Discovery Center and Insect Zoo

Dig for dinosaurs, investigate insects, and explore the natural world.

NHMLA's Discovery Center

General Info

Free with paid museum admission
Free for Members

Come get your hands dirty! The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Discovery Center has something for every investigator. Pretend to be a paleontologist in the Paleo Play Zone; marvel at the variety of bugs in the Insect Zoo; and take a closer look at dozens of mini dioramas, featuring everything from owls to skunks. You can even get a behind-the-scenes peek of our puppeteers suiting up for their popular Dinosaur Encounters show.

Man and woman look at insect in a terrarium

Take a closer look at ants, beetles, scorpions, and more.

Kids dig up fossils

Fossil treasures lie buried in the dig pit, waiting to be unearthed.

Touching an insect during a special presentation at an the insect zoo

Millipedes come out to play during Bug Fair.

Family puts puzzle pieces back together in our Paleo Play Zone

Putting fossil pieces back together

Taxidermy bird in the Discovery Center

Geococcyx californianus, otherwise known as the greater roadrunner

Kids making rubbings in the Paleo Play Zone

Visitors give their dinosaur images the right skin texture.

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Take a closer look at ants, beetles, scorpions, and more.

Fossil treasures lie buried in the dig pit, waiting to be unearthed.

Millipedes come out to play during Bug Fair.

Putting fossil pieces back together

Geococcyx californianus, otherwise known as the greater roadrunner

Visitors give their dinosaur images the right skin texture.

Along the way, you'll:

  • Use your imagination to color in dinosaur skin.
  • Count the legs on a live tarantula.
  • Snap the perfect selfie with the L.A. Dodgers’ old polar bear.

This exhibition includes live animalsDid you know the museum has a team of professional animal keepers on site 365 days a year? They take excellent care of all animals on exhibit at the museum, utilizing the natural history expertise of our scientists as well as our veterinarian, who advises on any medical and nutritional needs. Because even a frog needs a doctor sometimes.