December 27th! Today was our Autry Museum day and I was hoping to get to the Observatory too. I had surprised the family by making reservations at Medieval Times for the 2:30 show. I had considered the 4:30 show, but I didn't want to incur late charges on returning the car, and I'm glad I made the earlier show as construction on the I5 was going full bore. First though - money! We needed some cash to see us through to the end of the trip and it was payday for me. I drove up S Harbour and found a Bank of America ATM which didn't let me take a cent! Huh. I drove across the street to Wells Fargo. They allowed me to take what I wanted and we were set to go. I plugged our destination in to the Google Map app and off we went! Across from the entrance of the LA Zoo is the Autry Museum. Created by Gene Autry and his family, it's a celebration of southwestern culture. We were very interested in exploring this museum. Partly because the kids need culture, and partly because DH was good enough to indulge my DLR dreams, the least I could do was include something OTHER than Disney (although, it's hard to escape, as you'll see presently). We got there around 11, and we were surprised that there wasn't too many people there. We got a great parking spot and before we even went in, there was a gorgeous bronze statue. I knew what it was before I saw the plaque. Then I had to explain to the kids. Can you guess what it symbolizes? Yes! The Pony Express! I'm a horse girl, so I always admired things regarding horses. In fact, most cities around the world should have at least one statue dedicated to the horse, as without them, we'd have no roads as we know them (they're the width they are based on two horses pulling a Roman chariot), railroads (the track widths are for the same reason), agriculture, clearing of land, etc etc etc. Looking back, today was a great day for me too because there were A LOT of horses involved in my day. YAY! Sorry for the sideways. Oh, and the whole "Do Not Touch"... no one paid attention to that. There was a little kid running around climbing on the statues, definitely 'touching' them, and his parents seemed completely unconcerned and/or oblivious. It's my 'thing' when I obey the rules and ensure my kids do too, but there are others who have decided the signs don't apply to them. I have to breathe and talk myself off the annoyance level ledge. But again, my baggage, no one else's. Sooooo... There was a lovely statue going into the courtyard too. We went into the courtyard and decided we were hungry first. So, we'd eat then go explore. The menu was pretty good - burgers and sandwiches mostly. I ordered a burger for DD11 but I forgot to take off the black bean sauce which TOTALLY ruined her meal . I scraped off the best I could and she eventually ate it. She loves cream soda, and this place had one. It sure didn't look like the cream soda she gets at home, but she said it tasted good. I had to try a Sarsparilla. It's like Root Beer, but not quite as strong as A&W's is. Not bad, but I wouldn't have another one anytime soon. This is the first and ONLY place that doesn't upcharge for yam fries! YAY! Sufficiently fortified, we headed into the courtyard proper. There was a nice surprise for us Canadians on one wall. Why Canadian? Well, "America’s Sweetheart" is actually Canadian! See, here! And another beautiful sculpture in the middle. This was an amazing sculpture. The detail, right down to the hair on the horse.... just incredible. Actually, two. Two amazing sculptures. After being suitably amazed, we went inside to pay. They give a US military discount, but not a Canadian Military discount. The guy explained it as his boss's decision. I smiled and said something snarky about choosing who we'll defend in the next war, and he felt suitably ashamed that he gave me the AAA/CAA discount (even though I was honest and said we weren't members). So that was nice. I honestly don't understand the differentiation between US and Canadian military discounts. I mean, if the store doesn't give one to anyone, that's understandable, but allies should be able to get the same discount in the foreign country. I got discounts up the wazoo in Australia... ANYWAY, there were rooms off the main area, and the first one was the Play Exhibit which was leaving at the end of the month. The history of play and toys was very interesting. There was a big area where kids could play and lots of exhibits describing native toys, and then more mid-century stuff. Some highlights. Hopi "Mickey Mouse" Gourd Rattle circa 1991 Very cool 'tree' and behind it a small cave for playing. Well! Wouldja look at that!? More amazing statues in the hallways There was a photo exhibit regarding the Chicano uprising in the '70's but no photos were allowed. We wandered into the actual art GALLERY part. It has native designs from all over the place. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of our local works included. A welcome pole A bead blanket A Raven Transformation Mask and a Glass Rattle A Bent Box. These were traditionally made out of a slab of cedar, and heated to bend the corners and top, then carved. It was quite the feat of engineering. A Tiffany Punch Bowl. Not from our part of Canada of course. I just loved the detail in the silver. And some gorgeous Remington statuettes. There were some amazing paintings, sculptures, a saddle or two, an Indian motorbike, and so much more. It was incredible. Then we went into the 'cowboy' section. The kids were bored mindless by this time, so they went back to the play exhibit where there were video games (DD11) and little kids to play with (DD13). Some highlights from this section: I got to pretend I was in a western movie: So did DH. More in the next bit.