The South Bay area of Greater Los Angeles has unique family exhibits and activities as part of their museums. Once considered dusty old buildings to be endured until your parents were done browsing, today’s South Bay museums offer interesting things for kids to do and see.
Families can spend an enriching day or afternoon inside these vibrant learning centers.
Banning Museum is housed in the former mansion built in 1864. The building has been meticulously restored. It is a tribute to the decorating and architecture of the Victorian period. It is situated on a twenty-acre plot. Other buildings on the grounds include a one-room school and a stagecoach barn. The hour-long tour takes visitors through the mansion, the stagecoach barn and the “improbable gate”. For more information click on http://www.banningmuseum.org.
The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum is the only remaining army building in California. Once a training and supply location, this Los Angeles museum is a treasure trove of historical items and information about the civil war. Guided tours take visitors through the courtyard, the library, the armory, the barracks room, the officers’ bedroom, and the technological advances room. The museum brings history to life with special events like Civil War enactment days, Fort MacArthur Days and Huntington Beach reenactment days.
At the International Printing Museum in South Bay shows kids how things were prepared and printed before the days of the computer and the laser printer. An hour-long tour lets the kids watch demonstrations and even try their hand at printing on such old machinery as a Gutenberg Press replica. Because the tours are so popular, it is wise to call ahead. Visitors should also remember to dress appropriately. Printing is a dirty business!
If you’ve never been inside a lighthouse, don’t miss the museum adjacent to the Point Vicente lighthouse. The natural history interpretive center first opened in 1984 has been greatly expanded.
Make time for whale watching while you are there. It is the perfect spot for it. Volunteers from the American Cetacean Society conduct a daily count of whales passing through Catalina Channel. They will be delighted to answer questions about the whales and the Pacific Ocean.
Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the grounds. This museum is filled with information about the landforms, flora, and fauna of the area.