California Science Center

Visiting the California Science Center

Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center
Howie Muzika/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The California Science Center is one of the West's best science museums, especially for curious children whose parents help them learn. It's roomy, offers a wide variety of exhibits on timely topics and provides some interesting insights into things scientific.

Unlike similar institutions in other locations, the California Science Center has enough hands-on exhibits to go around, and even on a busy day, you don't have to wait long to try any of them. They also rely more on interesting ideas and demonstrations, than gee-whiz gadgets or computer-aided graphics, and have an exceptional life sciences section.

And the most exciting thing? Space Shuttle Endeavour made its final journey to the California Science Center and is on display in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. The exhibition is accompanied by the Endeavour Together: Parts & People exhibit, featuring artifacts from Endeavour, and the external tank. 

California Science Center With Kids

If you visit the California Science Center with children under 7, the Discovery Rooms in Creative World have exhibits specially geared toward younger children. Visitors seem to especially get a kick out of the hands- on Slime Bar, where kids can make their very own batch of slimy, squishy slime.

They also have a number of Science Spectacular Shows. Live shows and demonstrations where science is the star and the audience is entertained.  The Kelp Forrest Dive Show teaches audiences about the 18,000-gallon kelp forest tank while talking to a real diver inside the tank. Check with the information desk for a daily schedule.

The California Science Center also has one of the best technical museum book and gift shops around. Besides the normal science-based games, geeky t-shirts and souvenirs, they stock an excellent selection of books for all ages. You can grab a bite to eat at Trimana - Grill, Market and Coffee Bar, serving up hot and cold meals, light snacks and desserts.

If you're only visiting the normal exhibits and not seeing an IMAX film or a special exhibit, you don't need to stop at the ticket booths. Just walk on in. Admission is free, but you can make a donation to the California Science Center inside if you want.

What You Need to Know About the California Science Center 

Admission is free to permanent galleries, but for IMAX films or special exhibitions, there is a ticket charge. Reservations are required for Space Shuttle Endeavour on weekends and holidays. Reserve tickets in advance on their website.  There is a parking fee.  

Allow 3 to 4 hours - longer if you're geeky curious of if you want to see an IMAX film or a special California Science Center exhibit. The best time to visit is weekday afternoons or weekends. Traffic in the area gets crowded during USC football games. Check their website for traffic advisories

Where is the California Science Center Located?

California Science Center
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA
California Science Center Website

Exit the Harbor Freeway (I-110) at Exposition Boulevard and follow the signs to Exposition Park. Given the scarcity of street parking in the area, it's best to pay to park at the California Science Center lot. The exhibits start before you get inside, so don't just hustle through the entry plaza - stop to take a look around as you go.

Instead of worrying about traffic and parking, try leaving your car at home and ride the Metro Expo Line, getting off at the Expo/Park station. The California Science Center is located 0.2 miles from the station, on the south side of the Rose Garden. 

If You Liked The California Science Center, You May Also Like

If you want to have fun at a science museum, I recommend the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Exploratorium in San Francisco