Free Or Cheap Things Angelenos Can Do From Home

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Montse Cuesta
While The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is open to visitors with advance reservations (outdoor spaces only), flower fans staying close to home can find a line-up of floral programming that is fully virtual. Coming up on March 6 and 7? It's all about the pretty clivia. "The Southern California Chapter of the North American Clivia Society presents its annual show virtually this year (due to COVID restrictions) featuring beautiful plants and floral displays from past shows. See the top winners from the previous years and learn about clivia and their varied habitats in this virtual show." Find out more on The Huntington's site now.
Grand Park LA
February? It can be the loveliest month, but it is certainly the love-iest month, thanks to the fact that Valentine's Day doings can keep on keepin' on for a few winsome weeks. And that's just what is happening through Feb. 28, 2021, courtesy of Grand Park LA. If you're in a heartfelt mood and you adore the "vibes inspired by Lovers Rock reggae," check out the DTLA destination's playlists on Spotify and Mixcloud. And delish: The Lovers Rock recipes are still live, meaning you can cook Meatless Meatloaf and other delectables while you savor the tunes.
Natural History Museum
The ultra-cool series, a staple at the Exposition Park museum, has gone fully virtual in 2021, but the scintillating science talks, get-moving music performances, and fab DJ sets are still very much on the brain-expanding schedule. It's all free to watch/savor/jump into, too. The next one? It's up on March 5, "Home x Habitats" is the theme, and neuroscientist and science communicator Dr. Yewande Pearse will be the host. For the lively line-up, click.
Skirball Stages
A warm night spent swaying to live music at the Skirball Cultural Center? Oh yes: The bliss is real, the vibe is true, and the tune-loving soul feels instantly uplifted. Skirball staffers know how many locals love enjoying concerts at the sublime space, and, to answer the at-home need during the pandemic, created the virtual Skirball Stages. The next one is up on Feb. 27, Joachim Cooder and Amythyst Kiah will perform, and it is free to see on Youtube.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Have a tot who loves the ocean? The Aquarium of the Pacific has an Online Academy for families learning at home.
Savor the stirring sounds of the Pasadena Presents spring season over a few select dates soon to come. What to expect from the online offerings? "Each concert features a renowned guest artist performing a popular concerto in recital, along with Pasadena Symphony musicians up close and personal performing the greatest of chamber music masterpieces." The price? A virtual presentation is free to enjoy for the 48 hours following its premiere. Get dates and details now.
Have a kid who can make anything out of anything? Have you also been wanting to stretch your creative wings as the new year begins? The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has just the series you'll want to check out: Make Art @ Home. The short and lively videos cover everything from collages to paper birds, and they're all free to see on Youtube.
Photography by Alexandra Rudge
Do you fancy fig beetles? How about bees, butterflies, and moths? The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has a way for you to "dig" deeper into the wee wonders of our gardens, yards, and parks, all while you stay home. Check out "Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of L.A.," a multi-pronged exploration of our local wing-rocking, scurry-small critters. A cool part of the interactive exhibition? You can look up local neighborhoods and get to know the insects that live there.
Niphon Subsri/EyeEm
Look back at "A Century of Votes for Women" while perusing a free and virtual exhibit from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. "Rise Up L.A." honors " ...everyday women who shaped the suffrage movement and the political landscape through voting, community organizing and by fighting for rights in the workplace, classroom, and community from the turn of the century through the current moment."
Yuji Arikawa
Explore "The Science of Slime" with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The Exposition Park museum, which is temporarily closed, has a number of online happenings related to slimy-sensational nature facts, as well as a slime-tastic behind-the-scenes tour. It's all free to see (but if you want to DIY slime at home, you'll need materials, yep).
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Watching critters cavort live? Many California animal parks and aquariums have cameras tuned into their furry residents. Monterey Bay Aquarium is currently featuring rescued otters on its Sea Otter Cam.
Forest Lawn Museum
Judson Studios, the historic stained-glass house, has been a Southern California institution since the very end of the 19th century. "Judson Studios: Stained Glass from Gothic to Street Style," an upcoming exhibit at Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, will be virtual and ready to enjoy from home. Keep tabs on the museum's site for more details about the opening.
Missing visits to "Urban Light," the world-famous grove of vintage lampposts in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? You can connect with artist Chris Burden's epic installation from home, thanks to the Urban Light Audio Soundtrack. "This sonic offering is an extension of that luminous spirit — beaming with dynamic patterns and timeless energy, it invites listeners to bathe in radiance," says the LACMA site. Listen to it now, for free, and feel its glow from afar.
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock has a host of virtual arts classes, including courses covering doodling, creating a Magical Theatre Puppet Box, and experimenting with fabric and paint. Some classes are free and some have a small fee.
The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale remains temporarily closed, but there are a few free walks you can download, if you'd like to check out neon signs in East Hollywood, Glendale, or Koreatown on your own. There's a free Family Guide, too, if your youngsters would like to go on a neon adventure where you live.
Peggy Ryan
PlayhouseLive, a new streaming platform from the Pasadena Playhouse, launched on Sept. 30. A host of theatrical pay-per-view events, including performances by the Bob Baker Marionettes, are on the schedule, as well as four new series. Want to check it out? There's a free trial on for members through Dec. 2020. Pictured: The Ojai Playwrights Conference
The Cayton's Children's Museum in Santa Monica is holding a virtual recess twice each day, giving tots who love art both guidance and inspiration.
Petersen Automotive Museum
Submit a video of your car for the Petersen Automotive Museum's global (and virtual) "Cars & Coffee" meet-up.
Winchester Mystery House
Taking an online tour of the Winchester Mystery House? You can. Other attractions are also offering behind-the-scenes peeks, so check in with your favorite place now, online, to see what's new.
Arnon Panram/EyeEm
PAM@Home, a selection of online happenings from the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, offers a host of activities for kids and adults. Crafts, meditation, art, and action are all covered by the line-up of virtual offerings. Take a look now.
Mitch Diamond
Enjoy virtual talks, on a host of topics, from a favorite museum. The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana is temporarily closed, but it continues to offer at-home events for fans, including family festivals filled with music. Check the calendar for the great things just ahead.
OC Fair
The OC Fair has gone virtual in 2020, with a do-it-from-anywhere fun run, behind-the-scenes videos, Pig Cam, and at-home contests, too.
The Getty
Coloring pages from The Getty? Download them for free at the museum's "Color Our Collection" site and spend a happy hour filling in fanciful forms taken straight from medieval manuscripts.
Sean Teegarden/Knott's Berry Farm
Love eating at Knott's Berry Farm? You can recreate the famous mashed potatoes from Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant in your own kitchen. The Buena Park eatery recently shared the recipe and step-by-step video online. Needed? Yukon gold potatoes and a few other ingredients; see everything here.
LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Do the spring babies of the LA Zoo make you melt? Several sweet youngsters are now appearing in coloring book form, thanks to the new Spring Babies Mini Coloring Book by Brian Kesinger, based on the photography of Jamie Pham.
Jay Tayag/AotP/Charles O'Rear
School's out in several spots, but the online learning and activities continue. Find kid-ready happenings with a nature focus, each weekday, at both the Aquarium of the Pacific and OC Parks.
Getty Images
From easy crafts to storytimes to other keep-busy fun, this round-up has plenty of ideas for younger people to stay engaged.
Leren Lu
Several art institutions, including the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, have an array of projects for kids to do at home.
Mt. Wilson Observatory
Can you see Mt. Wilson Observatory from where you live? You can request for Sunstar, a prism-producing art installation, to be pointed directly at your home.
Two Bit Circus
Love Two Bit Circus, the Arts District arcade? The team behind it is now offering parents and kids cool streams of at-home activities via Twitch.
Karen Ilagan
Procuring pro tips on what film to watch next? AFI and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are offering free lists, picks, and ideas.
Dreaming of Disneyland days? The Mattercam at the Howard Johnson Hotel & Water Playground is keeping an eye on The Happiest Place on Earth.
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