The California Science Center is one of the best kid-friendly museums in Los Angeles, and it’s one of the best California Science Museums overall! This guide to LA’s Science Center will tell you all you need to know: Location, Hours and the best Exhibits, both permanent and special ones.
There are plenty of things for kids to do, touch, and experience first-hand at the Science Center Los Angeles. All the exhibits encourage kids to ask questions and find out answers about “how” and “why” things are the way they are. And don’t miss seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour while you’re there – or consider seeing an IMAX movie in their theater.
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037
Open daily 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day)
Permanent Exhibits at LA Science Center:
Kids can learn about Ecosystems, the Creative World, Air and Space, and the World of Life. The Air and Space exhibit includes capsules from the early days of the manned space program, replicas of satellites, as well as a space suit worn aboard the Apollo 16 mission.
Space Shuttle Endeavour at Science Center Los Angeles
The Science Center is also home to the space shuttle Endeavour as well as the planet’s only External Tank. Endeavour was the country’s newest space shuttle and completed twenty-five missions into space. Families will view artifacts from Endeavour including the tires from mission STS-134 (which guests can touch) as well as a “space potty.” The External Tank (ET) served as a “gas tank” for the space shuttle orbiter, helping to push it into orbit.
IMAX Movies at LA Science Museum:
On site, families can also take advantage of enjoying an IMAX film on the seven-story screen. IMAX films are another way of bringing science to life and putting you right there in the middle of the action. Currently showing: Superpower Dogs 3D, Volcanoes 3D, and Journey to Space 3D.
Special Exhibits at LA Science Museum:
Current Special Exhibitions at the California Science Center include: Dogs! A Science Tail: Dogs can rescue us from peril, sniff out danger, or provide help to people in need. Through engaging and fun hands-on exhibits, explore the science behind the bond between humans and dogs.
Science in Toyland: Come play! Spin tops, set up dominoes, build a mini roller coaster and more. Explore what toys teach us about science in this fun, hands-on exhibit.
Mission 26: ET Comes Home: Experience ET-94’s move to the California Science Center through engaging photographs captured by Gil Garcetti. The exhibition highlights moments of ET-94’s trip through the Panama Canal, its arrival in Marina del Rey, and its journey through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood on the way to its new home.
Mission 26: The Big Endeavour: Mission 26: The Big Endeavour features photographs of some of the spectacular scenes from space shuttle Endeavour’s flight over California and her 12-mile, 68-hour journey through city streets to its final destination in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center.
Price: FREE, except for special exhibits
Admission to the LA Science Center’s permanent exhibition galleries is free; however, there is a charge for IMAX shows as well as for Special Exhibits. In addition, advance ticket sales (made online or by phone) for Endeavour Timed Reservations are $3 per ticket.
Several membership options are available to families. All membership levels include benefits for two adults and four children (age 17 and under). Each level of membership differs slightly but all include IMAX tickets, parking vouchers, discounts on special exhibit tickets, discounts at gift shops, and more.
Parking at the California Science Center
Parking at the adjacent parking lot is $12 per car. However, the Science Center is conveniently located to the Metro Expo Line at the Expo Park/USC station.
Dining Options at Science Center:
The Science Center permits guests to bring their own food and enjoy eating outside or inside. However, the on-site dining options include the Trimana Grill, Market, and Coffee Bar. The Grill offers a large selection of hot and cold meals including salads, burritos, specialty sandwiches, hamburgers, and more. At Market, you’ll find pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, snacks, fruit, and bottled drinks. The Coffee Bar is the place for hot or cold coffee drinks, pastries, and ice cream.
The California Science Center is located within Exposition Park, where you’ll also find the California African American Museum, the Rose Garden, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the Natural History Museum. (Click here to read our post “Exploring the Natural History Museum”). Be sure to check the Coliseum’s schedule before visiting the area, because game days can make traffic and parking extremely difficult.