Entry Plaza at the Museum's north entrance is the place to find spiders, and possibly lizards, living in the stone cracks. School groups and others can take outings in the Erika J. Glazer Family Home Garden to pick up tips on planting a vegetable garden at home or at school. A step into the 1913 garden and visitors can already see carefully selected pollinating plants in bloom and attracting a variety of winged creatures.
The route to the Museum's Nature Gardens will soon get, appropriately, a little greener. Visitors can jump on the Expo Line. The light rail station stops just steps from the Museum's front door.
Museum visitors are already working with NHM scientists on exciting Nature Gardens projects. Los Angeles County is home to more bird species than any other place and volunteers have helped our scientists track more than 168 bird species in Exposition Park. Museum's citizen projects will extend throughout the city as well, with school outreach and field trips. Museum staff will post images of species, social media submissions, experiment results and surveys online and on the photo walls of the Nature Lab, the Nature Gardens' indoor component, which opens in June 2013.
Learn more about what creatures are up to in Nature Gardens on our Nature Gardens blog.
To create this metamorphosis, the Museum the in-house Museum team (including curators, collections staff, educators, and exhibits staff) partnered with an energetic and talented team, including Don Webb of the Cordell Corporation, Jorge de la Cal, AIA, of CO Architects, Matt Construction, and Mia Lehrer + Associates. All are California-based firms. Cordell Corporation is a privately held management firm specializing in the development, renovations and management of major public projects. CO Architects’ cultural work includes historical renovations of NHM’s 1913 Building — and new designs for libraries, civic centers, museums, and performing arts centers. The Matt Construction team's experience covers a broad range of professional services, from consulting and feasibility studies, to the complete design, engineering and construction expertise to fully implement a project. MLA has earned a reputation for integrating design with engagement in order to create sites that a community can embrace.