Special Exhibition

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Leonardo Da Vinci: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer. logo
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A family of three observes a detailed recreation of The Last Supper

Journey into one of history’s greatest minds

On display through September 2, 2024–The California Science Center proudly presents the special exhibition LEONARDO DA VINCI: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer. Step into a world of wonder and innovation as you explore 30 ingenious inventions—including the Flying Bicycle, Great Organ, Mechanical Bat, and Great Kite—each built by contemporary Italian artisans according to da Vinci’s drawings. Mechanical wonders that were once only sketches on paper now stand before you, including over a dozen full-scale models. Marvel at the extraordinary detail of da Vinci’s designs, from the Mechanical Eagle suspended above with its 33 ft. majestic wingspan to the whimsical Helical Air Screw, each a testament to his visionary spirit and endless curiosity. Test your engineering skills by building da Vinci’s famous self-supporting bridge, climb aboard and operate his paddle boat, and engage in other hands-on science learning activities inside the exhibition.   

See digitally restored reproductions of his iconic artwork including the Last Supper and Lady with an Ermine. Discover details lost forever in the masterpiece as the displays reveal how each painting would have appeared when da Vinci created them. Each work is shown alongside interactive exhibits where you can learn more about the artwork and its restoration. 

Seen by over 5 million people worldwide, LEONARDO DA VINCI: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer. is a journey into one of history’s greatest minds to discover the engineering and artistry of his extraordinary creations.

Enhance your experience by seeing the IMAX movie Cities of the Future 3D and, much like da Vinci, discover the exciting innovations engineers are working on today—from electric flying cars to solar power beamed from space.  

Buy Tickets

General admission to the Science center is included with your DA VINCI exhibition ticket.

An exhibition by Leonardo3 Museum in collaboration with Running Subway Productions.  

Photos

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Mechanical Lion

The most famous project of which we have solid testimonies is the Mechanical Lion. This animal-like automaton was built on the commission of Pope Leo X so that it would walk, causing great astonishment, before King Francis I of France.

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Dream of Flight

Da Vinci was fascinated with the idea of being able to translate the forms of nature into a machine that would allow a man to fly.

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Great Organ

The drawing of the Great Organ is very small, but the design is extremely clear. Da Vinci places two of his double bellows on either side of the organ. The musician could, without help from others, pump air with his legs and play with both hands free, while the system provided a continuous air flow.

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Virtual Paddle Boat

Test your engineering by climbing aboard and operating Leonardo da Vinci's paddle boat, and engage in other hands-on science learning activities inside the exhibition.   

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Aerial Screw

This is not a helicopter, but an experiment with an aerial "screw." Da Vinci wanted to prove that air acts like a fluid and can be compressed. As the screw rotates, it should then twist into the air, lifting the machine.

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Flying Bike

A machine governed by just one pilot, the pose of the pilot recalls that of the modern cyclist—though we must bear in mind that bicycles did not yet exist in da Vinci's time.

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Paddle Boat

On the simplest designs of rotating paddle boats designed by da Vinci, the movement of the paddles is entrusted to the arms of the sailors driving the boat, while in this one the rotation arises from the alternating movement of the legs of a single sailor. The operator, leaning on the central mechanism, placed his feet on two boards that acted as pedals and moved his feet up and down. The alternating motion was converted into rotary motion of the wheel axle, which, moving in one direction, would give the boat a rectilinear motion.

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Multiple Sling

Da Vinci was inspired by the sling, an ancient weapon that allowed stone projectiles to be hurled forcefully. This machine was equipped with eight slings positioned at the end of each arm, which could hurl stones in any direction. The idea was to build an economical defensive weapon with easily available materials and without the complications of firearms.

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Multi Canon Gunship

The Multi Cannon Gunship is an armored war machine with sixteen cannons. By examining the mechanisms drawn in the central part, it is evident that this is a huge warship and not a land defense system, as used to be thought in the past. On the ground, in fact, a machine of this size would not have been able to move, even if pulled or moved by animals.

Image

Mechanical Lion

The most famous project of which we have solid testimonies is the Mechanical Lion. This animal-like automaton was built on the commission of Pope Leo X so that it would walk, causing great astonishment, before King Francis I of France.

Image

Dream of Flight

Da Vinci was fascinated with the idea of being able to translate the forms of nature into a machine that would allow a man to fly.

Image

Great Organ

The drawing of the Great Organ is very small, but the design is extremely clear. Da Vinci places two of his double bellows on either side of the organ. The musician could, without help from others, pump air with his legs and play with both hands free, while the system provided a continuous air flow.

Image

Virtual Paddle Boat

Test your engineering by climbing aboard and operating Leonardo da Vinci's paddle boat, and engage in other hands-on science learning activities inside the exhibition.   

Image

Aerial Screw

This is not a helicopter, but an experiment with an aerial "screw." Da Vinci wanted to prove that air acts like a fluid and can be compressed. As the screw rotates, it should then twist into the air, lifting the machine.

Image

Flying Bike

A machine governed by just one pilot, the pose of the pilot recalls that of the modern cyclist—though we must bear in mind that bicycles did not yet exist in da Vinci's time.

Image

Paddle Boat

On the simplest designs of rotating paddle boats designed by da Vinci, the movement of the paddles is entrusted to the arms of the sailors driving the boat, while in this one the rotation arises from the alternating movement of the legs of a single sailor. The operator, leaning on the central mechanism, placed his feet on two boards that acted as pedals and moved his feet up and down. The alternating motion was converted into rotary motion of the wheel axle, which, moving in one direction, would give the boat a rectilinear motion.

Image

Multiple Sling

Da Vinci was inspired by the sling, an ancient weapon that allowed stone projectiles to be hurled forcefully. This machine was equipped with eight slings positioned at the end of each arm, which could hurl stones in any direction. The idea was to build an economical defensive weapon with easily available materials and without the complications of firearms.

Image

Multi Canon Gunship

The Multi Cannon Gunship is an armored war machine with sixteen cannons. By examining the mechanisms drawn in the central part, it is evident that this is a huge warship and not a land defense system, as used to be thought in the past. On the ground, in fact, a machine of this size would not have been able to move, even if pulled or moved by animals.

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Exhibition Admission

Member View Details
Exhibition and IMAX Movie Combo - Add Both and Save!
  • Adult (age 18-64) - $25.95
  • Child (age 3-12) - $18.95
  • Student (age 13-17) - $23.95
  • Senior (age 65+) - $23.95
Exhibition Only
  • Adult (age 18-64) - $18.95
  • Child (age 3-12) - $13.95
  • Student (age 13-17) - $17.95
  • Senior (age 65+) - $17.95

Not a Member? Sign up online!

Non-Member View Details
Exhibition and IMAX Movie Combo - Add Both and Save!
  • Adult (age 18-64) - $28.95
  • Child (age 3-12) - $20.95
  • Student (age 13-17) - $25.95
  • Senior (age 65+) - $25.95
Exhibition Only
  • Adult (age 18-64) - $22.95
  • Child (age 3-12) - $15.95
  • Student (age 13-17) - $20.95
  • Senior (age 65+) - $20.95
Group (15 or More People) View Details
Exhibition and IMAX Movie Combo -  Add Both and Save!
  • School Groups (K-12) and chaperones - $15.00
  • Adults (age 18-64) including adult chaperones of youth groups - $25.00
  • Child (age 3-12) non-school groups - $19.00
  • Youth (age 13-17) non-school groups - $22.00
  • College students with ID - $23.00
  • Seniors (age 65+) - $23.00

Exhibition Only
  • School Groups (K-12) and chaperones - $11.25 
  • Adults (age 18-64) including adult chaperones of youth groups - $18.95 
  • Child (age 3-12) non-school groups - $13.95 
  • Youth (age 13-17) non-school groups - $15.95 
  • College students with ID - $17.95 
  • Seniors (age 65+) - $17.95 

See It In IMAX

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Cities of the Future horizontal key art
Image attribution
MacGillivray Freeman Films
Enhance your exhibition experience by seeing Cities of the Future 3D in our state-of-the-art IMAX Theater!

Leonardo da Vinci designed for the future—now they are, too! Discover the exciting innovations engineers are working on right now—from electric flying cars to smart buildings—that will help create a more sustainable future for us all. Add tickets for the DA VINCI exhibition and IMAX movie Cities of the Future 3D to your shopping cart to activate special savings!

What Fans Are Saying

"I got lost in the genius of Leonardo da Vinci in LEONARDO DA VINCI: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer. It’s a fascinating walk through & interactive exhibit, especially for those who want to take the time to read, and slowly explore the many models and reproductions of his work." - Anabel M.

"We saw the da Vinci exhibit and it was fascinating. So many interactive components that kept the whole family engaged." - Alison R.

"We visited the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Afterwards we watched the IMAX movie "Cities of the Future" in 3D.   A great chance to spend time with our fellow Rotarians and to get reminded of the change we can make in our own communities!" - Richard L.

"Highly recommend visiting this traveling exhibit while it’s here!" - Sarah P.

"It’s a must-see for all art-lovers and fans of the genius that is da Vinci!" - Donna B.

"The California Science Center's Leonardo da Vinci exhibit offers a unique opportunity to experience the genius of this Renaissance master. The collection includes some of his most famous works, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, as well as lesser-known but equally fascinating pieces. Visitors can examine da Vinci's use of sfumato and chiaroscuro, and learn about his pioneering work in engineering and flight. The exhibit also delves into da Vinci's studies of human anatomy, displaying his detailed drawings and models of the human body." - Kin F.

Seesaw invention by Leonard Da Vinci
Image attribution
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
Group Discount

Book your group visit! Groups of 15 or more people enjoy special savings by receiving one free ticket for every 15 tickets purchased. Advance reservations are required for groups. To reserve your group, please call (213) 744-2019.

Visitor Information

PLEASE NOTE: The time on your DA VINCI exhibition ticket reflects the time you can enter the exhibition queue. Wait times may vary.

DA VINCI Quick Tips View Details

Purchase your tickets online.

Same-day ticket sales online and at the Box Office are limited and subject to availability. Advance purchase online is strongly recommended. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your exhibition time to allow plenty of time for parking. Visit our website for Directions, Parking, Transportation, and up to date traffic alerts.

Please pick up your tickets at the Box Office if you reserved your tickets over the phone and selected the Will Call delivery method. ID required for pickup. 

General admission to the Science Center is included with your DA VINCI exhibition ticket.

Expected dwelling time: 60 minutes.

Target Audience: Families with children 7-14, and adults interested in art/science connection and da Vinci.

Location: 3rd floor, Weingart Gallery

      General Admission Information View Details

      We ask that all guests adhere to the following visitor policies.

      Belongings
      • The California Science Center does not provide storage or lockers. Bags and carry-on items larger than 11" x 14" are not permitted inside the exhibit. This includes but is not limited to coolers, luggage, backpacks, or other types of personal property. We strongly encourage leaving large bags and other personal property at home or in your car. The California Science Center is not responsible for any personal items left unattended.
      • Food or drink is not permitted inside the exhibit.
      Cameras
      • Please ensure that your camera activities respect the privacy of other visitors and do not distract our staff and volunteers.
      • Selfie sticks, tripods, stabilizers, gimbals, and monopods are not permitted inside the California Science Center.
      Accessibility View Details

      The exhibition is wheelchair accessible. Learn more about our accessibility and amenities.

      Shop the ExploraStore Collection View Details

      Find an incredible collection of DA VINCI inspired gifts at the ExploraStore.

      Kids make a lion face at the metal lion in the Da Vinci exhibition.
      Special Offers for Members

      Support a dynamic educational resource and enjoy a year of special experiences, including exhibition and IMAX movie previews and ticket discounts. Join today to launch your science adventure!

      Thank You to Our Community Partners

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      Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) logo
      Los Angeles Public Library logo
      Metro logo
      Metrolink logo
      Opera Italia logo
      Ralphs logo
      UCLA logo
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      Flight section of the da Vinci exhibition