With the new school year in session, we've started a new project in my household. Every Wednesday for the past 3 weeks, after picking my son up from Kindergarten, the two of us have driven downtown to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Our mission: TO DRAW ANIMALS!
This has been loads of fun for me, and hopefully somewhat amusing for my son! The museum here in Los Angeles isn't as huge and comprehensive as the one I grew up with in New York, but it's not bad. My son really loves it,and used to visit practically every weekend. He even did a few weeks of summer camp there last year. However, until we started our new project, we haven't spent much time there of late.
So here's what we're doing: After spending some time wandering around, looking at the exhibits for the umpteenth time, we pick a few animals, and we each do a drawing. I also ask him to write the name of the animal, and sometimes a fact or two, like "lives in Kenya" or "Eats bugs." It's been fun to see what he comes up with and, obviously, good practice for his writing skills.
Here are two of today's sketches. An ostrich...
...and a chimpanzee...
Now, I think my ostrich is pretty good, but clearly his chimp beats mine, hands down. Isn't it awesome?
I really like drawing from those stuffed animals in the big dioramas. They are, of course, perfectly still models! You can't ask for better! Those rooms are so quiet and peaceful. At least, they are on Wednesday afternoons. In fact, the whole place is dead! Make me worry about the museum's future and the state of our youth in general, but at the same time, I really appreciate having the place to ourselves.
Right now, the museum is being renovated so some of the halls are closed. Also, it seems, the entire area around Exposition Park is under construction. They are doubling the size of the neighboring science museum and, I believe, they are reconstructing the light-rail system in the area. So parking is a huge pain. No street parking AT ALL, so visitors are forced to lay down $6 per car. Luckily, we're members of the museum, so parking is the only cost. In any case, the results have been well worth the trouble. As an activity to share with a child, I recommend it highly.