A school field trip gave us the opportunity to visit the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. It was a weekday and took us a little over an hour to get there. Traffic wasn’t too bad driving up I-5. We are science fans – my boys would do science projects for school all day if I let them! We were also excited about the exhibit that was there at the time – Star Wars.
The museum is full of hands-on exhibits and play areas for kids to enjoy. My older boys (10 and 8 ) probably got the most out of it, but even my 4-year-old had plenty of fun. From the Dora the Explorer play area downstairs to the climbing rock wall to the bed of nails, there was plenty to keep everyone busy!
Up on the top floor, we visited the EcoChallenge learning area. We competed in a fun game trying to choose the right items off a conveyor belt for proper recycling. We won in our group! We also chose grocery carts with touch screens that asked us questions which we answered by scanning the correct groceries in the ‘shopping area’. Once we answered all the questions, we headed to the checkout where we entered our code. If we had all the questions right, we received a token. I think my kids went through this activity at least four times! Fun way to engage kids in learning about caring for our environment.
Some other fun areas were the rocket lab outside – learning what it’s like when a rocket takes off, and the dinosaur exhibit where we went on an adventure learning about dinosaurs and their bodies. Sports buffs can have testing the speed of their baseball pitch or hitting a hockey puck. Step inside a wind tunnel to feel what it’s like when tornado winds get up to almost 80 mph.
While the Discovery Science Center has a lot of fun, hands-on exhibits and my kids had a great time, there are a few down sides to consider. First of all, the place was packed. It seemed like there were at least 5 school field trips there. It was loud, crowded, and we had to stand in line for a chance to do some things. But we were able to get to just about everything we wanted to do anyway. Another negative is options for food. You can’t go in and out of the center, so you need to plan to eat there if you’ll be there over lunch. There is a Taco Bell/Pizza food area to eat, but the food is fairly expensive and the lines were pretty long at lunchtime. We had brought our own lunch and were glad we got in there a little early because seating space quickly filled up.
The Star Wars exhibit was definitely a highlight. The exhibit has, unfortunately, already left. But check the website for other fun special exhibits that come and go at the Cube.
We had a good time there and would probably go again sometime. I would recommend calling ahead if your dates are flexible and see if there are days that are less crowded. And if you live close by, a family membership is just $99. So go visit the Cube and help your kids learn about science while having fun!