Discovery Cube in Orange County, California is an interactive, educational, and fun science center meant for guests of all ages with an emphasis on children’s education. People come from all over to experience this unique learning environment. Established in December of 1998, this science center and museum welcomes over 500,000 visitors annually.
The building itself was designed by two architectural engineers named Svend Nielsen and Carl Johnson and is a well-known ten story visual landmark and solar array cube. It features over 100 different interactive exhibits and was previously known as the Discovery Science Center as well as the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center and is currently a Smithsonian affiliate. There are many more exhibits planned for the future!
Below are just a few selections of the many permanent and rotating exhibits located at the Discovery Cube.
Mission Control - Mission Control is one of the favorite exhibits at Discovery Cube. It allows the next generation of scientists to land a rover on the planet of Mars, send a satellite into space, or learn how to dock on the International Space Station. They are in charge of the entire mission from start to finish (with guidance) from a replica of the control room at Jet Propulsion Lab. It is designed to engage children with science and aerospace.
Helicopter Tour - This virtual tour allows visitors to soar high above Orange County over mountains and sea. It also highlights a local biodiversity hotspot called Irvine Ranch. The tour teaches visitors about the area including the rare and endangered animals and plants that call it home.
Water Gallery - Especially in light of the recent drought in California, the Water Gallery seeks to educate and enlighten guests about the importance of water, one of the Earth’s most precious resources. The interactive exhibits look at how water impacts all facets of life, the different types of water (salt, fresh, frozen, vapor) and let children get hands on with water testing.
Inspector Training Course - Go on an adventure through the backyard to learn all about the various vectors and the diseases they may carry. Rodents, ants, mosquitoes, and flies are all considered vectors (animals that can carry disease). Making use of one of the Cube’s touch screen tablets, visitors work through the course (with the help of the OC Vector Control District) and go on a super fun scavenger hunt! If they finish, they earn a badge!
Healthy Kitchen - Take an interactive healthy cooking class at the Healthy Kitchen! Work with friends and family members to make homemade recipes with help from the Cube staff. Learn about healthy living, cooking tricks and tips, and facts about the ingredients that are being used. The menus change month to month to include seasonal ingredients.
Science of Hockey - Learn the fascinating history and science behind one of the country’s favorite sports, hockey. Created in conjunction with the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, this interactive exhibit allows visitors to ride on a zamboni, be the goalie or the shooter, or even try out the broadcast booth!
As the Discovery Cube is an educational center, field trips are welcomed! Bringing students to the center helps them to engage with science in a new and different way than they could in a regular classroom. Paired with targeting learning objectives, the programs offered at the Discovery Cube campus in Orange County promote learning through interactive, hands-on investigations and exhibits. Part of the field trip also includes grade specific science experiments and demonstrations. These last around 15 minutes a piece and align with California Science Standards. The demonstrations offered are: early learners, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, and middle/high school.
Another option is the Science on the Water experience, a three-hour field trip and boat tour of Newport Bay. This experience focuses on the marine environment through activities and participation and are organized per grade group (kindergarten through 2nd, 3rd through 5th, 6th through 8th, and 9th through 12th grade).
While visiting the Discovery Cube, hungry guests should make sure to check out Bean Sprouts, a healthy dining alternative offered on campus. The restaurant has even won awards for their unique, fresh, and healthy menu that is meant to spark children’s imagination as well as their appetite. They are also very friendly to all food allergies.
Discovery Cube Orange County, 2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA, 92705, Phone: 714-542-2823