The Guide to Exposition Park in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Photo courtesy of FYF Fest, Facebook

Located just south of Downtown Los Angeles, Exposition Park is home to a world-class collection of museums, sports facilities and recreational areas. Exposition Park also offers diverse cultural, entertainment and educational activities. The 160-acre site was founded as Agricultural Park in 1872 and subsequently renamed Exposition Park in 1910. The park has since become one of L.A.’s premier cultural and special event destinations.

“Wishing On a Star” by Charles Dickson, entrance to CAAM | Photo courtesy of Kansas Sebastian, Flickr

California African American Museum

Located in the eastern end of Exposition Park, the California African American Museum (CAAM) exists to research, collect, preserve and interpret the history, art and culture of African Americans. Opened during the 1984 Summer Olympics, the museum conserves more than 3,500 objects of art, historical artifacts and memorabilia. CAAM maintains a research library with more than 20,000 books and other reference materials that are available for limited public use. Target Sundays at CAAM is a monthly celebration of the diverse influences and achievements of art and culture from the African American Diaspora, as seen and heard through the eyes and voices of traditional and contemporary artists, community leaders, cultural historians, activists and educators.

Space Shuttle Endeavour | Photo by Leroy Hamilton, courtesy of California Science Center

California Science Center

The California Science Center is the West Coast’s largest hands-on science center. The facility spans more than 400,000 square feet and includes four major exhibit areas - World of Life, Creative World, Ecosystems, and the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Housed in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, the Endeavour is one of four orbiters to go on permanent display after the conclusion of the Space Shuttle program.

Exposition Park Rose Garden

Located across the street from USC, the seven-acre Exposition Park Rose Garden was built in 1927 and features more than 20,000 rose bushes representing over 200 varieties. In 1936, four large marble statues by Danish sculptor Thyra Boldsen were installed on pedestals at the four corners of the garden. The statues were titled "Nymph Finding Pipes of Pan," "The Blessing,” "The Start" and "Terpsichore" (or "Melody of Life"). Its gazebos, statues and central fountain make the sunken garden a popular picnic, wedding and photography destination. The Exposition Park Rose Garden was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Opened in June 1923, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the largest football stadium in the Pac-12 conference and is the home field of the USC Trojans. The Coliseum will be the home stadium of the Los Angeles Rams for the 2016-18 seasons. The stadium has hosted decades of historic sports and special events, including the 1959 World Series (the Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2), Super Bowl I (1967), Super Bowl VII (the 1973 Miami Dolphins perfect season), the Wattstax music festival, Evel Knievel’s 50-car jump, and numerous concerts by some of the biggest names in music. On March 29, 2008, an exhibition game at the Coliseum between the Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox drew 115,300 fans and set a Guinness Book World Record for attendance at a baseball game that is unlikely to be broken. The Coliseum was the first stadium in history to host the Olympic Games twice, in 1932 and 1984. Other historic events include Billy Graham’s 1963 appearance in front of 134,254 (still an all-time Coliseum record), Nelson Mandela’s 1990 triumphant return to the United States, the first-ever Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II in 1987, and the 1976 Bicentennial Spectacular. The Coliseum was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1984.

Becoming Los Angeles | Photo: Cinnabar California Inc., Facebook

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) houses one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history - more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. In July 2013, NHM opened Becoming Los Angeles, a 14,000 square-foot exhibition that explores the growth of Los Angeles over the course of five centuries. An abundance of Instagram shots are available to museum visitors, including the 63-foot whale skeleton at the entrance; the Walter Horace Judson stained-glass skylight; the world's only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series, located in Dinosaur Hall; and Nature Gardens, a 3.5-acre urban wilderness.