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The Natural History Museum

Baby in stroller looks up, natural history museum exhibit in the background

Looking for a place to rent in Los Angeles this summer? If you’re already a resident, then you know what the city has to offer when it comes to summer fun. If not, though, you might want the lowdown on what sorts of activities are happening in LA when those warm summer nights are beckoning everyone to the outdoors.

We might not be able to cover every option in one post, but there is one very particular thing to do, the Summer Nights in the Garden, that may be worth your while.

Just what is this event about and what will you need to do to make the most of it? That’s exactly what we intend to dive into today, as we explore one of the most mirthful summer happenings that Los Angeles has to offer.

What You Need to Know About the Summer Nights

The name alone reveals only a bit. You might have already gleaned that the event takes place during the summer, and at night (both true) and that the mysterious “gardens” will be the location. What you might not have been able to pick up was that those summer nights are four very particular dates in the months of June, July and August. You can still catch the events on July 27th and August 10th.

These are all Fridays, you’ll note, and each of the events will take place at 5:00PM. As for the location, it’s not just any run of the mill garden, it’s the Natural History Museum’s “back yard,” Exposition Park, and the Museum is transforming the area into a site of pure wonder:

“Spend your Friday night sipping a garden-infused cocktail, stumbling upon a myriad of outdoor experiences while exploring the Museum’s backyard, and brightening your life with nature-inspired take-home activities. Have a picnic or get a little lost in the gardens – all while the beats from live music performances set the mood.”

The list of activities for each “Summer Night” is as follows:

  • Flea Circus with NHMLA Performing Arts Staff
  • Colors of Califas with Sandy Rodriguez
  • Botanical Tours with NHMLA Garden Staff
  • Nature-inspired activities
  • Food trucks

That’s more than enough to attract almost anyone to the festivities. Let’s break down what we’ve got going on there, shall we?

You probably already know what a flea circus is, but you know that the Museum’s performing arts staff was well-versed in the particulars of running one? It’s a rather interesting take on the concept, and we won’t spoil just how they do it yet. Suffice to say, they’re a talented bunch, and you can learn more about these amazing performers by checking out the Museum’s Performing Arts page, which highlights their many talents.

Sandy Rodriguez is a name you may well have heard of before. The San Diego/Tijuana/Los Angeles-raised artist is well-known among the scene, having earned a BFA from the California Institute of Arts and exhibiting her stunning paintings both far and wide. Colors of Califas will grant a chance to check out the artist and her work, so if you’re a fan of vibrant imagery, you’ll definitely want to head down to Exhibition Park to take a gander.

The botanical tours, nature activities, and food trucks are all pretty self-explanatory, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be dull. You’ll have a chance to check out the Park during one of the most magical times of the year, and shall be well-rewarded for your efforts.

And don’t forget, the Summer Nights in the Garden also coincides with “extended hours at the California African American Museum (CAAM) between 5-7 pm on August 10.” You might also get a chance to check out the CAAM’s diverse galleries, and all the wondrous art that they hold. As the Museum puts it, this will be the perfect chance to view “subjective observations of the landscapes of Los Angeles and Miami before getting your groove on in the Nature Gardens.” What could be better?

As for the overall experience, you can catch a glimpse of what the park is like during the evening hours by checking out Kimbop TV’s excellent coverage of the June 29th Night at the Garden. It provides a rather informative overview of all that you’ll encounter during your visit, along with a great look at some of the wonderful food that those trucks will be serving up for your enjoyment. They entertainment and atmosphere are all sublime, but the show stealer may well be that delectable-looking chicken sandwich (if you’re an avowed foodie, that is!)

And before we forget, here are some of the general details you’ll need to remember to make sure you can get down to the Garden and have a great time. The address for the Museum is 900 Exposition Boulevard, and the Park is right there in the vicinity, near the LA Memorial Coliseum. You can see the top-down view here, on Google Maps.

Admission to the event is free. Just remember to RSVP two weeks before the date you plan on attending. Just one note on access to the park, though:

“For NHMLA programs that are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early.”

You’ve been warned: this is going to be a popular time for getting to the park, so be sure make your preparations well in advance so you can enjoy everything they have to offer.

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