Day Trippin' :: Cleopatra Exhibition

Ellingsen Photography Cleopatra Exhibit Science Center Poster

Last month my parents and I headed up to LA to the California Science Center for Cleopatra: The Exhibition. We had a great time, but to anyone considering going I’m a bit conflicted on recommending it. The pros: amazing artifacts excavated off the ocean floor in Alexandria, gorgeous displays, great historical information. The cons: no newly discovered images of Cleopatra herself (the only images of her at all were old coins that I’d already seen elsewhere), and therefore blatant use of a well-known name to drive ticket sales, and the tickets themselves weren't exactly cheap. Granted, everything they displayed would have been part of the Alexandria she lived in, but still, I felt they were stretching it. The one thing they did have was a papyrus document that seemed to be signed by her.

So I suppose I’ll say this – if you love Egyptology, it’s worth going. If you’re expecting new stuff on Cleopatra herself, don’t bother. Also, if you can go during the week instead of the weekend, I’d recommend that as well! There were lots of crowds and waiting in lines. Which I suppose is great for the Science Center, because they don’t charge admission for their permanent exhibits. At any rate, we opted to do the combo tickets and see the Mysteries of Egypt IMAX movie, which was so cool. (Who doesn’t love Omar Sharif?) Although I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it before at the Luxor in Vegas…

{All photos taken with my iPhone 3GS and processed with the VSCO Cam app, because I accidentally finished my roll of film before I got in there…oops!}

They started you off in a viewing room to watch an intro video that reminded me of those “dramatic reenactments” you see on the History Channel. Unfortunately, it’s the same video they've been using to promote the exhibit all over the web, so I’d already seen it.

Ellingsen Photography Cleopatra Exhibit Science Center Intro

But despite that, they did have some really beautiful pieces on display, and I loved that on the wall behind/next to each piece was a blown up photo of how the piece looked when they found it underwater.

Ellingsen Photography Cleopatra Exhibit Science Center

Oh, you know, just a pile of gold…

Ellingsen Photography Cleopatra Exhibit Science Center
Ellingsen Photography Cleopatra Exhibit Science Center

Another plus to the Science Center is that it’s adjacent to the Natural History Museum (see photos from our visit earlier this year) and several other museums, so you can really make a big day out of going up there. I just love the rose garden they’re all centered on, too. It’s huge!

At least during wait times we have my father, the walrus, to entertain us. (Koo koo koo choo!)

Ellingsen Photography Cleopatra Exhibit Science Center

So are you guys fellow museum lovers too? My favorites are those with a variety of exhibits, both inside and outside. I’m also fascinated by Egyptology. One of my all-time favorite book series is the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, which is set in Egypt starting in the 1890s. Highly recommended!