Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Science Center Visit

The California Science Center is one of the many museums in Exposition Park. This one is a large cultural center organized around a garden in the vicinity of USC (University of Southern California or Trojan university for those who follow a little the American football).


If as a tourist, it is not of great interest, this is not the case for local residents. Basically it's just the equivalent of "la Villette" in France (however, less successful in my opinion, because maybe a little too simplistic, while "la Cité des Sciences" in Paris can stay interesting for all audiences).
Nevertheless, if you are passionate about museums or if you have a little time to spend in L.A., a visit there may be worth it. Indeed, you can not only visit the Science Center, but also the California African American Museum, the Natural History Museum of LA County, the Rose Garden, the Expo Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena.

Exposition Park
USC's stadium
L.A. Memorial Coliseum

A bit of history...

Exposition Park was originally Agricultural Park, a field for agricultural fairs. In 1912, the first building was built on the site of the Science Center and allowed to explore the agricultural resources of the region. After the Second World War, exhibitions have evolved to present more the role of science and technology in everyday life. In consequence, the building took a new name in 1951: the California Museum of Science and Industry.
In the 90s, new guidelines have been agreed, giving the museum its name and its current configuration (the last elements of the upgrading plan of the museum have just been completed).
For architecture lovers, it is interesting to notice that part of the museum was designed by Frank Gehry (although nothing is special in my opinion).


Picture of the Science center website (the weather was not good when we came).

Guided Visit :

We'll here put things that we visited or, at least, skimmed (we arrived one again too late to have time to see everything), but there are of course many other exhibitions that you can find through the following link: http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/Exhibits/SpecialExhibits/SpecialExhibits.php.

For sustainable development fans (Ecosystems) :

This part of the museum is the latest, but also the most current and probably the most interactive. You can discover many ecosystems such as extreme areas, forest areas, island areas, the vicinity of rivers or the ecosystem of the region of L.A. As you can see in the video below, this exhibition allows to interact directly with animals, performing small experiments or to get an overview of the California pollution and its effects (Preview that we experienced in live during the L.A. River Cleaning !!) 


For engineering fans (Creative world) :

This is probably the part that should interest me the most, but unfortunately I have had not enough time to do the whole ... So I can just tell you that it is to learn about communication, structure and transport and I will detail you more next time!

For biology fans (World of Life) :

If like me, you are a hopeless case in biology, do not lose hope and go to the "Word of Life" part of the museum. This exhibition tells you everything about living human cells, covering almost all topics and remaining very accessible (anyway, after the 9th grade level, I'm lost, so I needed at least this !). We learn how living things are born, consume energy, get rid of their waste, defend and reproduce.



The interest of this exhibition is that it remains very educational and has many games and simulations (e.g., a driving test being drunk. Besides, if I tell you that I more successful than sober, it will reveal my level of driving ...), as well as living examples (and can attend the birth of chicks!)

Here the eggs hatch, but we see chicks at every stage of their development

For spatial conquest fans (Air and Space exhibits) :

The Science Center welcomes not only the Space Shuttle Endeavour, but also the Red Bull Stratos capsule (remember? The guy who had a free jump from the stratosphere? If it means nothing to you, this is the site record : http://www.redbullstratos.com/).






For shopping fans:

Of course, the Science Center houses a small store of objects related to Science. This one is large enough, but does not sell anything interesting for me. I found the shop at "la Villette" with all its gadgets and educational objects much more fun! Nevertheless, you will find plenty of objects from the NASA and many books for children, so it is always worth it to go if you want a souvenir.

Practical Information : 

Opening hour: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year Eve and we must also avoid USC football game days)
Price: Free unless you want to do activities such as IMAX. If you come by car, you have to add $10 parking.
Address: 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037 (parking has 2 entrances but you can go through Figueroa st.)

You can also come by public transport (stop Expo Park / USC).




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