Activities & Resources
California Science Center555in Los Angeles, CA 90037
about California Science Center:
The experience starts before you even get inside the museum, with Science Plaza and the Lorsch Pavilion: magenta skylights cast moving shadows of color over the ground below - with sculptures accessible for exploring and paving stones that pose thought-provoking questions.
Once you get inside you'll find the ExploraStore, a great museum gift shop, and all the food any family could want: McDonalds', Taco Bell, and a regular cafeteria-type restaurant featuring sandwiches, salads, pizza and snacks. A large, well-lit and clean eating area has loads of tables; there are also tables outside. High chairs and booster seats abound. And you can find clean bathrooms with changing tables on every level of the museum.
Take the see-through escalator, or the elevator, to the second level for the World of Life gallery featuring interactive exhibits that show there are basic functions all living things must do in order to survive.
Younger kids will enjoy watching incubated eggs hatch into baby chicks or tadpoles turn into frogs. And there are plenty of exhibits to fascinate and educate older kids, too. Cries of gross or cool can be heard as they watch an actual heart surgery projected onto a patient in Surgery Theater.
Creative World offers hands-on exhibitions about communication, transportation, and structures. Experience a simulated earthquake to learn how buildings can be made structurally sound; drive a virtual vehicle to safely learn how different vehicles operate; or have a conversation with people in a variety of locations in the Science Center through a video hookup.
Do leave plenty of time for the Discovery Rooms. Here parents and young children can explore science themes from the main galleries through a variety of activities. The World of Life Discovery Room lets kids get an up-close look at live fish, rats, birds, scorpions, tarantulas, and turtles. Questions abound as parents and children go through the contents of the Discovery Boxes that cover everything from the digestive system to sea shells. The Creative World Discovery Room, with its own set of Discovery Boxes, also lets kids see themselves on TV in the recording studio and 'build' a two-story house. Both Discovery Rooms are closed-off and have child-proofed toddler areas with age-appropriate toys and books.
Located on the third level, 43 feet above the atrium floor, on a one-inch cable, the High Wire Bicycle beckons to those old enough, big enough and BRAVE enough to try it. Kids must be 4' 4" tall, and all riders must have closed shoes. Note that an extra fee applies.
Nearby is the entrance to the Weingart Special Exhibits Gallery, featuring exhibits from other museums. Exhibits in this gallery change three to four times a year.
Located east of the Science Center's main building, the SKETCH Foundation Gallery, featuring air and space exhibits, stands as one of the unique features of Exposition Park, with its dramatic concrete and metal design by world-renown architect, Frank Gehry. The gallery is the only place west of the Mississippi to house a collection of actual flown space capsules from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.
Ecosystems opened in 2010, featuring more than 400 species of live plants and animals with hands-on science exhibits in 11 immersive environments ranging from a living kelp forest to a polar ice wall; from a desert flash flood to the urban ecology of Los Angeles.
The IMAX Theater, just across from the science center, shows films on a movie screen 7-stories high, making you feel part of the action. Movies are about 40 minutes long and start every hour. Ticket prices are Adults $8.25; Seniors and Students $6; Children $5. Call 213.744.2019 for schedules, advance ticket sales or info on multi-show discounts and group sales.
The Science Center also hosts numerous summer camp programs, including family camp weekends, programs for preschoolers, and camps for kids ages six and up (through high school seniors). A spring break program is also offered.
The Science Center has conference space available that can be reserved for corporate or private parties.
Membership for families begins at the $65 level, and includes free passes for IMAX films, parking and attractions, as well as special members-only activities throughout the year.