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Discovery Science Center - in Santa Ana - California

Discovery Science Center is a science museum in Santa Ana, California, with more than 100 hands-on science exhibits designed to spark children's natural curiosity.It has become a visual landmark due to its ten-story solar array cube that stands over Interstate 5.


The center is divided into several themed areas: Discovery Stadium, Techno Arts, Air & Space, Perception, Dynamic Earth, Quake Zone, the Digital Lab and KidStation. Dino Quest is Discovery Science Center's newest exhibit. It opened in the summer of 2006 and includes life-size dinosaurs, an interactive electronic quest and an online game.


In 1984, the Boards of the Exploratory Learning Center and the Experience Center joined to form the Discovery Museum of Orange County with the dual goals of teaching children what life was like in Orange County in the 1900s and creating a world-class science center. A funding feasibility study in 1989 indicated that county leaders would support the project. The 59,000-square-foot (5,500 m²) facility was opened on December 17, 1998.

New 4-D Experience Comes to Discovery Science Center

Fog and Wind Effects Make 4-D experience memorable

After extensive remodeling, Discovery Science Center has re-opened Discovery Theater as a 4-D Movie experience! The renovated theater opened Oct. 12, showing the Dinosaurs the Giants of Patagonia. This unique 130-seat theater uses leading-edge technology systems with enhancements to gain a full-sensory experience.

Quake Zone

Exciting exhibits in Quake Zone include:
* The Shake Shack
* Video Seismograph
* Dr. Lucy Jones Kiosk
* Earthquake Myths and More!

Inside the Shake Shack:We can experience the historic earthquakes, such as the 6.4 1933 Long Beach earthquake. The Quake Zone at Discovery Science Center helps to learn about earthquakes in a fun way

What causes earthquakes? An earthquake causes energy to travel through the Earth in seismic waves. The waves are caused by shifts in the Earth's crust (upper layer) and sometimes volcanoes.We often can't feel this energy because the amount is so small. Sometimes it's so great that it destroys buildings or fractures the Earth's surface.

Video Seismograph -We are able to make tremors and watch the seismograph record them.

Lucy Jones Kiosk - We can discover the scientific contributions of seismologist Lucy Jones.

Shake Table and Liquifaction - Helps to learn more about amplitude and frequency, and see how earthquakes affect buildings.

At Common Earthquake Myths kiosk we can discover the truths behind "Earthquake Weather," the safest place to be during an earthquake, and the possibility of "oceanfront property in Arizona."

Dynamic Earth

Exciting exhibits in Dynamic Earth include:
Wave Tank
Stream Table
Cloud Rings
Climbing Wall
Water Vortex
TryScience Kiosk
Fieldtrip to the Rainforest

Most of the time, the changes happen so gradually that they are almost impossible to detect, even over the course of a lifetime. The mountains in our area grow a little every year as the plates in the Earth’s crust force them upwards. At the same time, these mountains are worn down by the effects of rain, wind and other forces. Scientists must use sensitive instruments to record changes like these.

On the other hand, the surface of the earth can change dramatically in just a few minutes. Earthquakes create instant chasms and cliffs. Heavy rainfall causes landslides that destroy homes and block highways.

In the Dynamic Earth Gallery, YOU command the forces of nature as you explore ways the Earth changes. Make clouds, climb a mountain wall,walk through a tornado,and more!


Exciting exhibits in Perception include:
Bed of Nails
Pin Wall
Kalliroscope by Paul Matisse, 1997
and more!

The human perception area is the first area you will see once inside the Science Center.

Perception exhibits challenge visitors to experience science firsthand, affirm their natural curiosity and promote a self-guided sensory exploration. The exhibits provide a safe danger, where guests quickly learn that they are allowed and encouraged to touch and experiment without being harmed, and where there are no rights or wrongs.

Perception is the first step of science. Human perception is how we process the information gathered through our senses - how something looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels.

We can explore the information that our senses provide. Experiment with an exhibit and ask yourself if the experiment came out the way you expected or if you were surprised.

Lie on a bed of nails, figure out how to use a bowling ball to launch a tennis ball into the air, leave your mark on the pin wall, and more!

Space Shuttle Replica

Take your cameras and take pictures next to this full size mock up of the space shuttle. The space shuttle has carried explorers such as John Glenn and Sally Ride into space for their missions.

Did You Know??

* The longest the Shuttle has stayed in orbit on any single mission is 17.5 days on mission STS-80 in November 1996.
* The smallest crew ever to fly on the Shuttle numbered two people on the first few missions.

* Shuttle is designed to reach orbits ranging from about 185 kilometers to 643 kilometers (115 statute miles to 400 statute miles) high.

* The Space Shuttle consists of three major components: the Orbiter which houses the crew; a large External Tank that holds fuel for the main engines; and two Solid Rocket Boosters which provide most of the Shuttle's lift during the first two minutes of flight. All of the components are reused except for the external fuel tank, which burns up in the atmosphere after each launch.

* The Space Shuttle Discovery, first launched in 1984, is named for two famous sailing ships commanded by Henry Hudson and James Cook.


Why is the sky blue? What causes waves in the ocean? The questions asked by children today are the same ones that confronted the greatest scientists of the past. Our Kidstation rewards a child’s natural inquisitiveness.

In KidStation, children aged five and younger will find safe activities that stimulate the imagination.

KidStation’s nautical elements include a larger-than-life treasure chest, underwater green screen activity area and, of course, a yellow submarine!

Children may get submerged in role-playing dressed in pirate, mermaid or tropical fish costumes in the green screen activity area. The costumed children become active participants in an underwater movie as footage plays on screens for parents to see. Playing dress up, while inherently amusing, also encourages children to communicate with others. This, in turn, increases their vocabulary and helps them practice articulating their ideas.

Young guests may dive into electronic finger painting at the treasure chest, or get their feet wet in early communication techniques at the Sub Com communication station. Children will stretch the bounds of their creativity and imagination as they pretend to be a submarine captain or a deep sea diver communicating to and from the sub.

KidStation activities encourage the development of motor skills, creativity and imagination. They also help young people develop the ability to compare and contrast. Parents may participate in these activities or watch over their children from the side, as the rest of the family enjoys the more than 100 hands-on exhibits throughout the Center.

Beckman Great Scientists Kiosk

Share the experiences of scientists who live and work in Southern California. Dr. Arnold Beckman (chemist/ inventor), Dr. Buzz Aldrin (astronaut), and Dr. Lucile Jones (seismologist) have all made significant contributions to their particular areas of knowledge, and they've built rewarding careers in science.

Beyond learning about discoveries and accomplishments, you'll also find out who these scientists are as people. You'll find that YOU have something in common with them - your curiosity. Your search for knowledge at Discovery Science Center may trigger pursuits similar to others that have led to countless remarkable discoveries.

Digital Lab

Whether you're a computer wiz or you're learning about computers for the first time, the Digital Lab at Discovery Science Center has something for you!

Digital Lab offer a variety of fun classes and summer camps! Topics include Intro to Computers, Word Processing,Web Design, Digital Photography, Videogames.

Discovery Stadium
exhibits in Discovery Stadium include:
* Virtual Volleyball
* X-Ray Investigation
* Skeleton Opener
* Pitching Cage
* Can You Lift Yourself?
* Reaction Time
* Trace a Star
* Hand/Eye Coordination
* Grip Strength
* Balance
* Hand vs. Heart
* Height Checker

Do you love sports? Visit Discovery Stadium and experience the sciences athletes use to compete!

One of the newest areas at Discovery Science Center, Discovery Stadium explores the sciences of sports including sports medicine, human performance, and hand/eye coordination. As a tribute to collegiate and professional athletes, colorful sports team banners line the ceiling, and a cheering crowd of fans (including former science center president, Karen Johnson and family) is depicted in a painted mural. One of the most popular exhibits at the science center, Virtual Volleyball, resides here.

Air and Space

Discover: How do we get something as heavy as an airplane or a rocket into the air? Once we get a plane into the air, how do we control it? Learn the principles of flight and then test yourself in the flight simulator.

Exhibits include:
* Powers of 10
* Fly an Airplan
* Lilienthal Glider
* Bernouli Blower
* Wind Tunnel

Space Next Stop Mars exciting exhibits include:
* Mars Globe
* Aerolian Landscape
* Blast Off to Mars
* Mars Landscape

Did you know:
In 1492, Leonardo de Vinci drew plans for a flying machine. People left the ground in hot air balloons in 1782, but it wasn’t until 1903 that the Wright brothers created an airplane that flew under its own power.

That first flight lasted less than a minute and covered only about 120 feet (approximately 37 meters). Now we routinely launch space probes that travel for millions of miles. How did we get so far so fast?

The Air and Space area focuses on the physical forces and properties involved in flight and space exploration. Here, guests can experiment with scientific principles such as propulsion, drag, lift and gravity. Space exhibits provide information on space exploration and let visitors simulate the type of activities an astronaut performs while in space. This area celebrates the ingenuity, imagination and innovation of Southern California's scientists, aerospace engineers and astronauts and the contributions they have made to the advancement of flight and space exploration.

Dino Quest

* Exhibits are hands-on and interactive walk inside a giant two-story tall Argentinosaurus, manipulate parts of the dinosaur and learn how body systems work and relate to each other.

* See the giant T-Rex, an exact replica of an actual fossil named Stan, and learn all about these fearsome ancient predators that once ruled the Earth.

* Dino Quest is the world’s first interactive, electronic dinosaur exhibit where guests are actually players interacting with the scientists at Dino Quest Headquarters and solving challenges as characters in a video game that has come to life.

* Players become research assistants, complete with research transmitters, and receive challenge quests from the scientists at Dino Quest Headquarters. Players search throughout the exhibit for the answers to the research missions and, using the infrared transmitter, communicate back to the scientists worldwide when they think they have found the answer.

* Dino Quest remembers your progress so that you can return and start from the same level as when you last played the game.

* Solving a series of research missions gives the player the opportunity to go on an Adventure such as capturing a T-Rex that has escaped its cage and is on the loose! Solve the challenges and become a

After a 65-million-year absence from Earth, DINOSAURS have made a grand entrance into Southern California. Dino Quest, the interactive exhibit that includes life-size dinosaurs, an electronic interactive quest and an online dinosaur videogame, opened summer 2006 at Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.

The permanent exhibit is part of Discovery Science Center’s $7.5-million dollar expansion, the largest in the Science Center’s history. By combining an interactive quest and dinosaurs as life-size models for the heart, digestive system and more, the exhibit provides hands-on education that aligns with the California Science Standards for the K-6 grades.

Boeing Delta III Rocket

A Delta III rocket is now on permanent display at the north end of the Discovery Science Center parking lot. The rocket was donated by The Boeing Company. Pratt and Whitney donated the RL10B-2 cryogenic engine. The rocket, rising 85 feet in its location adjacent to the Interstate Five, represents the contribution made by Southern California companies and individuals toward the conquest of space.


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