Looking for an awesome adventure for your child? Discovery Cube Los Angeles may be one of the most funexperiences your child will have, all the while learning about science. If that sounds like an unusual combination – science and fun – then wait to see what’s in store at The Cube.
Just off the 210 freeway, Discovery Cube Los Angeles, with its original location still going strong in Orange County, focuses its exhibits on four core initiatives: STEM proficiency, early childhood education, healthy living, and environmental stewardship. These future-forward initiatives inspire educators, students, and all of us committed to learning for life. Every exhibit is hands-on, meaning every visitor will have the chance to climb, jump, push, pull, laugh with and learn from every exhibit – and there are a lot of them.
- In the Helicopter Tours exhibit, your child will hop in this helicopter-inspired theater and watch real footage of Los Angeles landfills from an aerial view.
- Kids zoom through Discovery Market, an interactive shopping game as they learn about making eco-friendly decisions.
- In Science of Hockey, which happens to be sponsored by our own L.A. Kings, children will step into the rink that has multiple interactive activities and games.
- The Physics Lab is a chance for kids to rev their engines at The Raceway as they play with toy cars on a large racetrack while learning physics.
- And the Race to Zero Waste exhibit is an interactive environmental-themed game where children learn to sort, recycle and divert waste.
Starting this month, Discovery Cube Los Angeles also features two more exhibits that explore trains in ways that kids are sure to enjoy.
Trains have long held a special place in our heart, not only for the role they play in the history of our country – once upon a time train travel was the preferred, if not luxurious, method of long-distance transportation – and trains contribute to brain development, according to several studies. They aid in STEM understanding, spatial development, and motion logic. And if you’ve ever ridden on an Amtrak or even climbed into one of the trains on display at Griffith Park, you get the idea.
In fact, Fatherly.com reported on studies that looked at the science behind kids’ obsession with trains and noted that the science includes spatial reasoning skills and that there’s a direct correlation between spatial reasoning and SAT math scores. So when your kids are playing with a ball or a train, they’re actually improving the basic ability that’s going to get them a scholarship to a good college.
The Trains: Past, Present and Future exhibit takes you to a time when the first steam locomotives were used to transport goods, to the current-day train that seems to magically levitate over the train tracks while carrying passengers from the airport to the outskirts of Shanghai. Locomotives have evolved a great deal since their inception, becoming much more efficient and environmentally friendly over time. From coal to diesel to today’s electric and magnetic-powered trains, locomotives have a long history on their road to environmental sustainability – and the exhibit takes you on a journey through the evolution of the train to see how it has developed into today’s green powerhouse that can move one ton of freight more than 400 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
The exhibit was born from a gift of more than 600 train cars from the Lloyd Family collection, and more than 120 buildings and specialty items. There’s a small steam engine and freight service running through a rural small town and farming community, and the Old San Fernando tunnel represents the San Fernando Valley circa 1910-30. It’s pretty cool to see.
The exhibit evolves to represent more of a present-day train story with developed communities, urban sprawl, and congested freeways, including a model of the Discovery Cube L.A. location and Hansen Dam – complete with solar panels on the building that guests can manipulate. The iconic Newhall pass Los Angeles Aqueduct and wind farm are even in the background, and that’s an important feature because the exhibit explains how a train is the most environmentally efficient form of travel by comparing rail travel from the past to the future. In doing so, guests will see that the train is much more sustainable in terms of CO2 emissions, energy consumption, use of space, and noise levels.
Then there’s the world’s most beloved #1 blue engine, Thomas & Friends,on display at Discovery Cube through Jan 16, 2023. Featuring the favorite engines and destinations from Thomas & Friends, the STEM-focused exhibit seeks to engage families with children ages 2-7 on the foundational skills that foster STEM literacy through playful learning experiences. The exhibit incorporates fundamental STEM practices that encourage thinking mathematically, making comparisons, experimenting to solve problems, and using a variety of methods and tools to help children think creatively while reflecting on actions, efforts, and results.
Visitors to Thomas & Friends will be delighted as they find themselves surrounded by the Island of Sodor’s iconic locations: Knapford Station, Sodor Steamworks and much more. In the exhibit, children help Thomas and his friends solve a variety of challenges, from a simple sorting and shape identification activity to more complex engineering obstacles, such as completing a train track using track pieces with different levels of elevation. As children confront new challenges and test their abilities, the smiling faces of Thomas, Percy, Victor and others are there to offer encouragement and remind children how really useful they all are.
What will your kids do at the exhibit? Try this:
- Climb into Thomas’ cab and explore the engine’s inner workings. Flip levers and investigate other moveable parts that trigger train noises such as braking, whistles and steam.
- Fix Percy’s wobbly wheel by removing and replacing parts and experimenting to find a combination of wheels, rods and bolts that work.
- Explore the favorite Island of Sodor destinations including Tidmouth Sheds, Brendam Docks and the Sodor Search & Rescue Station on an oversized Thomas Wooden Railway train table.
- Work with old and new friends loading luggage, livestock, and other freight into the coaches of two train cars.
- Collaborate with others to get Percy moving by loading coal into his coal box and filling his tank with water from a water tower.
- Suit up as the conductor to exchange money and sell tickets to other visitors taking a ride on the train.
There’s a ton of fun and learning to enjoy at Discovery Cube Los Angeles, from its Spooky Science during October to its STEM Club for kids in grades 3-5 in October and November. And watch for info on its Science of Gingerbread program – a great reason to save that Halloween candy for Ginger house decorations in December.The Cube routinely hosts field trips from schools and children’s birthdays too. All info is available at https://www.discoverycube.org/los-angeles. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and easy to get to off the 210 freeway in Sylmar.