Our California Science Center Visit with Kids

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Kids love science! And visiting the California Science Center is the perfect place for them to explore their own scientific interests. There is so much to see and do at the science center, from space exploration to seeing live animals in person. If you have the opportunity to visit, here are a few things you might want to know beforehand.


Things to Do at the California Science Center

What we love about the science center is that there’s just so much for Noah and Olivia to do, especially hands-on, that I know that no matter what we do first they will have a blast!

But now that Noah is older he does have preferences and we tend to tackle that first.

So if this will be your first time visiting the science center, the best way to start is by grabbing a map and picking something that sounds interesting and gets your kids excited. The kids can then use their creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving skills on the interactive exhibits.

Also, the science center’s permanent exhibits are broken into 5 main areas– Life! Beginnings, Ecosystems, Air and Space, Discovery Room and Blackbird Exhibit and Garden.

A little heads-up though, due to covid-19 some of these interactive or permanent exhibits might be closed so make sure to check with an employee beforehand. If you choose not to or forget(which happens), they do have signs in front of the exhibits letting you know this information as well.

So on to the science center’s exhibits!

Life! Beginnings

Looking for an exhibit that is all about life cycles, humans or animals alike? Well, this is the exhibit for you!

Different galleries in this area explore human life cycles, the stages of animal lives and more. There is also an exhibit all about the womb and the human journey.

A side note: This exhibit was closed the day we went because California science center is making changes to this exhibit at the moment and won’t reopen until June 18.

Ecosystems

ecosystem at the science center

Looking to explore natures habitats? Then make your way to the Ecosystems! Walk through the different types of habitats found in nature and learn all about how they work together.

Habitats you can explore at the science center:

  • Kelp Forest – Learn all about the importance of the kelp forest and see live animals in action
  • Rocky Shore – Find out what it really takes to live the rocky shore life; touch and learn with sea stars, sea urchins, anemones and more
  • Desert – Discover the desert landscape and how animals survive in this harsh environment
  • Island Zone – Explore what it takes to live on an island and find out about the different animals that call these islands home
  • Ocean Zone – Take a trip through a tropical Island and learn all about the habitat and the animals that live in it.
  • L.A Zone – Explore the Los Angeles landscape and discover how different plants, animals and habitats have helped shape it
  • Global Zone – Watch Earth’s cycle of air, water, land and life in action and see how climate change affects our planet.

Noah and Olivia love this exhibit. There’s so much to see and do but you will probably have to wait to go in to some of these exhibit due to covid protocol.

Again, this is mostly because the California Science Center wants there visitors to enjoy the exhibits while feeling safe.

Tip: Have a parent, friend or family member wait in line while the littles go out and explore other science center exhibits that are not busy or required waiting.

Air and Space

curiosity inspiring science learning at the science center

Have a little one that’s interested in space? Make sure to stop by Air and Space to learn all about the artifacts and have the little have some fun with the hands-on activities.

What I enjoyed about what the California Science Center did here was that it’s all spread out so there’s plenty of room for everyone to explore.

Discovery Room

California Science Center has done a great job with the discover room. This is your go-to for stimulating curiosity, inspiring science and creating great experience where kids can have fun with hands-on activities. Future scientist and engineers under the age of 7 are welcome!

Just a side note: this room was closed during our visit due to covid. I encourage you to check with an employee to see if it’s open during your visit.

Endeavour Experience

California Science Center has gone above and beyond with this exhibit. This is a hands-on experience in which you can explore NASA’s space shuttle, Endeavour. Not only will it provide insight into the history of this craft and how these types of vehicles work but also allow for some great photo ops!

The Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibition is broken into two different groups:

  • Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion – Here you will find the space shuttle itself. Make sure to wait to enter the exhibit
  • Endeavour Together: Parts & People – This exhibit is all about celebrating the Endeavour program and learn all about the process

Side Note: Depending on the time you visit the California Science Center, you may or may not have to wait in line to see Endeavour. I recommend to visit during lunch hours as it does get busier after 1PM.

IMAX Theater

Want a more immersing experience? Then make sure to schedule your visit and enjoy a great 3D show.

Show times and shows vary, so make sure to plan ahead and see what’s playing the day you attend.

If you have littles and they are sensitive to loud sounds skip this activity but your older kids will definitely have a blast!

This is not a free experience. You do need to purchase a ticket and reservations are required.

Special exhibits

The California Science Center has a number of special exhibits and are always changing. During the time of our visit, the Art of the Brick exhibit was on display.

We unfortunately did not buy tickets for this event but from what other visitors said and from what the gift shop was offering I can definitely say it is worth checking out.

We do plan to come back to visit the science center later this summer and will be purchasing tickets to see the Art of the Brick exhibit, especially because we know Noah we love this.

If you have seen the Art of the Brick, do let me know your thoughts on it on the comments below!

Things to Know Before You Visit the California Science Center

Before you get your family in the car and head to the California Science Center, make sure you take these into consideration:

Hours of Operation

The science center is open daily from 10:00AM to 5:00PM; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Location: 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA

Admission

Admission is free, but due to Covid-19 timed entry reservations are required, so make sure to plan ahead and book early.

Special Exhibit and Imax Ticket Prices

Even though you do not need to pay for admission to visit the science center you do, however, have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Imax theater and science center’s special exhibit.

  • Special Exhibit: Adults $19.75, Children $12.75, students and seniors $17.75
  • IMAX Theater: Adults $8.95, Children $6.75, students and seniors $7.95

Do keep in mind that if you are a member or become a member your pricing will differ.

Parking Fees

Parking is available for $12 until 5:00PM. After that it will go up to $15.

Also, depending on the day, you might have an easy time finding parking.

Safety Precautions

The California Science Center is doing their best to follow and implement all state and local health protocols and as a parent I definitely enjoyed seeing so many hand-washing stations around most exhibition rooms. It be nice if they could keep these even after covid-19 becomes a thing of the past.

california science center

Tips for Visiting the California Science Center

special exhibits at the california science center

Ready to visit the California Science Center? Here’s a few of my recommendations:

  • Book early
  • Be ready to wait in line to visit popular exhibits
  • Be patient
  • Expect to not find a place to sit to eat lunch
  • Let your littles know that they may or may not be able to visit certain exhibits
  • Be ready to wear a mask ( anyone 2 and older has to)
  • Bring comfortable shoes
  • Most importantly, have fun!

The California Science Center is a great place to take the kids and now that summer is here, this is a great day trip for the family to enjoy together. In fact, Noah and Olivia are looking forward to their next trip here!

So if you haven’t been yet, plan your next outing today and let me know how it goes. And leave a comment below about your favorite exhibit so we can all learn more about it too!

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