California Science Center in Los Angeles


California Science Center in Los Angeles

700 State Drive in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California 90037

Written by Scott Messmore

The California Science Center is new and improved organization that was born of the old California Museum of Science and Industry. The California Science Center is being developed into four themed `worlds' that illustrate different aspects of science and our surrounding environment. Creative World and World of Life are presently open while the World of the Pacific and Worlds Beyond are under construction. The California Science Center also has an IMAX theater and several examples of public art on display. The IMAX Theater can seat 480 people and has a movie screen that is seven stories tall and 90-feet wide. The California Science Center uses a combination of exhibits, hands-on displays and experiments to teach about the different aspects of science and technology. Kids can ride a High Wire Bicycle that is suspended 43 feet above the floor. Parents will enjoy public sculptures such as the Hypar, an artwork that unfolds to reach a height of five stories.

Creative World

Creative World is one of the four-theme world exhibits presently open to the public and shows how human beings use technology to enhance their lives. In the Communication area visitors learn how message are drafted and sent, in Transportation, fuel is shown powering different vehicles and in Structures, learn how buildings and homes are built to last. Visitors can play virtual volleyball games, build their own structures and see if they withstand earthquake tremors, play with crash test dummies or pilot a virtual hovercraft across water and dry land.

World of Life

In World Of Life, visitors learn that all living things have plenty in common with each other: they all receive energy in some form, take in supplies and eject waste matter, react to the outside world, defend themselves and pass on genetic codes to future generations. In the Cell Lab, one-celled organisms can be seen with microscopes, Life Source teaches about reproduction, the Energy Factory shows how humans and animals get energy from food sources and Defense Line shows how different organisms defend themselves for survival. Visitors can see baby chicks hatch, use a thermal camera to take a picture of the heat emanating from their bodies or learn how giraffes pump blood around their super-long bodies. In Body Works, visitors learn how the human body works by watching Tess, a 50-foot, animated, see-through model. You can see blood move around the body, learn how organs work with each other and watch the energy expended during a typical game of soccer. Tess is big; she can lift one of her arms 27 feet above her and lift a 30-foot long leg up in the air.

Hands On Science Camp

During the summer months, the California Science Center offers Hands-On Science Camp to teach kids about the sciences and have a lot of fun doing it. Destination: Catalina is a family weekend trip to Catalina Island to discover the island's unique environment. Creepy Critters is a program for first and second graders with hands-on contact with insects, frogs and lizards. Sports Science teaches kids why pitchers wind up before throwing a baseball, Blast into Space will have fifth and six graders building and launching their own rockets while Masters of Science teaches middle school students the ideas and impact of the great scientists of history. For more information about the Hands-On Science Program, call 213-744-7440.

Science Spectacular

Science Spectacular is a weekend program using stage shows to teach different scientific principles. In one experiment, an empty egg is filled with hydrogen gas. The gas is lit and when it combines with more oxygen the egg explodes in front of the audience. Shows are scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

Hours of Operation and Location

The California Science Center is located at 700 State Drive in Los Angeles. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission to the museum exhibits is free for everyone. Admission to the IMAX movie theater ranges from $3.75 to $7.50. Groups of 15 people or more can call for special rates and information at 213-744-2019. Parking is available and 39th Street and Figueroa for $5.

For more information about the California Science Center, call 323-SCIENCE.

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