Explore and Learn
The spectacular 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium has a viewing area that is 10 feet high and 21 feet wide. View a list of current fish in the aquarium.
The Geologic Strata Wall
This strata model represents the most spectacular range of geologic formations found outside of the world’s oceans. Included in this model are successive layers of rock strata extending from the very bottom of the Grand Canyon, representing rocks almost 5 billion years old, through strata representing formations found in Bryce and Zion National Parks in southern Utah. The recent deposits of the Los Angeles Basin, which can change with floods, appear at the very top layer of the model. The chart next to the rock formation displays the name and approximate age of each of the rock strata, and the various creatures and plants that lived during that time period.
How it was created
Since it was important that this learning experience reflect scientifically accurate data, we invited a geology professor to work alongside our graphic design consultant. Once the designs were complete, the professor provided samples of the actual rock strata that we wanted to represent on the wall. The sculptor used these samples for texture reference as he carved each layer out of a wet stucco cement material. The sculptor carefully carved each of the animals and plants shown on the time chart out of clay. Molds were taken from the clay pieces and the final resin plastic elements were made. All the pieces were then mounted to the wall outside the Art Studio. This colorful and tactile permanent display brings the history of the earth beneath our feet to life.
Where you will find the Geologic Strata Wall
The Geologic Strata Wall is located on the northwest corner of the Children’s Library. The Geologic Strata Wall can be found outside of the Children’s Art Studio on the right side of the entrance.
STAN™ the Tyrannosaurus rex
This magnificent replica of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, known as STAN™, was discovered in South Dakota and excavated by the Black Hills Institute staff in 1992. STAN™ is one of the most scientifically accurate examples of a Tyrannosaurus rex in existence today and his skull is the most complete ever found. STAN™ lived on the earth during the late Cretaceous period approximately 65 million years ago. Posed with his huge skull reaching forward as though walking through the forest, STAN™ is over 40 feet long, measuring 13 feet high at the hip.
The Black Hills Institute describes STAN’s™ discovery: “In the spring of 1987, amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison was exploring outcrops of the Hell Creek Formation near the town of Buffalo, South Dakota, when he came across a large pelvis weathering out of a sandy cliff face 100 feet above the prairie. During that summer, Stan spent his free time attempting to uncover what was obviously the skeleton of a large dinosaur. It wasn’t until the spring of 1992 that Black Hills Institute workers began excavation of the dinosaur, which was named after his discoverer.”
How it was created
The staff of the Black Hills Institute carefully made molds from the real STAN™ fossil skeleton. Our cast replica was hand-poured, using high quality resin, with a finish that looks and feels like the original specimen. STAN™ was shipped in crates to the Cerritos Library and carefully assembled in one long day. The staff eagerly participated in uncrating and sorting the hundreds of replicated fossil bones. They were then carefully assembled by paleontologist Peter L. Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute, the same team that pieced together the original STAN™ to make the replica for the Cerritos Library. An almost invisible, but strong steel framework supports STAN™ and keeps him firmly in his place. After STAN™ was assembled, his rock base was installed around the supporting steel framework.