Art That Pops: The Copro Gallery

Paying homage to our appreciation for L.A. art and culture, L.A. Gnome decided to spend an afternoon at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Copro Gallery is one of L.A. Gnome’s favorite contemporary art galleries located within Bergamot Station’s refurbished industrial buildings.

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Founded in 1991, the gallery’s space once served as a warehouse for packaging celery and making ice since the 1950s. Today the gallery is home to a creepy life-like sculpture of two tiny old men conjoined at the abdomen with something looking like feces coming out of what appears to be a shared anus.

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Designed to exhibit works of art that integrate gothic-inspired images of horror, fantasy, and the surreal, Copro Gallery has been home to pieces of art created by many famous names in pop surrealism, such as Mark Ryden, Shag, and Von Dutch.

For those of us who may not be familiar with pop surrealism, pop surrealism is an underground visual art movement that began in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Pop surreal artists take inspiration from street art, skateboarding culture, comics, cartoons, fantasy, punk culture, and the like. Drawing from these ideas, successful pop surreal artists depend on technical skill and the ability to create a mood and atmosphere in their work. What we love about our visit to Copro Gallery is that artwork here is done well. The artwork shows highly refined skill, yet the story behind the pieces intrigued us.

The gallery is also known for introducing new emerging talent. By incorporating the art of well-known celebrated artists of today with those of the freshly discovered, Copro Gallery has been successful in delivering Pop Surreal art shows that have attracted over 600,000 visitors a year.

L.A. Gnome’s TIPS:

  • Copro Gallery is one of many art galleries at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. This industrial site is city-owned and free for visitors. Even the parking is free. Be sure to visit the other free galleries and the other artwork on display. L.A. Gnome was inspired by some of the art shown in other galleries, too!
  • The gallery is open between Wednesday and Saturday’s from 1pm-6pm.

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To read more about Copro Gallery, Click here.


Out of this World: The Space Shuttle Endeavor

After 25 missions in space and a historical 12-mile journey through the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles, the Space Shuttle Endeavor makes its permanent residence at the Samual Orchin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

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Now a famous historical attraction since 2012, Endeavor’s final mission is to inspire current and future generations of explorers and scientists. The Endeavor exhibit appeals to a wide age range of visitors from the very young to the very old. During our visit to the exhibit, we were definitely amazed by the impact of science and technology on outer space exploration. The exhibit showcases creative and innovative ways to stimulate active learning. We definitely felt like kids again as we roamed the exhibit floor looking at all the displays.

We touched the original tires of the Endeavor space shuttle when it landed from one of its missions and watched a video demonstration on how astronauts use the bathroom out in space. There is even a display of a “space potty” showing what toilets look like on a space shuttle.

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We especially enjoyed boarding a flight simulator ‘ride’ that emulates a ‘mission’ to outer space. For an additional $5 a person, you and up to 5 other passengers look at a digital screen from aboard the ‘cockpit’ to visualize what astronauts experience when a space shuttle launches to when it lands. Did you know that astronauts must input coordinates before traveling back to Earth and trust that the space shuttle will land safely on its own?

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During our visit, L.A. Gnome was fortunate to have Robert “Bob” Kremer, PhD join us. At one point in his life, he was a professor of mechanical engineering at University of Southern California and served as a real life rocket scientist. He was also one of the engineers behind NASA’s space shuttle program, which has spanned over 30 years of discovery. Bob is now retired, but his passion and excitement about space travel is still there. He was our own personal tour guide and a pleasure to be with. His firsthand experience in the space shuttle program and expert knowledge about the subject truly added to our amazing day at the exhibit.


L.A. Gnome’s TIPS:

  • Parking in the lot is $10 and Cash Only! If you go on Sunday, parking on the street is free.
  • The California Science Center is free; however viewing the Endeavor exhibit requires a timed ticket. The best way to guarantee a visit is to reserve a timed ticket online. There is a $2 service fee per advanced ticket purchase online.
  • L.A. Gnome highly recommends purchasing the Endeavor/IMAX Combo and watch the IMAX movie, Hubble 3D to enhance your educational visit.
  • Hubble 3D was produced in collaboration with Warner Bros. Studio and NASA and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. You will journey through outer space with amazing imagery captured from the famous Hubble telescope. You will be just as amazed as we were discovering distant galaxies and learning how solar systems are created. Through the lens of the Hubble, you will see how the impact of space technology has helped us better understand our galaxy and appreciate our own little planet, Earth. The universe isn’t as small as you may think!

Here is a preview of the film:
The IMAX Theater has a huge screen (seven stories high), so generally most seats are good for viewing. The best seats are in the middle, so fall in line early to snag them. Doors open 10 minutes prior to show time.

Ticketing for Endeavor/IMAX combo is as follows:

Adults (18+): $8.25
Child (4-12): $5.00
Senior (60+): $6.00
Student with ID: $6.00


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For more information about the Endeavor Exhibit in Los Angeles:

A Treasure by the Sea: The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Discover the underwater world of Southern California at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Touch the bones of our ocean giants at the aquarium’s whales graveyard, pet a starfish or sea urchin found at the outdoor touch tank, pay homage to the sea jelly that’s helping scientists today fight the battle against cancer, and view L.A. Gnome’s favorite exhibit- a shrimp with a rainbow-colored tail.


As L.A. natives, L.A. Gnome was surprised to discover this hidden gem for the first time. We’ve been to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and even the Melbourne Aquarium in Australia. But, there was something special about the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

What’s unique about this aquarium is that this is home, exclusively to the marine life found in Southern California. Located near the Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park and the port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California, you will meet Southern California’s sea animals up close and personal…and best of all, for free! The aquarium is conveniently located; within walking distance to Cabrillo beach, the local tide pools, and even a saltwater marsh. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about our ocean and its inhabitants in their natural habitat.

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What’s neat about the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is that it isn’t just an interesting place for the general public to visit and view sea creatures for free. The aquarium also serves as an education and research facility. Since 1935, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has been dedicated to providing natural and interactive learning programs for the public regarding the marine environment of Southern California. There are plenty of rich and varied learning opportunities for guests of all ages.

During our visit to the aquarium, we met up with Evi Meyer, their resident educator. We learned that the aquarium is a non-profit public facility funded by the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. Unlike most aquariums that charge guests a fee for viewing the animals, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is government funded. We also learned that world-renowned architect Frank Gehry designed the aquarium. He is the same architect who designed the Walt Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

Evi Meyer was very enthusiastic about talking about the aquarium. She was especially passionate about sharing her knowledge regarding conservation and protecting the environment.  Did you know that plastics are forever? Plastics break down but never go away. Some of our marine animals mistake plastic for food and get sick. Pollution endangers our animals and can affect our food chain.


What made this museum stand out from the rest, is how friendly and informative their staff and volunteers are. They make the effort to welcome you to their exhibit, guide you, and answer questions. Their presence really added to the enjoyment of our visit.  We look forward to visiting again… with more questions!

L.A. Gnome’s TIPS:

  • Please donate! Donations of a suggested $5 per adult and $1 per child go towards supporting the marine environment.
  • Parking is cash only and costs $1 per hour.
  • Visit the aquarium gift shop. From seahorse-inspired jewelry, wine stoppers designed with glass jellyfish, to organic bags with cartoon whales, there is a fun gift for anyone.  Take home a souvenir inspired by the ocean and feel good knowing that all proceeds will go towards the aquarium’s research and education programs.
  • Take advantage of the museums seasonal programs. Between March and July this year you can meet the grunions. Every spring and summer, the aquarium hosts special evening programs for guests to view the mating ritual of the grunion fish as they kiss the shores of Cabrillo Beach!

For more information about this Los Angeles gem and their programs please visit:

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