Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s permanent Butterfly Pavilion is now open, and even looks like a butterfly’s wings.

Now through Sept. 2 Southern California museums are inviting families to explore "Creature Crawl" — animal-themed activities offering both real and imaginary animal exhibitions. Participants can collect puzzle pieces at each of the five participating museums and use them to create a mythical beast that kids can design and color. Families can upload their creations to www.socalmuseums.org and win prizes for their work at the end of the summer.

Jennifer Caballero, president of SoCal Museums and marketing director at the Skirball Cultural Center explained that the idea for the summer project was created when her team realized that various museum exhibitions happening concurrently revolved around the animal world. So they created a fun way for families to visit them all.

“This activity gives families a great reason to explore Southern California’s museums in the summer months and collect beastly mementos along the way,” Caballero said.

Creatures featured include fabled unicorns in medieval manuscripts at the Getty Center, a beautiful garden of butterflies at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and dinosaurs from Antarctica at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

And making this activity accessible to all children was always the goal.

Caballero says that with support from UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, kids who are in the hospital and unable to travel to the museums, will receive their own package of activities so that they can also participate in the fun.

Sponsors include UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and PBS SoCal.

For more information about hours and admission, check each of the museum websites or visit www.socalmuseums.org for details.

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 


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