Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.
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Why: Life is full of mysteries, misunderstandings and bald-faced lies. This place too. Its dim rooms, sober tone and perplexing exhibits are designed to mess with your head while reveling in the weird things that happen when we try to explain or collect nature or culture. Confused? Don't worry. Have a cup of tea upstairs and commune with the doves in the tiny courtyard.
What: This museum is designed to test your credulity and make you gasp. Enjoy the microscopic sculptures, the mice on toast (a cure for bed-wetting?), the trailer-park dioramas, the short films that screen hourly upstairs. Also don't miss the Soviet space-dog portraits. In awarding museum curator David Wilson one of its "genius" grants in 2001, the MacArthur Foundation called the museum "a provocative commentary on how we organize and archive cultural artifacts," noting that "fact and fiction are displayed with equal precision and diligence."
And next door you'll find a sort of cousin institution — the Center for Land Use Interpretation, which examines human effects on the landscape using keen wit, deadpan tone and extensive photography. CLUI's current show, unveiled Sept. 22 with seven high-resolution monitors in a single bright room, is "Engaging Scale: The Railroad Landscape as an Analog Macroscope." It's about model railroads, real ones and the scenery they inhabit.
(And while you're investigating offbeat displays, you might also consider also the Velaslavasay Panorama, which is scheduled to reopen in spring 2018 after installation of a new exhibit.)
Where: 9341 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 10 miles west of downtown L.A. (It has a Culver City mailing address, but the museum is actually in the West L.A. neighborhood of Palms.)
How much: Adult admission is $8. For full-time students, unemployed persons and youths age 13-21, it's $5. The museum is open Thursdays 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.