Neighborhood Travels

2018 Spider Pavilion – Museum of Natural History of LA County

It’s time for the 2018 Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum.  This is an outdoor, up-close lab where one can walk through spider habitat.  It’s perfect for autumn!  Of course, I made a visit this year.  Who can resist? The Pavilion is filled with vines and flowering plants which these orb weavers seem to enjoy.  As the visitors walk along the u-shaped path, the spiders are tucked in the greenery.  Be sure to look up.  They’re overhead as well!

Spider near the roof of the spider pavilion
Spider up above, almost silhouetted against the sky

Always someone to answer questions

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the spiders. They blend in well with the surrounding foliage.  A docent is on hand to help with that, as well as answer other spider questions.

Docent helps a visitor in the Spider Pavilion
Where is the spider? What kind is it?

Each timed ticket gives the visitor thirty minutes in the pavilion, time that goes by quickly.  I enjoy looking at the color of the spiders and the delicacy to their webs.

Orchard Orb Weaver
Orchard Orb Weaver

I really like the colors on this little garden spider.  Although the above picture is big, the spider was not.  A small boy beside me thought she was a Black Widow at first.  Tucked away in the shadows, the spider did look rather dark in color, so it was a good guess.  There aren’t any scary spiders in the Pavilion.  Most are orb weavers, and most are female.

Amazing Webs

Another popular orb weaver was the Black and Yellow Argiope, also known as the writing spider because of its web.

Black and Yellow Argiope
Black and Yellow Argiope

The zigzag is called a stabilmentum but it looks a bit as if the spider were trying to write.  I read that these little spiders don’t live long.   I suppose most small creatures don’t.  They lay eggs and then their mission is fulfilled.

After thirty minutes, it’s time to leave.  Exit through the gift shop where you’ll find a small display of tarantulas.  That was popular!

Spider Pavilion gift shop
Spider Pavilion gift shop

The little girl in the photo above is looking at the desert tarantula.  A wolf spider was In one of those containers.

Wolf Spider climbing on a very small picnic table
Wolf Spider climbing on a very small picnic table

A wolf spider isn’t a tarantula, although they look somewhat similar.  I read that they are common in California.  Lucky me!

Tips and Info

  • The Spider Pavilion will be at the museum through November 25, 2018.
  • As I said above, this is a special exhibit requiring special timed tickets.
  • Parking can be tricky.  You may want to take light rail to Exposition Park.

To see more images from my visit to the Spider Pavilion, please click here.


Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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