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California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, California 90037 | 323-724-3623
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25 Reviews
Type: Museums & Monuments, Animals, Nature & Gardens, and Playgrounds & Playspaces
Ages: All Ages
Cost: Free
Hours of operation: Daily 10am-5pm (closed Xmas, Thanksgiving & New Year's Day)

Come discover Space Shuttle Endeavour up close at its permanent home at the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Pavilion located in Los Angeles. Graphic displays surrounding the horizontally positioned orbiter discuss its thundering ascent into orbit, its high-speed runway landing, the functions of key components — including its thermal protection system, orbital maneuvering system, and main engines — and reveal the science and technology behind one of the most advanced transportation systems ever created. The Pavilion also features images and video featuring Endeavour past missions and the diverse crews who flew them.  
For tickets and more information, visit

Tips from the website:  
- Reserve your Endeavour passes in advance. Can be done online or by phone

25 Reviews for California Science Center

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January 26 2015
1 family found this helpful
"A lot to see"

Love going to the CA Science Center. Recommend going early because there is a lot to see. We visited the space shuttle, which was amazing to see. There is a small admission fee. We have passes to the Natural history museum which is nearby, so we always spend the day out there and check out both museums. My four year old loves the center. We sometimes take our lunch, since there is a large seating area inside and outside the building and have lunch there. Great place!

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January 03 2015
0 families found this helpful
"free and educational. "

I love this museum, as has everyone we have taken to visit.  My favorite displays are the endeavor and the traveling displays ( Cleopatra and Pompeii are the two I've seen). The museum is free, but paid tickets are required for the traveling exhibits and the theatre. At first I thought the ticket prices for Pompeii and Cleopatra were overpriced but they were soooo worth the money!  

Kids can touch the displays and there are buttons and things to interest them. Though most displays are geared towards older kids, my 18 month old was more interested in people watching.

There is a gift shop and a cafeteria inside the museum.

April 07 2014
0 families found this helpful
"Free and Informative"

I would normally give this place three stars based on my enjoyment , but I do think it is a great value since it is free, earning one more bonus star. We went recently to see the Endeavour,  and that was my favorite thing. To see a space shuttle up close like that was amazing and my kids were in awe of the size. I loved all the information on the walls and on video. The rest of the museum was interesting, but not fascinating. A plus is that the kids are allowed to touch everything and press buttons, they love that. It was a good visit but I don't feel the need to come back anytime soon. We saw everything in about 3.5 hours.

June 02 2013
0 families found this helpful
"Interactive Learning at its best!"

We visited the California Science Center on a Sunday to celebrate my son's 4th birthday.  I was a little apprehensive about how much he would actually be able to do and grasp, but I really didn't need to be.  From the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the Ecosystems exhibits, and all of the Discovery Rooms, we had a ball!  

While some of the exhibits-World of Life especially are beyond what he is able to understand at this point, there was plenty that he enjoyed.  Some of our favorites were in the Ecosystems Exhibit including: The Forest Zone (kelp forest and aquariums), The River Zone (tons of interactive activities about the currents etc.), and the Island Zone (activities including how inhabits of the island are able to get there and how different adaptations help and hurt birds ability to get food).    We also really enjoyed the transportation exhibit in the Creative World area, as well as the new exhibit: Science Court.  

The Discovery Centers are a must see for little ones. They are special areas geared for guests 7 and under to explore the themes of the museum in a hands-on, developmentally appropriate way.  Each center also has a room within it for toddlers only with lots of safe and fun toys.  

The nitty gritty-parking is easy in the Exposition Museum corridor.  We paid $10 to park in a nice lot right across from the Museum of Natural History.  The science center is stroller accessible. There were plenty of restrooms and they were outfitted with changing tables. There is not an area for infant care, but there were lots of chairs in quiet spaces if baby needs to eat.  There is no way to beat the price: FREE!!!  There were a few activities that cost money (a shuttle simulator, a hurricane simulator, climbing wall, tightrope bicycle) but they were few and far between and not located smack in the middle of the exhibits.  There are two eating options within the museum: a cafe and McDonalds.  There are both inside and outside eating options.  There are two gift shops, one right as you enter, and another in the space shuttle exhibit.  Everything is wheelchair accessible.  Apparently the tickets to see the shuttle (while free), do sell out.  We didn't have that problem the day we came, but it wouldn't hurt to reserve your spot ahead of time.  The tickets are free but come with a $2 charge per ticket for doing it online in advance.  (In our opinion, it was well worth it as we didn't want to drive all the way to the museum and not be able to see the shuttle.)

This is a perfect museum if you have a wide range of ages in your family.  We all learned something and had fun.  The activities are as interesting for a preschooler as they would be for an older child or adult.  There were lots of activities that were hard to tear my husband away from ;)

May 27 2013
1 family found this helpful
"Space Shuttle - AWESOME"

One word "AWESOME". I love museums. Fortunately, my kids do too, so this was the perfect place to spend Mother's Day.  Just steps from the parking lot is a giant raised spy plane that we could walk underneath and read placards about. As we approached the actual science center entrance we were enthralled by the GIANT atrium filled with a mobile of the galaxy in bright blue and pink. It was amazing and we were not yet inside.

Entry into the museum is free, but you need a timed ticket to see the shuttle and it does sell out. We reserved our spot online and were able to walk right in and enjoy the museum before touring the shuttle exhibit.  

As we went up the escalator to the first exhibits we looked overhead at the suspended planes and tightrope cyclist. The museum is broken up into areas/rooms highlighting The Human Body, A Mini-Aquarium, Eco-systems, Recycling, Air Travel etc. I was blown away by all of the hands on educational experiences that both the kids and adults in our party enjoyed.

Once our time came up for the Shuttle we were led through ropes to the primary exhibit room. Here, facts about the shuttle and movies are shown to help visitors grasp what it is like to "live" in space. A highlight for my kids was the kitchen and the space potty. :) Also exciting was the time lapse movie of the shuttle being transported from LAX to the Science Center.

After touring the primary exhibit we were ushered down the stairs to the main shuttle hanger. I don't know that I have words to describe the feeling of walking in and seeing the MASSIVE plane that had been to space and back. The shuttle is raised so you can walk underneath and the room lined with informational placards and pieces of the shuttle for viewing. There were docents a plenty to answer questions and highlight amazing facts about the shuttle.

Overall, we did not allow enough time to see everything in the detail we would have liked and must go back another day. This is a must see for kids and adults alike.

May 22 2013
1 family found this helpful
"Space Shuttle Endeavour!"

I visited the California Science Center as part of a press trip, and my visit to the location was relatively short. Also, on the day we visited, the Science Center was filled pretty much wall-to-wall with school children.  Still, it was a great visit, because I got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour!

After a brief viewing of some of the other exhibits (which the school children all seemed to be enjoying), we headed into a room with the Space Shuttle tires (which you can touch), then into a small theater where we got to watch video about how the Space Shuttle was moved through LA to the Science Center. Fascinating!

Then it was down the stairs and over to the gallery where the Endeavour is housed.  It honestly took my breath away to be that close to a part of history.  The Endeavour is suspended from the ceiling, so you can walk all around it and check it out fairly close up.  There are displays around the room about all of the various shuttle  missions throughout history, as well as some other exhibits.

Several of the people I was traveling with remarked on how surprised they were by the amount of emotion they felt when they saw the Endeavour.  We all spent time swapping stories of watching shuttle launches as kids.

If you want to get up close and personal with a piece of American history, definitely head over to the Science Center and check out the Endeavour!

August 04 2012
1 family found this helpful
"Maybe Later...When the Kiddos Are A Bit Older"

If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to take the kids somewhere different then this place is wonderful.  Especially being that it is free.  Took my children to this museum, it took about three hours for us to drive from where we are from, and it was a mistake because there were other places we could have gone that would have been more fun for our family.  I believe that perhaps my children are still too young to enjoy the exhibits.  My daughter is 4 and my son is 2.
Most of what the museum had to offer was targeted toward older children who could grasp more complex concepts.  My son enjoyed running around for the sake of running around in a new place.  Being that this museum is huge he had a ton of space to go crazy.  My daughter had fun with the gadgets on display, but quickly lost interest because she had no idea what the purpose was and was so stimulated by the new environment that she lacked any focus when I tried to explain.  

Though, I must say that the aquarium portion was a big hit.  Both of my children stood looking into the water for quite some time.  And my daughter kept going back to the area where you could touch underwater organisms.  

There was an area where younger children could play.  It was okay.  Many of the activities had broken or pieces that did not function properly.  The treehouse with blocks inside provided about 15 minutes of entertainment for my daughter.  There is also a puppet theatre in the room that we enjoyed playing with as a family.  

All in all, there is something to be learned within this place for any age.  I just would not recommend making a drive from out-of-town just for a day's visit.  

April 10 2012
0 families found this helpful
"Hands on Science Fun"

The Science Center is SO FUN!! I can't believe we've never been here and that it is FREE!!!  (Well, $10 parking, but that is typical for most places plus admission costs!)

The museum is three levels: my girls (7,5,2) loved the second level on life & ecosystems the most.  My girls loved exploring the hands-on activities.  Although most of the exhibits are written with school aged kids in mind, there are discovery areas (sectioned off for safety) for kids 0-7 that was a hit!!  

The staff was esecially friendly and talked with my kids, showed them how the exhibits worked and answered any questions they had.  

We ate at the McDonalds on the 1st level (there is also a Taco Bell, Pizza place & Garden Cafe) and enjoyed a great picnic near the Rose Garden outside in beautiful Exposition Park.  

We will definitely return!!!  We spent about 4 hours inside and didn't get anywhere near to exploring everything in the museum.

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Icon_superoo_xsmall'12, '14
January 06 2012
4 families found this helpful
"Best cheap entertainment in LA!"

I've lived in SoCal my whole life & never went here until last weekend. Have I been misisng out!

The CA Science Center is a huge (3 story) science & discovery museum in LA's Exposition Park. There are tons of exhibits - many of them hands on. The best part---it's FREE! I grew up going to the museums in Balboa Park in San Diego - at about $10 per person plus parking - and this place blows them out of the water.

The only cost is $10 to park at Exposition Park. You can also take public transportation & bypass the parking.

Entrance to the museum & all exhibits is completely free. There are some extras that cost, such as IMAX movies (about $8.25 per person) and riding the tightrope bicycle (only $2) three stories above the ground. However, you can save $1 on any activity by grabbing a free paper "passport" by the elevator & getting it stamped throughout the museum at different exhibits.

There are so many cool things for the kids - an entire wall made of ice that you can touch, a huge fish tank that takes up an entire room (and a tube that you can walk though so that the fish are all around you), a touch pool full of starfish & other sea creatures, a "goop making table" where kids learn about chemical reactions while making their own goop to take home (free), an incubator with live hatching chicks, real space suits & even the Gemini 11 space capsule!

There are even several family areas with exhibits & activities strictly limited to kids 7 & under.

You can take a break downstairs for lunch at either McDonald's, Taco Bell Express or the Rose Garden Cafe - all inside the museum.

We were there for over 5 hours & still didn't see everything. Exposition Park is also a great place to wander around. There are rose gardens (free), the Natural History Museum (entrance fee), and African American Museum (free), as well as walking paths & green areas.

This is deifinitely one to see if you're looking for a cheap way to pack in tons of entertainment!

September 09 2011
0 families found this helpful
"End of the summer is great"

We visited during a week day on one of the last weeks in August and we found the halls and exhibits fairly empty and the staff ready to help us out.  This place can often be crowded with day camps and school field trips but August was great!!  

My kids loved all the hands-on exhibits but their favorite place was watching the divers, the fish and the sharks in the 2 story aquarium.  I loved it too.
On the down-side: I noticed that several times my children didn't understand the concept of the display that they were interacting with because the actual "experiment" was behind plexiglass and my child was just pressing a button.  I had to read the display to help them interpret what was happening.  But for the most part, my children's interaction with many exhibits lead to a lot of learning!

Some tips we learned from our experience:
*Find out where the "kids play" areas are in the center.  I believe there are 3.  They are great for giving little ones a chance to manipulate lots of objects, use large muscle groups and generally get the wiggles out.  And it gives parents a bit of a break.  Plan your visit to stop at these places often!
*If you end up in the ecosystems exhibit where the aquarium is, right before lunch, don't try to get to the restaurants by going down to the first floor like we did.  You have to cross over on the second floor and then go down to the first floor where the McDonalds and Taco Bell is.  

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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
"Great free entertainment"

Love coming here - it's the right price - free!  I usually will put a donation in the box though to give back.  And you do have to pay a small fee ($5?) for parking.  There are some pretty cool exhibits, including the human body and motion, and there is an IMAX Theatre on site (this you have to pay for).  Great to keep kids entertained for a few hours.

January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
"learning experience."

California Science Center is an amazing learning experience.  It's free and it allows your children a hands-on approach to science.  Even as an adult, I enjoy it.  This is a perfect weekend activity because they offer lots to do.  Your kids will have a great time.

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
"nice for my class"

I visited California Science Center in Los Angeles on Thursday October, 26. After visiting the Museum, I decided to take my class to the museum in near future. One the reason that I would like to go there again is to make them interested in science, available interesting exhibits, where students physically experience and interaction with each other. Students can spend at least half day and enjoy every minute of this visit. This museum has different section that any student can be interested. They can feel free to walk by themselves or as a group. The information regarding any subject is easily available to visitors. As a science teacher, I know how these activities are valuable to students which can make them interested in learning science subjects.  Take the see through escalator, or the elevator, to the second level for the World of Life gallery featuring interactive exhibits that show there are basic functions all living things must do in order to survive. Younger kids will enjoy watching incubated eggs hatch into baby chicks or tadpoles turn into frogs.  This place has a lot of things to see as well as things to play around with. I recommend for people who like to learn by doing. MUMMIES EXHIBIT - very cool!
There is a food court area on the first level with McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and the Rose Garden Cafe. There are plenty of indoor tables as well as outdoor picnic tables. Don't forget to stop by the beautiful Rose Garden and fountain outside; I have my lunch at this garden. I am obsessed with mummies and this one was a pretty good one. In this place also are Lots of baby mummies, which I'd never seen before, and more non-Egyptian/Middle Eastern mummies than I expected. It is very neat. Parking is $8 per car. It was not too crowded although most of the rooms were small. It seems like a great place to be spend time looking, watching, and playing. I probably won't go again unless I'm showing some guest around, but I do like and enjoy this place. They event built a huge tank filled with different forms of sea life swimming about. Professional divers jump in at scheduled times to feed all the creatures and put on a mini spectacle for your viewing pleasure. I must say, the ecosystems exhibit was quite impressive. They have added a lot of new exhibits since my last visit and I especially enjoyed the coastal habitat aquarium that reminded me somewhat of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
"Educational Fun"

One of the most fun and educational experience you share with your children for FREE!!!  But please donate when you get there - it's such a valuable resource.
My 4 year old and 10 year old LOVE it there!
• They host Great exhibitions
• There is an IMAX theatre in the same building
• It is adjacent to other FREE and fabulous museums
• There is a magnificent rose garden behind the center
• There are places to eat in center.
... so basically spend a whole entire fun day there!
The ONLY downside is that holidays get super crowded since it's free, however, my children didn't care about that at all!

December 23 2010
2 families found this helpful
"Exploring Trees Inside and Out"

Our family loves being outdoors exploring nature. Lately, my 5-½ year old son has become especially interested in trees – everything from the feel of their bark to the differences in leaves to why some have flowers and others fruit. So imagine my excitement at learning of a special exhibit at the California Science Center, “Exploring Trees Inside and Out?” I couldn’t get my two kids (aged 5 ½ and 2 years) there fast enough!

This special exhibit, which runs through September 26, 2010, was designed by the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and developed with a generous grant from Doubletree Hotels. The purpose? To create a better understanding of the importance of nature among children – a goal I couldn’t more heartily support. The exhibit has traveled around the country and the California Science Center is its only southwest stop.

To reach the “Exploring Trees Inside and Out” exhibit, you must enter the Science Center’s newest gallery, Ecosystems. Nowhere else that we’ve visited here in Los Angeles has provided such a complete overview of the world’s varied ecosystems in such an interactive and kid-friendly way. The new gallery transports you to eight zones – including deserts, polar regions and islands – each designed to illustrate a different ecological principle.

Our journey started with a 2-minute video of the ecosystems we’d be touring. This first room consists of two enormous video screens on either side of you. The kids couldn’t help but to shout out the names of all the things we were seeing around us (luckily we were alone!). If your little ones are sensitive to loud noises or dark places, you might want to skip this introductory experience.

After the video, we headed straight to the “Exploring Trees Inside and Out” exhibit, which is designed specifically for kids ages 2 to 7. I can’t say enough wonderful things about it! I mean, what kid wouldn’t be excited to climb around in a tree house?

The goal of this exhibit is to teach young kids the significant role trees play in the environment. We listened to the sounds of the trees (think birds, leaves falling and squirrels), smelled tree scents (like sap, bark, wood and apples) and looked at parts of the tree under a microscope. The 5-½ year old loved playing in a larger-than-life bird’s nest.

He also got a kick out of pretending to be a forest creature as part of a blue-screen flying experience. The exhibit provides the costumes, the blue screen and the video. All your child needs to do is to get dressed, flap his arms and watch the screen to feel like he’s flying through the forest. (Don’t forget to take video of this if you can!)

The highlight for our 2 year old was the giant tree house play structure smack dab in the middle of the exhibit. He ran through the “branches” and slid down into a pile of “leaves” more times than we could count! The best part? Getting there right after the Center opened meant we had the exhibit pretty much to ourselves.

I also appreciate all the little touches they’ve added to this exhibit to really make it feel like you’re exploring trees, like kid-sized stools in the shape of acorns and pinecones.

The hubby and I later agreed that the “Exploring Trees Inside and Out” exhibit was our favorite part of the day because both of our kids were equally entertained. The small space, with only a single entrance and exit, also made it much easier to keep an eye on both kids at once.

After about half an hour playing in the trees, we moved on to check out some of the other Ecosystems exhibits. I highly recommend a visit (or two) – we spent about 2 ½ hours at the Center and still didn’t see it all!

One of the biggest perks of the California Science Center – and all of its exhibits – is that entrance is free! There is a suggested $5 donation for adults only, which we gladly paid and encourage you do as well. Parking is $8 per car.

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
"Fun hands on learning!"

We came here during the past Memorial Day Weekend. Even with the holiday weekend, most exhibits were not super crowded, with the exception of the Ecosystems gallery, which is the newest exhibit at the Science Center. Our toddler guy and girl really enjoyed this place and not just the discovery rooms, which are geared mostly for the younger crowd. There is plenty for little hands to touch and explore! It makes learning fun and meaningful. We didn't even make it to the third floor on this visit. We will definitely be back again.

There is a food court area on the first level with McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and the Rose Garden Cafe. Plenty of indoor tables as well as outdoor picnic tables. Don't forget to stop by the beautiful Rose Garden and fountain outside. Actually, since it was a hot day there were kids playing in the fountain as if it were a pool...I wouldn't recommend it. The water looked dirty and I'm almost positive there was no chlorine in it!! Ick-ick.

Parking is $8 per car.

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December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
"Not just for schoolers"

There's also fun for tots. There's a specific enclosed room for toddlers to play but they can also explore all through out the museum. Very interesting place to learn about things and science and best of all, it's free. You may also visit the adjacent Natural History Museum for a fee. We'll go back again.

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
"A fun place to take the kids for some hands on learning"

We took our kids to the California Science Center and Natural History Museum  in the same day since they are right next to each other. I personally preferred the Natural History Museum but the California Science Center is alot of fun. To say its free is a bit misleading because they exist entirely on donations and suggest a donation of at least $5 per adult. It is important to donate to these programs to keep them going so please plop in at least a few bucks when you visit. There is a great discovery room for the kids to play in. My son loved helping build a house while my daughter played with magnets. You can ride a bike on a tight rope for a small fee which is always alot of fun. The earthquake simulator was cool fore those who have never experienced one but cheesy for those of us who have. There are plenty of neat ways to learn about science with your kids from a hands on approach so I do encourage you to visit because at least a couple things should leave a lasting impression.

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December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful

This is a great place to take kids of all ages and its free.  I haev taken my son there at lest three times and he has enjoied it everytime. The best time to go is durring the week. However, the weekends are not to busy if that is the ony time you can go.

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December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
"Kid Friendly"

I went here years ago and it was awesome! There is so much to look and and touch. I can't wait to take my daughter. This is definately a fun place for kids to learn in a fun way. There are many exhibits to look at, you could stay there for hours and not see everything.

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