New family destination promises to be summer’s “hot ticket”! The Skirball Cultural Center opens Noah’s Ark at the Skirball—an innovative, delight-filled destination for children and families of all backgrounds—on June 26, 2007. Inspired by the ancient flood story of Noah’s Ark, this indoor and outdoor attraction offers a multi-sensory, interactive experience. It invites visitors to board a gigantic wooden ark and to play, climb, build, discover, nurture, problem-solve and collaborate alongside hundreds of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind animals.
Five years in the making and occupying an 8,000-square-foot gallery space, Noah’s Ark at the Skirball will remain on view permanently. Affirming that people must work together for a brighter future, Noah’s Ark is integral to the Skirball Cultural Center’s mission to make connections within and among families, generations and cultures.
The Noah’s Ark galleries were designed by Seattle-based Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, in consultation with the Skirball’s renowned architect, Moshe Safdie. The lofty ark spaces are populated with hundreds of fanciful animal puppets and figures, many of them kinetic. These have been created by Brooklyn-based designer/puppeteer Chris M. Green and by architect Alan Maskin.
With its striking design, appealing animals and creative activities, Noah’s Ark at the Skirball promises to be L.A.’s new, “must see” destination. In preparation for high-level visitor demand, the Skirball has instituted an on-line pre-ticketing system.
The Visitor Experience
Noah’s Ark at the Skirball is conceived as a journey, taking visitors on an ark voyage from a stormy world to dry land. Visitors are welcomed into a pre-flood zone, offering hands-on opportunities to make thunder, rain and wind using low-tech, mechanical sound devices and invented instruments. Upon entering the galleries, visitors mingle with pairs of life-size animal puppets from the five continents, all crafted from recycled materials—or, in many cases, everyday objects such as bottle caps, bicycle parts, baseball mitts, croquet balls, mop heads and rear-view mirrors.
While continuing to interact with the animals, visitors will help construct a floor-to-ceiling ark, load animals two by two and climb aboard. They will help the animals settle in, unpack shipping crates, climb rafters, feed the animals, clean up the living quarters and work together to keep everyone on board safe.
Noah’s Ark at the Skirball culminates in a post-flood zone, where a special light feature transmits a rainbow across the gallery. Here, visitors can participate in rotating activities, including art making, storytelling, nature experiments, creative movement and spontaneous daily “happenings” initiated by a corps of multilingual gallery staff. Upon exiting the gallery space, visitors encounter additional activities and performances in an adjacent 350-seat amphitheater. As a final flourish, visitors can play in the soft mists emitted by the rainbow installation in the arroyo garden.
Noah’s Ark is intended to be a destination that families and school groups return to again and again. Programming, ark props, folk art displays and games will be replaced regularly. In addition, field trips for pre-K through second grade students will be offered during the school year, as well as after-school visits for students in renowned Los Angeles–based programs like Para Los Niños and L.A.’s BEST.
About the Skirball Cultural Center
One of the world’s most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions, the Skirball Cultural Center seeks to welcome and inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity, to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball features an extraordinary museum, changing exhibitions, engaging music, theater, comedy, film, family and literary programs, classes, Zeidler’s Café and Audrey’s Museum Store. More than 500,000 people visit the Skirball each year. Its acclaimed school program annually serves over 50,000 students and teachers, of which 85% are from public schools.
Noah’s Ark at the Skirball will be open Tuesday–Friday, 12:00–5:00 p.m., and weekends, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
NOTE: It is always a good idea to verify date, time, location and other information prior to going.
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