The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is one of my all time favorite places to visit. Before the pandemic, I would go fairly regularly and would roam the various halls and look at everything. Even though I’ve literally seen everything there multiple times over since I first started coming here regularly, I just get a warm feeling of familiarity and belonging whenever I’m there.

Which is why I jumped at the chance to visit NHMLA after various months of closure. Although lockdown in LA is still technically not over yet, California as a whole has made huge strides in bringing case numbers way down from their peak in January. And the fact that I am fully vaccinated now, I felt more comfortable than ever to be out in public amongst strangers.

Even though NHMLA was finally opening their doors again, things weren’t exactly as they were pre-pandemic, at least for now. For starters, capacity was capped at 25% and you had to purchase a ticket well in advance and for a specific time-slot. Also you had to wear a mask the entire time you were inside.

But in the end this turned out to be so much greater. Never have I ever seen the halls of NHMLA so empty and easily navigate-able. One this that used to bug me was how difficult it was to get a clear, unobstructed view of the dueling dinosaurs in the center. With the maximum number of people inside the same room, let alone hall as you, its way easier to be aware and far apart from anybody at any given point.

While this was one of my shorter visits I’ve had in recent memory, it was a much needed visit that helped me mentally and shows me the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully soon things begin to open up further and they do away with the reservation system. But for now it’s better than nothing!