California Science Center Overview

Fact Sheet

Mission:          

The California Science Center aspires to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.

Background:   

The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, school groups, adults and even young children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. Located in historic Exposition Park, the Science Center is comprised of the Howard F. Ahmanson Building, containing permanent and special exhibit galleries, and the Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation, used for educational and professional development programs.

Permanent Exhibitions:     

Ecosystems explores the links between the living and physical worlds, featuring an unprecedented blend of live plants and animals, and hands-on science exhibits in 11 immersive environments – unique among science centers in the United States.

Creative World examines the environment humans build to meet their needs for structures, transportation and communications.  From computer technology and digital imaging to solar cars and earthquake-resistant buildings, Creative World showcases the wonders and consequences of human innovation.

World of Life probes the commonalties of the living world, from the single-celled bacterium to the 100 trillion-celled human being.  Five additional galleries within this exhibit area feature the processes of creating, controlling, supplying, energizing and defending life.

SKETCH Foundation Gallery Air and Space Exhibits presents real aerospace artifacts along with hands-on exhibits that show how scientific principles affect air and spacecraft design.

Endeavour Together: Parts & People celebrates Endeavour’s many scientific achievements and strong connection to California where all of the orbiters were built. The Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion is the temporary home for Endeavour where guests can see the orbiter up close. Outside of the Pavilion is the last flight-qualified external tank, known as ET-94, also available for viewing. The new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, an expansion envisioned as part of the Science Center’s 25-year master plan, will feature Endeavour as the centerpiece along with engaging hands-on science exhibits.

(*Fact sheets are available for Ecosystems, Creative World, World of Life and SKETCH Foundation Gallery Air and Space Exhibits, and Space Shuttle Endeavour.)

Exhibit Highlights:       

Ecosystems is home to a 188,000-gallon kelp tank populated with more than 1,500 live fish, kelp and other marine life. The acrylic tunnel allows guests to feel surrounded by the sea life found off the Southern California coast.

Creative World’s earthquake simulator shows the safety features used to construct the Science Center; and nearby hands-on exhibits demonstrate liquefaction and how reinforced vs. non-reinforced construction can determine the sturdiness of a structure.

World of Life is where Tess, the 50-foot body simulator and star of BodyWorks, and her cartoon sidekick Walter demonstrate how the body maintains balance or homeostasis in a 15-minute multimedia show.

The SKETCH Foundation Gallery Air and Space Exhibits collection includes aircraft such as the Northrop F-20 Tigershark and Northrop T-38 Talon jet fighters, as well as actual flown space capsules from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo-Soyuz missions.

In addition to seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour up close, guests can also view the SPACEHAB logistics module and a main engine on loan from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NASA. A model of Endeavour’s new, permanent home, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, shows how the orbiter will be displayed in the launch position.

Outdoor Exhibits:          

The Robert H. Lorsch Family Pavilion, a massive open-air drum 88 feet high and 100 feet in diameter, features the following intriguing structures:

-       The Aerial, a hanging sculpture of 1,578 gold and palladium balls (3-7 inches in diameter), is suspended high above the DNA Bench.

-       The DNA Bench is a sculpture representing a cross section of the DNA strand. The bench, resembling a ring of rose petals from the aerial perspective, is 30 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. It is flat on top for visitor seating and also features engraved, thought-provoking quotations and images.

-       Together, these two exhibits – the Aerial and DNA Bench – inspire reflections on life, from the microscopic level to the outer reaches of the universe.

The California Gate, at first glance, appears to be a 13-foot tall sculpture consisting of two abstract shapes of granite. A closer look reveals that the space between the two granite pieces is the outline of the state of California. The sculpture demonstrates the use of positive and negative space.

The Roy A. Anderson Blackbird Exhibit and Garden offers an up-close view of the only A-12 Blackbird trainer ever built

The Giant Lever Exhibit allows guests to lift a Toyota truck, showing how levers can make it easy to lift heavy loads.

IMAX Theater:          

With a 7-stories high and 90-foot wide movie screen and a six-channel surround sound system, the IMAX Theater’s films, shown in classic 2D and 3D format, immerses film-goers in breath-taking sights and sounds as they cross continents, travel oceans and visit outer space.

Additional Science Center Highlights

      -           State-of-the-art Donald P. Loker Conference Center with teleconferencing and videoconferencing capabilities for meetings and Center                              corporate events.

      -           Weingart Special Exhibits Gallery and S. Mark Taper Foundation Sky Court Gallery, where guests explore changing exhibits from other museums as well as the Science Center.

-           The 4,000 square foot ExploraStore is complete with fun and educational, interactive products, books, toys and films.

Additional Learning Facilities:    

 Science Center School, a collaboration of the California Science Center and Los Angeles Unified School District, is a 52,000 square foot K-5 public elementary school with an enriched math- and science-focused curriculum for students from the neighborhoods surrounding Exposition Park. The school is located in the historic Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation and in the adjacent north building. It consists of 28 classrooms, a library/media center and multi-purpose dining room.

The Science Center’s Education department offers community and public programs, and provides professional development for educators, parents, and community-based organizations. Features include a multimedia library, classroom laboratories and the Big Lab, an area with giant experimentation platforms in the Wallis Annenberg Building.

Funding:                     

The California Science Center is a department of the State of California. The affiliated nonprofit California Science Center Foundation provides support for exhibits, education programs and services.

Visitors:                      

Averaging 2.4 million annually, including 450,000 school children.

Hours:                        

Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.          

Admission:                 

Admission to Science Center exhibits is free. Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibition requires timed reservations ($2-$3) during peak attendance periods which varies due to seasons. IMAX Theater tickets range from $8.95 for adults to $6.75 for children; discounts available for groups of 15+.

Address & Parking:                

California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90037. Enter the visitor lot at Figueroa and 39th / Exposition Park Drive. Parking is $12.00 per car, $30.00 for buses or oversized vehicles.

Food Service:             

Trimana, IMAX concessions, catering facilities.

Group Tour Information & Reservations:              

Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more for both the Science Center and IMAX Theater: Phone (213) 744-2019 to make a reservation.

General Information:

 (323) SCIENCE (323-724-3623) or visit www.californiasciencecenter.org

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