For my Orange County readers, the Discovery Cube OC science museum off the I-5 in Santa Ana is a familiar sight. Well, there’s a NEW cube in LA! Discovery Cube Los Angeles science museum for kids, adults, teachers and the whole Southern California community opens to the public on Thursday, November 13th, 2014. My family got a first look at the new museum during a Family Media Preview day.
Directions to Discovery Cube Los Angeles: From Orange County, we took the 57 freeway to the 210 and exited at Foothill Blvd. There are plenty of signs directing you to “Discovery Cube Los Angeles.” Turn left onto Foothill Blvd. from the offramp. You’ll pass the Hansen Dam Recreation Area off to the left (including a swim lake, aquatic center, and water slide) until you come up to Osbourne Street. The Discovery Cube LA building at the corner of Foothill and Osbourne on your left. Turn left onto Osbourne. Keep driving on Osbourne and make your first left on Dronfield and looped back around to your left – like a big U-turn basically – to park outside the Cube across from the playground in the lot with the big solar panels.
[I know this part of the San Fernando Valley as Sunland or Sylmar — but this little area is actually called Lake View Terrace].
- Oh, the location is beautiful and relatively wild! Just asking to be explored with trails, bike paths, and playgrounds.
- It might be hard to get the kids inside once they see the massive universally accessible playground right outside the fence. The playground has ramps on the equipment and restrooms – with a toddler area, 2-5 year old play equipment and a 5-12 year old play structure.
- The Lakeview Terrace Library branch is on the other side of the playground at the back side of the museum – facing Osbourne Street.
- Ok, once inside there are so many highlights. It will be easier to show you, than to tell you!
Bean Sprouts is the in-house restaurant which is kid-friendly with a special low counter for the kids to order healthy food for themselves. They say their menu “caters to families with special dietary choices and challenges” which is pretty awesome. And adults will like the fun art and puns sprinkled throughout the restaurant and menu.
Beyond the restaurant is a 4-D theater where I saw a short animated version of The Lost World where kids learn about dinosaurs by experiencing them in the story. It brings out the message of being a “natural learner.” The littlest of kids might be frightened by the dark theater and loud dinosaurs jumping out. It was a lot of action with a happy ending.
I learned that one of my favorite features of the museum is actually a traveling exhibit – so it won’t be there permanently. Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice has 2 play tables where kids can set up pretend scenes with the dinosaurs. Plus a digging pit, some dress up, and a few life-size dinosaurs to touch. I predict you could probably spend your whole visit just at the dinosaur tables. Kids were squealing with delight and I loved coming back to the tables throughout the day to see the different scenarios the kids set up. This area is for Early Learners 5 and under only.
But right next door is the Imagination Playground room! You could spend a lot more time in here! I’d be here all day with these fun foam building materials. The kids get to use this wall:
To create something . . . anything . . .with these pieces:
Okay. Now we’ve just barely gotten in the door here. We haven’t even hit the Elements Science Store gift shop yet — which would be a great place to go gift shopping since a portion of the proceeds go to support the museum. AND teachers will be able to get a discount here once they get the system set up.
This place feels much bigger than Discovery Cube OC — but the OC campus is also close to completion of their expansion. The Discovery Science Foundation which supports both campuses is helping to “inspire, educate, and impact” through the core initiatives of: STEM proficiency, Early Learning, Healthy Living, and Environmental Stewardship. The only way to give you an idea of how BIG it feels is to show you:
Planetary Research Station
Los Angeles River
Helicopter Tours (Movie)
And so much more! There’s an Aquavator, Home Inspector Training Course (with computer tablets) so kids can go around and rate the resource efficiency and sustainability of the household, the Discovery Market, Race to Waste, and an upstairs area which will eventually be built out with Science of Hockey and other traveling exhibits. I’m not going to show you it ALL, because you need to see it for yourself!
TEACHERS: This place is set up as a resource for you! Make sure you research the website to see what they can offer you. A big part of their mission is taking science out into the local community.
- Parking is free
- 2 restrooms near the front of the museum, 1 at the back and another upstairs. The restrooms have lower wash basins and a few child-size toilets. There is also a “Family Care Center” behind the Early Learners zone and family restroom options.
- There are drinking fountains and also stations to refill water bottles.
- Official Discovery Cube OC website
- Official Discovery Cube LA website
- Learn how to become a member which is reciprocal between the OC and LA campuses (with many more benefits)
- We left our house in OC at 7:40 and got to the Foothill exit around 9am to have breakfast at the local Ranch Side Cafe. Then we got to the museum right when it opened at 10am. We headed home at 1pm after a picnic lunch on the lawn outside. I would allow for an all day trip with ample time for playing outside!