Tuesday, January 31, 2012

#225: The Skirball Cultural Center

Driving to work, I'd always hear the Skirball Center mentioned on the radio. I had no idea what it was, but the name sounds like Skeeter Ball, which made me think of arcades. Turns out, the only thing that Skeeter Ball and the Skirball have in common is that they're both fun for kids.

The Skirball Center is a museum and performance venue in one. It hosts music, comedy, film, talks and theater performances and also features exhibits and a cafe. Last weekend some of the museums in L.A. were having free admission, including the Skirball, so Brad and I checked it out.

Pearls of Wisdom: End the Violence

The Skirball's core exhibit is called Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America. It traces Judaism's roots all the way to life in America. The current rotating exhibit is called Women Hold Up Half the Sky which encourages visitors to take action on behalf of mistreated women and girls around the world.

Mosaic floor from an old temple

One thing that we didn't get to see which I was disappointed about was Noah's Ark, an interactive playground for kids. It was sold out when we got there. To avoid this, you can buy tickets online in advance.

Noah's Ark
pic from Familyigloo

A replica of the largest Jewish temple in Germany
Women Hold Up the Sky exhibit

Places to write notes to women in peril around the world

We enjoyed our tour of the Skirball, and I would definitely recommend it for families--It seemed that most people there had babies or kids in tow. The grounds are fairly large, and it is nice to walk around the buildings and admire the architecture. General Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and full time students, $5 for children 2 to 12, and free for children under 2.  Exhibits are free to the public on Thursdays.

Have you been to the Skirball Cultural Center? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Skirball Cultural Center

Friday, January 20, 2012

#224: Tide Pool Adventures

It's not often when the lowest tide of the month occurs on a weekend afternoon, but this weekend we're in luck. The low tide this Saturday and Sunday is -1.4 ft and occurs at 2:30 and 3 pm. Perfect!

Check out this handy tide chart for more details.

Point Dume in Malibu (#46) is a beautiful place to explore tide pools. These pictures are from our trip to Point Dume in November when the tide was at -1.4 ft. We saw starfish, limpets, anemones and hermit crabs galore.
At low tide we could see the exposed sea grass. Beautiful!

Other tide pool spots to check out:

Free Tide Pool Walks given by the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro (this Saturday and Sunday)

Tide Pools at Crystal Cove near Laguna Beach

Where are your favorite tide pools? Leave me a comment below!

Monday, January 9, 2012

#223: Vanalden Cave

Even though we were alone in Tarzana's Vanalden Cave, I couldn't shake the feeling that we were being watched. Of course, it didn't help that there were dozens of googly eyed faces peering out at us from the cave's sandstone walls:

Judging from the broken bottles and the ashes of a fireplace, this cave seems like a popular spot for a late night gathering. In the daytime, however, we were the only visitors. The walls of the cave are soft sandstone, so people have carved faces and messages all over the inside.

The hike to the cave is short--it takes roughly 30 minutes round trip. There are other trails to take if you want to extend your hike.  The trailhead to Vanalden Cave is located at the southern dead end of Vanalden Ave, near the intersection of Gleneagles Drive and Vanalden Ave. Street parking is plentiful and the trail is not crowded at all (we only saw one other group). 

The trail climbs steadily in the beginning. When we went this past weekend, there was a lot of pollen from these plants blowing around:

Not long into the hike we encountered a fork in the trail:

Take the left fork to see the cave. We encountered a group of people here who told us that the right fork leads to Mulholland Drive.

When you see this tree, follow the trail as it curves to the right. The cave is not far!

Here's the entrance to the cave. To get to the cave, there is a semi-steep descent from the trail. Also, notice how the top of the cave is flat. You can actually follow the trail on the right of the cave to walk around the top of the cave to peer down the holes. 

Here's the view from the top of the cave:

Watch where you step--it's a long way down through one of those holes!

 Views from inside the cave:

 Little plants living high in the cave walls:

Have you been to Vanalden Cave? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!