California Science Center

The California Science Center, open to the public free of charge, is home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, as well as other major exhibits. Mission 26: The Big Endeavour is currently on display at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, while the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is being built. You can see the space shuttle, as well as artifacts from the space mission, and learn all about it and the people involved in the program. Other exhibits at the Science Center cover such topics as the living world, technology, and ecosystems. The Ecosystems exhibit features an impressive 188,000-gallon kelp tank, as well as live plants, animals, and fish. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the California Science Center also features special exhibits, for an ever-changing selection of things to see. The California Science Center dates to the first State Exposition Building, which opened in 1912 and displayed simple, agriculturally-based natural resources and industrial products from across the state. After World War II, technology-based businesses began to grow so the State Exposition Building was remodeled to show visitors the role of science and technology in everyday life. The building was renamed the California Museum of Science and Industry in 1951 to better reflect this new objective. In 1998, the museum transformed into a new kind of public institution for science learning, the California Science Center.

The California Science Center (sometimes spelled California ScienCenter) is a state agency and museum located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, next to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California. Billed as the West Coast’s largest hands-on science center, the California Science Center is a public-private partnership between the State of California and the California Science Center Foundation. The California Natural Resources Agency oversees the California Science Center and the California African American Museum. Founded in 1951 as the “California Museum of Science and Industry”, the Museum was remodeled and renamed in 1998 as the “California Science Center”. The California Science Center hosts the California State Science Fair annually. Admission includes access to the permanent exhibits, such as the Space Shuttle Endeavour and other prominent aircraft and spacecraft, and to various demonstrations. A separate ticket is required for the IMAX movies, most special traveling exhibitions, and special activities that include a climbing wall, motion simulator, and a high-wire bicycle.

The museum’s history dates back to the first California State Exhibition building, which opened in Exposition Park in Los Angeles in 1912, the site of an agricultural fairground from 1872 to 1910. The brick and terra cotta building, designed by William D. Coates, Jr., state architect, and N. Ellery, state engineer, displayed agriculturally-based natural resources and industrial products from across the state, including ranching, fish and game, coal mining, gold mining, oil production, and lumbering, as well as some of the state’s recreational attractions. After World War II, the building also featured exhibits about state science and technology industries. In 1951, the exhibition became the “California Museum of Science and Industry”. The State Exhibition building was renamed in honor of major donor and trustee Howard F. Ahmanson as the Howard F. Ahmanson Building. The hands-on interactive exhibits included themes on agriculture, transportation, electricity, energy, industries, and minerals.

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