A cube has landed in the San Fernando Valley. Actually make that The Cube. After nearly 20 years at the original location in Orange County, the Discovery Cube Science Museum has finally expanded to a second location in the LA area. Nestled in a corner of the scenic and expansive Hansen Dam Recreation Area, the new Cube is a great day-trip destination for families looking for great fun with a little learning mixed in.

DISCOVERY CUBE exterior

Plan to spend a whole day exploring the Cube: There are so many activities it’s like a science amusement park, and your kids are going to want to go on every ride. Look for chair lifts, pulley races, a climbing wall, kayaks, a 70 MPH wind tunnel, a competitive recycling game, a clever “aquavator” that simulates an elevator ride into an underground aquifer, and a simulated helicopter ride that illustrates how the water supply is transported from the Sierra Nevadas to the Los Angeles Basin. (Fair warning on the last one: Several adults reported feeling a little ill while watching the film, so consider avoiding if you don’t have a terrifically strong stomach.)

Discovery Cube - Elevation 2

Going Up for Big Kids
And all that is just the downstairs gallery! The partially open upstairs gallery currently includes exhibits on science concepts for fourth and fifth graders, illustrating, for example, the nature of sound waves.  There is also space for a future exhibit on the science of hockey, as sponsored by the L.A. Kings.  Regulars at the Cube in OC know that the hockey exhibit is actually pretty “cool” for little kids and non-hockey fans, too.

Discovery Cube - Block Room

Bring Your Babies, Too
The Cube Jr. Zone downstairs is a safe nook designed for little learners five and under. Your youngest ones can create towers and abstract gizmos in the soft block room, or ride astride stegosaurus and T-Rex models in the dinosaur area. Be sure to get a photo of your own babies hatching out of the nest of Maiasaura eggs!

Discovery Cube - Bean Sprouts

Good Eats
Forget everything you know about cafeteria food.  (Thank goodness!) Bean Sprouts, the restaurant at the Cube, caters to all your specialty diets—vegan and gluten-free—and has amazing kid-friendly plates including a clever avocado crocodile and sandwiches cut to look like piano keys. Incredibly edible, indeed.  No need to bring the snacks to this cube.

The 411
Be sure to check the website for new shows and events that will be coming to the museum in the New Year.  First up is a Thomas the Tank exhibition that opens on January 24, 2015.

Cost: For a limited time only, all admission tickets are only $10. Beginning in 2015, tickets will be $16.95 for adults, and $12.95 for both seniors and kids ages 3-14.
Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Discovery Cube L.A.
11800 Foothill Blvd., Los Angeles
Phone: 818-686-2823
Online: discoverycube.org/la

-Text and pictures by Jennifer Arrow

What’s your favorite L.A. science museum? What else do you like to do out at Hansen Dam? Let us know in the comments!