Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Non-Hike: The Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum

I've been spending most weekdays the past few weeks on jury duty. While some people dread the idea of jury duty, I'm alright with it. After all, I have taught American government at the college and university level for over twenty years. As such, I almost felt an obligation to serve on a jury, just to get a better idea of how life in the Third Branch of government might be.

Also, unlike many other potential jurors, I get paid my regular salary while on jury duty. All government employees and many larger and more enlightened private corporations pay their employees their regular salary during jury duty.

Having such an employer minimizes the financial hardship. I still take a bit of a hit, since I get no compensation for any shifts on my part-time job I might have to give up. And, because of the shifts they schedule for my part-time job and how long court is in session, I did have to give up a lot of those shifts.

This will probably wind up costing me about $600 in part-time shifts, plus some amount of goodwill that could cost me shifts in the future.

On the plus side, jury duty can mean a free bus pass. While I don't get the $15/day normal jurors are getting, I do have the option of either taking money for mileage or taking a bus pass.

Because of the geography between my home and the court-house, and the existing MTA routes, it's an easy bus commute for me--one bus, no transfers, and relatively frequent buses on my route during the morning and afternoon rush hours (but not much service during the middle of the day, so if we get out early, the commute home takes longer). I spend about 20 or 25 minutes on a bus, and have about an eight minute walk to the stop from home, and get off literally right next to the courthouse.

I've been using our lunch break and some post-jury duty hours to walk around downtown Los Angeles. It's possible I'll be posting some pictures from those walks, later. And, last week, I used my bus pass to ride the Red Line and Expo lines to get myself to Exposition Park.

The Butterfly Pavilion is an annual thing at the Natural History Museum. Tickets are required. If you're not a member, you need to buy a package that includes both entry to the museum and entry to the pavilion. If you're a member, you just need to reserve timed-tickets to guarantee entry. I think if you're an higher-level member, you can also enter at anytime.

Jury duty normally ends at 4pm, so I reserved tickets for the Butterfly Pavilion for 4:30pm last Wednesday. Turned out just about right: I think I got to the Pavilion entry by about 4:35pm. That gave me 25 minutes to enjoy the butterflies.

The Pavilion is relatively small, but there's enough fluttering color to keep someone like me occupied for easily over 30 minutes just shooting pictures.

Here's just a fraction of the pictures I took.

Obviously, kids love the butterflies. Adults, too.

Entry to the Pavilion can be scheduled to start at between 11am and 4:30pm (the last entry). I'm not sure if they chase you out at the end of the 30 minutes or not (except for the 4:30pm half-hour, of course) I suspect not. I assume it's timed entry and not timed enjoyment.
The Natural History Museum normally closes at 5pm; however, on the First Friday of every month, they're open late. Not sure about the Pavilion, though.

The Butterfly Pavilion remains until September 1. I assume as the end approaches, the number of butterflies still flying around shrinks. The Monarchs seem already to have passed on or been released or otherwise left the Pavilion.

Obviously, right next door is the California Science Center, which is home to the space shuttle Endeavour, which flew into town back in September 2012. The California African American Museum is also nearby, as is the University of Southern California. Definitely lots of places you can occupy yourself around or in Exposition Park.

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