CC and I cowboy'd up yesterday at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park for a little "Taste of the West."
The museum, alongside Los Angeles Magazine, hosted a family-friendly day in the plaza that included complimentary Western-style grub and libations for adults and kids. That's in addition to gratis admission to the museum itself, which is home to fantastic exhibits Sparkle & Twang and Granite Frontiers. But more on those in a sec.
When we arrived, I'll admit, we headed straight for the food -- mini BBQ sandwiches, cole slaw, oatmeal raisin apple bars, oh my! It was an eco-friendly event, so bamboo plates and recyclables were in order.
Various stations around the plaza offered kid-friendly activities led by Leave No Trace, an organization that teaches people how to care for the great outdoors.
CC was able to investigate a tent and find out what not to bring inside -- lantern (fire hazard) and food (hello, unwanted critters!). She also worked on a little puzzle, colored and basically just enjoyed cavorting around the wide open spaces of the museum grounds.
Once we got inside and entered the fab Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey exhibit, running through Aug. 23, both CC and I were floored by the cool displays. Performance costumes from the likes of Dolly Parton, George Jones and Patsy Cline lined the walls. Letters, guitars and handwritten lyrics filled display boxes.
And let's not forget the rock star dressing room and performance space, where visitors can don country fashion, grab a guitar and walk right up to a mic to sing in front of a tall wall of (2-D) screaming fans.
I was waiting for CC to start belting out "Okie From Muskogee," but no such luck.
The other exhibit on display is Granite Frontiers: A Century of Yosemite Climbing (running through Oct. 4), which features photography and films centered on rock-climbing. They even have mini-sized rocks with equipment that kids can grab, pull and clamp. Yes, mine tested that out vigorously.
It was here that we met fellow L.A. mom blogger Dariela, who writes at Nuestra vida con Adrian, and her husband and son, Adrian. CC and Adrian investigated the exhibits, tugged on mountain-climbing gear, coiffed their hair in the Sparkle & Twang dressing room and basically just had a rockin' 2-year-old time.
What's great about this museum is that it's so kid-friendly. Seriously. I mean, when I first heard about it years ago, I figured it was a staid relic of the cowboy past. (Yeah, feel kinda foolish admitting that to the world). But it's not at all. Not. At. All.
I mean, what stuffy museum lets kids put on cowboy gear while crooning to Merle Haggard or invites children to pan for gold near a climb-able stagecoach or encourages tots to play restaurant hosts/waiters/cooks at an imagination-friendly restaurant replica?
Kids are welcome any day of the week, at any exhibit, and we'll cowboy -- or cowgirl -- up for that any time.
Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027