School may be in for many So Cal kids, but that doesn’t mean that summer fun needs to end for kiddos not yet in school or on the weekends. Every day can’t be a Disneyland day–because of crowds, the summer heat, rain and the like–and when we are looking for an affordable day out with the kids, the Discovery Cube OC has always been one of our go-to places for our family of five. Recently, however, we headed out for one of our first adventures to the new Discovery Cube Los Angeles located at the Hansen Dam Recreation Center. It was such a blast! As a San Fernando Valley family for more than 10 years, I had no idea how much was available at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area so very close to our home! Whether you live in the Valley like us or you are looking for a fun way to spend a “staycation” day with the family out and about, the Discovery Cube Los Angeles and the activities at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area are a perfect way to get away without having to really “get away.”
Learn and Explore!
The Discovery Cube Los Angeles opened in November of 2014. It offers 71,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits and educational experiences for kids of all ages. The Cube offers a number of permanent exhibits focused on teaching children to be environmentally conscious and to live a healthy life, while encouraging an early love of science, technology and mathematics. Temporary exhibits travel through the Cube each year and include fan favorites like the Science of Gingerbread, among others.
For the little ones there is a Cube Jr. Early Learner’s Zone for children 5 and younger that provides opportunities to explore, climb and be an adult while pretending to be an adult at home, at work and at play.
Rest assured, The Cube isn’t just for little guys; it kept all three of my boys (ages 10, 7 and 5) busy for several hours. They learned about making healthy choices, smart choices while shopping for food at the Discovery Market. I stood back while my older boys read to and directed my youngest son. It was great to watch them take the lead on the activity and have to solve problems together and work as a team.
The boys never wanted to leave the Park Science section that teaches children about body movement and the benefits of exercise through rock climbing, biking and a self lifting pulley system.
The Science of Hockey exhibit was a HUGE hit with my kids. They had a blast with all of the hands on experiences. We all couldn’t get enough of the Skater Challenge in which you get to follow Kings player Dustin Brown or the LA Kings mascot Bailey around the ice. (Be sure to take off your shoes so you can glide faster in your socks!) They also loved getting on “the ice” for You Be the Goalie/ You Be the Shooter–two fun experiences in which kids get to put on a blocker and glove and act as a hockey goalie to try to stop pucks shot from virtual versions of LA Kings players or take shots on LA Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
My oldest son basically loves anything that has to do with technology, so when we walked up to the Inspector Training Course and was handed a tablet in order to do a scavenger hunt of sorts, he couldn’t have been more excited. My kids were all particularly interested in it because we are currently building on an addition to our house and they got to learn about the things houses should and should not have in order to be more energy efficient and sustainable.
My boys had such a blast, it was tough to keep up with them as they ran from exhibit to exhibit learning and exploring. We stayed for at least three hours and we didn’t even do everything! That’s how much there is to do!
Discover Cube Pro Tips!
- Bring a water bottle from home. Near the entrance by the restrooms is a drinking fountain that has a special spigot for water bottles.
- Consider purchasing an annual pass for return visits. The temporary exhibits switch out several times each year, which means there is always something new to do or experince.
- The museum caters to kids of all ages… even their very youngest visitors. Moms of wee ones will be happy to know that there is a comfortable room for breastfeeding and diapering, which is can be a welcome relief while visiting with a baby or toddler.
Grab Some Grub!
The Discovery Cube Los Angeles features a really great restaurant, Bean Sprouts, that offers options for both parents and kids that are healthy and allergy conscious. They serve delicious pizzas, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies and, of course, coffee. The restaurant space is plentiful and their is ample outdoor seating as well. Outside food may be enjoyed inside the dining space, but not in the exhibit portion of the museum. I brought some snacks and sunflower seed butter sandwiches for the kids and splurged and got myself the Mediterranean Pesto pizza with artichokes, olives, pesto, feta and mozzarella. It was delicious!
Play, Climb and Imagine!
Right outside the center is a huge playground with equipment for children of all ages and abilities. The playground is HUGE and my kids loved it. They decided went full “American Ninja Warrior” the second they got out there and couldn’t get enough of all of the different equipment. There are public restrooms, but if you get your hand stamped after attending the Cube, you can go back in and use their restrooms (which are really, really nice).
Go For a Swim!
Yes. That’s right… a swim. Hansen Dam has much more than a playground and amazing science center. The recreation center also boasts boating, kayaking, fishing and an incredible swim lake with canopy rental and a big water slide! (The swim lake is not available for public swimming October through May.) Plus, there are nature trails for walking and hiking and picnic tables should you wish to bring a snack or lunch from home. (Click here for more information on the amenities and activities at Hansen Dam.)
It’s easy to “make a day of it.”
The Discovery Cube Los Angeles is a full day of family fun for So Cal families and packs a lot of fun for kids of all ages. I am proud to be a Discovery Cube Los Angeles Mom Ambassador and look forward to bringing you a lot more great articles about the Cube in the coming months. If you have any questions about the Discovery Cubes in Los Angeles or Orange County (near Disneyland) leave them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them in an upcoming post!
This post is sponsored as part of my Discovery Cube Los Angeles Mom Ambassadorship. I assure you that my opinions are genuine and authentic. We had a blast and as a former teacher, I am excited to be bringing my readers information on this worthwhile vacation destination.