|Sunset from the end of the Santa Monica Pier|
The last leg of our trip took us to Huntington Beach, California, or Surf City USA. We wanted to be close enough to LAX so that we would arrive on time for our flight. I'd read briefly about Newport and Huntington beaches, but what we discovered was disappointing. On our first day, we went for a nature walk at Bolsa Chica, a tiny bird conservation area just a few miles north of Huntington Beach
|Central Garden at J. Paul Getty Center|
The conservation area appeared to be little more than PR for an oil company. Needless to say this hampered our desire to go in for a swim. I asked around about the oil wells, and I was told that there were many from Newport Beach to Long Beach. Oil is apparently an important source of revenue for the city of Huntington Beach, where there is apparently even an oil pump in the city hall parking lot.
Since we'd visited Coronado, Torrey Pines (fantastic hiking) and La Jolla beaches, it was time to take my crew to LA, and I'm so glad that we did. The J. Paul Getty Center in Brentwood, California, is not to be missed. The view of LA and the San Gabriel Mountains was breathtaking. Richard Meier's stunning architecture, Robert Irwin's central garden and Laurie Olin's landscaping made for an inspiring day.
|Sketching Room at Getty Center|
For anyone going to LA, the Getty is not to be missed. Oh yeah, admission is free, but there's a $15 parking fee--the best 15 bucks you've ever spent.
The Getty Center was so inspiring that we decided to spend our last day at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. This was a mind-blowing collection, with masterpiece after masterpiece, and I felt quickly overwhelmed, as did our children. I never thought I'd say it, but thank God for Minecraft, my kids' favourite computer game. The Norton Simon has a fantastic collection of Asian art, but we couldn't spend more than a few minutes there
|My kids at the Norton Simon Museum|
This was a great adult museum and shouldn't be missed. An added plus--admission and parking are free.
We also visited Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier to see the sunset and visit the amusement park. Both were well worth the drive and traffic.
Overall, our trip to SoCal was great, and on our next trip, we hope to go further inland and see the desert. I'm dying to see the Joshua trees.
Related posts: LACMA: Mom Needs Fun Too!
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Unexpected Beauty of Historic Los Angeles