L.A. at Play Day

Saturday, December 2, 2023 | 9:30 am– 3 pm
Add to calendar 2023-12-02 09:30:00 2023-12-02 15:00:00 L.A. at Play Day Natural History Museum nhmla webmaster@nhm.org America/Los_Angeles public
L.A. at Play Day


Saturday, December 2, 2023 | 9:30 am– 3 pm

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Natural History Museum
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FREE with paid Museum admission and to Members

L.A. at Play Day  |  Sat., Dec 2, 2023 
9:30 am–3 pm

It’s playtime at NHM!  Come celebrate our universal love and infatuation with figurines, dolls, and toys in this culminating event for our video series, L.A. at Play: Dolls & Figurines, an exploration of creators and collectors of figurines and dolls that connect to L.A. history, culture, and fandoms.  Meet some of the collectors and creators from the series, with special vendor pop-ups, lively discussions, fun activities, music, food, and more. 

Featuring Tea with T-rex Photo Booth, doll and action figure-making activities, and pop-up shops including Giant Robot, Golden Apple Comics, Siempre Viva Dolls, Monster Patrol Toys, and Tonalli Studios. Visit the Bob Baker Marionette Theater table, catch an appearance from Puppet Master Cain Carias, listen to DJ sets from Linda Nuves, and participate in a raffle to win special items from American Girl Dolls.  Finally,  don’t miss the fun discussions on toys, dolls, and puppets at the Cafe Stage!


Giant Robot | Level 1 Grand Foyer

Giant Robot logo small

Established in 2001, Giant Robot Store features products from around the world. Notably, fun housewares, gifts, stationeries, t-shirts, comics, plush and toy figures. Giant Robot is often cited as the birthplace of Asian Pop Culture products and Uglydolls.

Golden Apple Comic and ART Foundation | Nature Gardens


The Golden Apple Comic and Art Foundation was started by Kendra and Ryan Liebowitz, owners of the world-famous Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The foundation's purpose is to preserve, safeguard, and showcase private collections and ensure that comics, books, art, and collectibles are secured for future generations to enjoy.

Tonalli Studio | Nature Gardens

Rosanna Esparza Ahrens

The original team that lovingly created TONALLI STUDIO in 2013 were Ofelia Esparza Altarista, Educator/Visual Artist; Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, Altarista/Graphic Designer; Dr. Elena Esparza, DC.,Chiropractor/Herbalist/Artist; Erendira Bernal, Performance Artist/Writer; and Marialice Jacob, Dancer/Curator/Artist. Tonalli Studio is the first female-owned wellness/art space in East Los Angeles. We are so proud to share this space with the East L.A. community.

Siempre Viva Dolls | Nature Gardens

Siempre Viva Dolls

Siempre Viva Dolls, bringing the vibrant colors of Mexican culture to life, one handmade Latinx doll at a time. Spreading love, inclusivity, and storytelling through handcrafted dolls that represent us all.


Monster Patrol Toys | Level 1 Grand Foyer

Monster Patrol

Monster Patrol Toys is a designer toy shop that was founded on Halloween in 2021 and located in Little Tokyo DTLA specializing in “sofvi”—Japanese soft vinyl toys. Owners Nobu and Paul host local pop-up events and exhibitions throughout the year bringing Japanese toy makers and their fans together in celebration of soft vinyl toys and the sofvi collecting community.

Patchouli nomad | Nature Gardens

Patchouli Nomad / Maribel Reveles

Maribel Reveles (aka) Patchouli Nomad, known for fun, funky and colorful creations.  They are inspired by nature, music and cultures. They use creativity as a tool for healing and therapy. They hope that their pieces can make you smile and bring you joy.



Tea with T-rex Photo Booth | Level 1 Grand Foyer | 9:30 am–3 pm

Dueling Dinos in the Grand Foyer

Bring your favorite doll or figure and have a photo taken with our Dueling Dinos at our Tea with T-rex Photo Booth. Complimentary photo prints!


Paper Doll-Making Activity | Bird Viewing Platform in the Nature Gardens 


Paper Doll Making Activity presented by NHM Performing Arts: Cut-up and dress-up!  Make your own classic paper doll in this fun all-ages activity.  Created by our own Emily Franz in Performing Arts.  

Go, Figure! Action Figure Making Activity | Pond Deck in the Nature Gardens


Go, Figure! Action Figure Making Activity.  Let your imagination run wild and get a chance to create your own custom-made action figure. Created by our own Philip Aja in Exhibitions. 



Tonalli Studio | Nature Gardens
Siempre Viva Dolls | Nature Gardens

CAFE PATIO STAGE | Nature Gardens

DJ Linda Nuves | 10 am–3 pm | Cafe patio Stage

Linda Nuves

Linda Nuves (she/they) is an entertainer and professional DJ from Los Angeles. She performs in a Latin band with her father, Azucar L.A., and has made her mark as a DJ, joining the Los Angeles chapter of Chulita Vinyl Club. Nuves is also a radio host and the co-creator of Radio Pulgarcito, a podcast that aims to preserve and showcase music on vinyl from Central America, especially El Salvador.     

Cain Carias | Puppet Master | 12 pm | Cafe Patio Stage

Cain Carias

Puppet Master Cain Carias  was born and raised in Tijuana and later relocated to Los Angeles, MacArthur Park area. A high school dropout, they landed a job at Bob Baker Marionette Theater in 2002. Ever since then they’ve dedicated their life to puppetry, a rare, almost extinct art they want to keep alive. “Puppetry saved my life from the streets and put food on the table. Puppeteering is a passion of mine learned from the very own Bob Baker himself. I added my own twist and style into puppeteering. I want to inspire and teach.” 

Discussion: L.A. at Play Stories -  Moderated by Milena Acosta  | 1 pm | cafe patio stage

LA at Play Day people

Meet some of our creators for the NHM Online Presents L.A. at Play: Dolls & Figurines videos and get a chance to ask them questions about all things dolls and toys!  You’ll get to know more about their love and passion for dolls and figurines. Featuring doll designers Alli Norman and Carlyle Nuera, Los Angeles Dodgers Team Historian Mark Langill, and from Tonalli StudiosOfelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza. 

Raffle Prizes from American Girl Dolls | 2 pm | cafe patio stage

American Girl Dolls store

Visit American Girl’s newest flagship store in Los Angeles at Westfield Century City. Book your favorite experiences HERE!



DISCUSSION: Robin Walsh and the NHM Puppets | 2:30 pm | cafe patio stage

Robin Walsh

Meet the creator of some of your favorite NHM Puppets and get to know the inner workings of our puppet creatures. Puppet Artist Robin Walsh loves proving that alternate realities exist—and creating them, in both expected and unexpected places. She’s worked for Henson, Disney, the Academy Awards, and Stanford University among others. She’s performed at the Hollywood and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals and the Oscars, Men in Black, Team America, Captain Underpants, and SpongeBob SquarePants.


From our Research and Collections | Level 1 Grand Foyer 

Ofelia reviews her dolls

Dolls from Around the World Presented by NHM Anthropology Department  



Special Appearances | Nature Gardens 

Dodger Bobblehead 

dodgers log

Get a chance to meet and take pictures with the Los Angeles Dodgers bobblehead character as they make their way around the gardens.  Sure to be a hit!



Bob Baker Marionette Theater 

bob  baker

Bob Baker Marionette Theater has been pulling the strings of family fun since 1963. As a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization, its mission is to educate, celebrate, and inspire imagination through Puppetry and the Allied Arts.
Visit their pop-up and get a chance to see the puppets up close and learn more about this Los Angeles institution. 

Museum Educators Pop-Up Talks | 11 am and 1:30 pm | Rotunda

Fun and insightful talks with our informative Museum Educators about our collections.

Pop-Up Screening L.A. At Play Videos | 9:30 am–3 pm | Otis Booth Pavillion Ground Level

Catch up with our video series, NHM Online Presents L.A. at Play: Dolls & Figurines, an exploration of creators and collectors of figurines and dolls that connect to L.A. history, culture, and fandoms