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Becoming Los Angeles

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No matter how thin your wallet, every first Tuesday the 50,000-year-old Simi Valley mastodon can be your date. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County's halls of herpetology, ichthyology and mineralogy are open once a month to broke Angelenos dying to keep tabs on the world's ancient life. The Dinosaur Hall and "Becoming L.A." are new and exciting exhibits -- the latter a 14,000-square-foot display of the story of Los Angeles in six parts: the time of Spanish contact; the Spanish Mission era; the Mexican rancho era; the early American period; the emergence of a new American city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and the Great Depression and World War II to the present. You must admit, the tagline for this new exhibit, "Cow Poop Changed L.A.," is quite an attention grabber. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (213) 763-DINO, nhm.org.

— By Rena Kosnett

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