California Vacation – Day 3

We considered going to Disneyland today but it was going to be hot so we decided to make today our day for going to the Getty Museum and the beach. The Getty Center (I think it’s officially known as “The Getty”) was about an hour away. We figured it would be a fairly small art museum and the kids wouldn’t last too long. When we got there, we were amazed. If I could describe The Getty in three words they would be “un buh lievable”. The Getty is built on top of a steep hillside. When you drive in you enter a parking garage built into the hill. It is about 7 levels deep so it must have been a massive excavation project to build that thing. You then board a tram that takes you to the top of the hill where the museum and gardens are.

Boarding the tram at “The Getty”

Riding the tram

The museum has several different galleries of both modern and classical European art. We saw paintings by Rembrandt, El Greco, Reubens, and Van Dyck. My favorite was a portrait by Van Dyck. It was enormous and the red robe just looked spectacular on the museum wall (you’ll have to follow the link. The Getty doesn’t allow me to download their graphic for use on a personal website although I could theoretically make a “Fair Use” copyright claim.)

Making masks in the activity center


There was also a fun little “family center” where the kids did art related activities. One of the galleries was a “sketch gallery” where they set you up with an artists sketch pad and you could sketch one of the various paintings or busts in the gallery. Anne signed up to sketch a bust. Nancy stayed with her while I took the other kids to look at more paintings.

Touring the grounds

The kids were as good as gold although as the day wore on they became increasingly more wiggly. Nancy and Anne wanted to continue looking at art (they didn’t spend as much time the galleries as the other kids and I did because they were busy in the sketch gallery) so I took the remaining kids on a tour of the grounds. The grounds are as spectacular as the art – high on the hill you could view the entire Los Angeles valley along with the ocean. The smoky haze wasn’t as bad today as yesterday and the view was wonderful. The grounds are also peppered with various sculptures and other pieces of art.


After spending several hours and only seeing a fraction of the galleries we boarded the tram back to the parking garage and headed back to the hotel for lunch. I would highly recommend visting The Getty the next time you are in Los Angeles. If you’re not dragging kids around, you could easily spend a full day in the center and touring the grounds. You definitely want to go on a good weather day because it probably wouldn’t be any fun on the grounds in the rain. If you do have kids then The Getty’s various kid activities are great but you the kids will still likely last only a couple of hours. Hopefully Nancy and I can come back some day without kids and spend a full day. We would’ve liked to go see the Getty Villas in Malibu but you need to schedule in advance for a ticket and with the fires near/in Malibu we figured it would have to wait for another trip.


After lunch we got packed up and headed to the beach. The hotel had beach towels and beach equipment (chairs, toys, etc.) for use so we loaded up on gear and drove the short drive (basically across the street although it was too far for Diana to walk) to Crystal Cove State Park. The weather was nice and warm and we plopped our gear down in the sand and headed for the water with plans to frolick the afternoon away in the waves.


The second we put our toes in the water all plans of frolicking came to a grinding halt – the water was freezing cold. We spent an hour chasing waves and finding seashells until everyone was cold and sandy enough (too cold to get in the water and wash off the sand) to call it a day. After trying to rinse the sand off the best we could at the public restroom, we turned tail and headed for the balmy waters of the hotel pool and hottub where we played until the sun went down.

Hot-tubbing it

The wildfire smoke makes for a nice sunset

Categorized as Family

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