The Tyrannosaurus rex is still hunting down the Triceratops in the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where one of the most dazzling exhibits can be found in the Gem and Mineral Hall. Head into the darkness and seek out the 2,000 or so glittering specimens in an amazing array of psychedelic colors and otherworldly shapes: crystals and minerals from deep underground, meteorites from outer space, and enough gold, silver and precious gems to stun the eyes. Just a fraction of the museum's collection, these beauties range from California gold to the first Martian meteorite known to have landed in the United States. Many of the specimens have strange names (benitoite, rhodochrosite, spessartine) that even a sci-fi B-movie couldn't dream up. And when you see the minerals that glow fluorescent orange, yellow, red and green, you might feel as if you've been transported to such a movie. (Think Chronicle, without the nosebleeds).

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