Edutainment, a fusion of entertainment and education, is something that has been proven to help kids with learning important concepts. Kids use play to interact with and learn from the world on their own terms. At the California Science Center on 700 Exposition Park Dr, kids can enjoy hands-on activities that help teach topics ranging from astronomy to physics to biology. Here is our take on this must see museum.
What to See
The science center’s exhibits are spread over three floors.
On the first floor, kids can explore the Aquarium and Forest, a hands-on nature experience. Also, visitors can see what happens to trees that rot in the Rot Room. They can experiment with the powerful forces of water in the River Zone. Finally, the onsite store ExploraStore is here where everyone can find great science apparel to take home.
The second floor is divided into Ecosystems, World of Life, and Creative World.
In Ecosystems, visitors can explore eight zones representing different ecological worlds. In World of Life, everyone can explore five “life process galleries,” take a trip down Life Tunnel to see the connections between all organisms and visit Tess, a fifty-foot tall body simulator. At Creative World, kids can explore creation and invention such as earthquake-resistant buildings and solar power. They even offer an Earthquake Simulator!
The third level is dedicated to rotating exhibits. In our case, we got to see a Pixar exhibit, which we’ve detailed below.
This Imax features a seven-story screen with 12k watts of sound. When we visited, they were showing three 3D movies: Dream Big, about engineering marvels, Secret Ocean, which displays beautiful underwater environments, and A Beautiful Planet, which showcases footage of the Earth from space.
The Endeavour Space Shuttle
This onsite space shuttle features two levels of amazing space facts and exhibits. What got the most visitor attention was the shuttle’s bathroom facilities.
Our son loved the simulator experience, which costs six dollars a person and lasts eight minutes. The experience simulates driving the space shuttle and repairing the Hubble space telescope. Visitors can also watch Mission 26: The Big Endeavor, which displays photographs of the complicated journey the space shuttle had from Florida all the way to California.
Currently, the Science Center is hosting a Pixar Exhibit. This exhibition provides visitors with a look into the process behind making Pixar films. Pixar is one of the greatest innovators in animation, offering incredible technologies to the field, and here guests can see all this science and engineering behind these popular movies.
Visitors should prepare for some lines, in particular on the weekend. However, the wait was very much worth it. I thought it was the perfect place to get kids off electronic devices and introduce them to the world of creating their own art. While here, we also saw a wide variety of visitors, including those pushing strollers, those walking with service dogs, kids as young as three and older people with canes.
We found the first area dark and a bit stuffy. However, we enjoyed the spaciousness and light of the second area. The introductory five-minute movie highlights the purpose of the exhibit. The film and the display itself emphasize the copious amount of work Pixar puts into each scene in every one of their movies. Watchers learn about the pipeline of production for movies. They can enjoy hands-on activities where people could change aspects in animated scenes like lighting and facial expressions. Visitors can also listen to stories from members of the production teams. One leaves with a higher level of respect for Pixar and any artist after visiting and learning about how much work is involved. Kids interested in animation will especially love this exhibit.
The Rose Garden
This place is an excellent way to end the day or have something for a lunch break. The Rose Garden is a beautiful restaurant outside the Science Center in Exposition Park. Families can dine outside on picnic tables and walk around admiring the beautiful roses in different sections.
Inside the Science Center
The Science Center features various eateries that pretty much cover everyone’s dietary needs. From a pizza joint to a grilling venue and dessert place families can find everything necessary to make their day a success. Even those with dietary restrictions can find plenty of options.
Admission and Hours
The science museum is open daily from ten AM to five PM. Admission to the museum’s permanent exhibits is free! Parents can purchase tickets for the Imax movies and special exhibits online in advance. Admission to Imax costs $8.50 for adults, $5.25 for children aged four to twelve, and $6.25 for kids aged thirteen to seventeen, college students, and seniors. There are discounts for groups, museum members, and those who want to watch multiple shows in a row. The center’s upcoming Body Worlds exhibit costs $19.95 for adults, $12.95 for children aged four to twelve, and $16.95 for kids aged thirteen to seventeen, college students, and seniors. Just like with the Imax shows, there are group rates and discounts for museum members, and visitors can also purchase an Imax combo ticket.
Autism Travel Tips:
- There’s plenty of places around the museum for anyone to sit and rest.
- Everyone in the family should wear layers and comfy shoes since there is a lot of walking involved.
- Parents and kids can try the high wire bike placed strategically next to the entrance while waiting in various lines.
- One of the key charms to this museum is that it encourages kids to touch things. Parents should bring hand wipes and sanitizer.
- The museum has lots of great selfie spots for families to create memories. Parents should bring a smartphone or camera.
- Though there were plenty of signs explaining the steps to different exhibits, our son who is considered high functioning had some issues understanding a few of them.