Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium

By Jean Strauber Entertainment Editor

At Our Museums

Much is happening at our museums in Los Angeles County. In Newhall, a temporary exhibit with film items related to Oscar winners “Hugo” and “The Artist” will be on view until June 3rd. In Los Angeles at the Natural History Museum (NHM) the Butterfly Pavilion will open on April 8th. And more: On Saturday, March 17, the Natural History Museum is inviting all junior scientists to meet and learn about rare reptiles. They’ll learn about the hairy frog and the Spanish ribbed newt that uses its ribs as weapons, and the gliding lizards that can glide from tree to tree to escape predators.

The Curator will reach into his Curator’s Cupboard for strange and amazing reptiles and amphibians to share with your children during a behind-the-scenes tour of the NHM herpetology collection, which includes the extinct golden toad and the largest lizard of all, the Komodo dragon. The Natural History Museum is hosting on Sunday, March 25- Sustainable Sundays: World Water Day L.A. from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm museum visitors will meet organizations that are helping to protect Los Angeles’ sustainable water future and learn how to become a voice for water. It will be a day filled with fun activities and interactive displays for all ages. At the Page Museum, you and your family are invited to spend a night at the museum! The Overnight Adventures programs feature three to four rotations of fun and educational activities at night led by museum educators, a light snack in the evening and a light breakfast in the morning, museum patches for all participants, and an exciting and fun opportunity to spend a night in the museum, surrounded by fossils.

On April 8 – It’s opening day for the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. For the past 14 years the NHM has exhibited hundreds of butterflies and giant moths taking flight in a beautifully landscaped pavilion on the museum’s south lawn. The Pavilion will be with us through Labor Day 2012. On April 27 and 28, you’re invited to the Santa Monica Mountains Science Festival, sponsored by the National Park Service and the NHM. You and your family will learn to identify a wildflower or track mountain lions and bobcats. Come to discover the mysteries of your neighborhood national park. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is at 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Admission is free the first Tuesday of every month. For more information, call (213) 763-DINO or visitwww.

The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits is at 5801 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90036. Admission is also free for everyone on the first Tuesday of every month. For more information, call (323) 934- PAGE or visit www.tarpits. org. The Hart Park and Museum is at 24151 Newhall Ave. Newhall, CA, 91321. Admission is free. For more information, call (661) 254-4584 or visit www.

At The Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium

Several times a year you’ll find me at the Bianchi Planetarium (pictured, above right), which is located on the campus of California State University Northridge (CSUN). I’m a San Fernando

Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium
Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium

Valley resident (Encino) and it’s an easy 15- minute ride from Encino- Northridge. The seats are comfortable, the speakers are interesting, and the price is right. On nearby Reseda Boulevard there’s a host of restaurants: Golden Hunan, Chili’s, Acapulco Sea Food Restaurant, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, China Inn and many, many more. In March and April you’ll find these programs: Friday, March 16 – At 7:30 pm you’ll be able to view the Winter Sky Show and learn about the stars, constellations and planets visible in the sky during the late winter. Then, at 8:30 pm Jeremy Amarant, who is a Director of Sage Planetarium in Palmadale, will present “Sky Lore, the Unification of Cultures.”

Mr. Amrarant will share how many classic tales and poems are rooted in the sky and the stars. Jack and Jill, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream are based on the changing season; the Hawaiian story of Maui and how the Hawaiian Island Chain came into being is connected to both the stars; as is the reason we blow out candles on a birthday cake. Hansel and Gretel are connected to the Moon, and the constellations of Cygnus, Aquila and Lyra tell the story of life. It’s an evening devoted to unraveling these signs and symbols from myth and look at the connection to the stars. Friday March 29 – Tonight at 7:30 pm, see and learn about the stars, constellations and planets visible in the sky during the spring of the year. Then at 8:30 pm, come and learn all about Venus. The planet is the third brightest object in our sky, second to the Sun and Moon.

For the past few months we earthlings have been viewing Venus as an evening “star.” Recently NASA launched the Magellan Mission and tonight we’ll be taken on a “grand tour” of our sister planet as we follow Magellan’s progress from its launch through the most significant discoveries, which made the mission of the one most successful ever sent to explore the inner planets of our solar system. Friday April 13 – Again, visitors to the planetarium will see the Spring Sky Show at 7:30 pm. However, the program at 8:30 pm is “Hubble Vision: A Fascinating Tour Of The Cosmos-from Earth Orbit.” For the past 21 years the Hubble Space Telescope has provided incredible images of amazing and unprecedented details to astronomers. There has been an abundance of discoveries, which are the focus of this evening’s program. In the narrated slide program you’ll glimpse a comet crashing into Jupiter, storms on the outer planets and even the faraway worlds of Pluto and Quaoar. Beyond our solar system you’ll see how the Hubble captured the protoplanetary disks in Orion, views of the deaths of stars like our sun, colliding galaxies and deep-field views of the most distant galaxies. The Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium is located on the CSUN campus adjacent to Science Building 3, now Citrus, Hall. CSUN is located at 18111 Nordhoff Boulevard, Northridge. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. To order, call the CSUN A.S. Box Office (818) 677-2488

La Zoo’s Newest Exhibit

This past week the Los Angeles Zoo has introduced its newest exhibit: the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles). Come and view how the LA Zoo has focused visually stunning areas, including habitats for various unique and endangered species, that were here long before humans arrived but now, unfortunately, depend on man for their survival. The collection comprises some of the rarest species among North American zoos with over 60 species of amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles represented. The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) Freeways. For information call (323) 644-4200 or go to

By Jean Strauber

Entertainment Writer

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