LOS ANGELES (Nov. 13, 2014) – In just one day, L.A.’s San Fernando Valley went from having no major museum of its own to serving as the home to one of the most technically advanced destinations for science-based learning and hands-on discovery in the world.
Discovery Cube Los Angeles (DCLA) . the long-anticipated sister campus to the popular Discovery Cube Orange County (DCOC) in Santa Ana, opened today on the site of the former Children’s Museum of Los Angeles in the Hansen Dam Recreation Area. Offering 71,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, displays, programs and learning spaces, DCLA becomes L.A’s latest must-see family entertainment/educational destination and the first major museum in the history of the Valley.
Local VIPs, elected officials, residents and students gathered at the 2.5-acre site at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area today to officially dedicate the state-of-the-art facility to current and future generations of science fans. A range of well-wishers – from California Secretary of State-Elect, Alex Padilla to DCLA Executive Director Kafi Blumenfield to the campus’ first fieldtrip students – welcomed the museum’s arrival and praised its importance to the educational future of L.A.
The City of Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti said: The DiscoveyCube will tell our story of innovation to not just enlighten but inspire youth to write the next chapter of our city s prosperity. As someone born and raised in the Valley, I m excited that it’s the home of this incredible L.A. resource that captures the boundless creativity and limitless imagination that s such an integral part of our city s DNA.
DCLA is part of an ongoing commitment by the nonprofit Discovery Science Foundation (DSF ) to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) proficiency, early childhood learning, healthy living and environmental stewardship throughout Southern California through engaging science-based programs and exhibits that create a meaningful impact on the communities they serve.
DCLA is expected to draw 180,000 visitors during its first year and create 24 local, full-time jobs and 70 local, permanent part-time jobs. Operating on a first-year budget of $4.7 million, it receives the same operational, program-development and fundraising support that enabled DCOC to receive the prestigious National Medal of Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2013.
“We’re thrilled to introduce Angelinos, and especially San Fernando Valley residents, to their very own Discovery Cube,” said Joe Adams, CEO of the Discovery Science Foundation. “Thanks to today’s debut of DCLA, more than 11.5 million people, including 2.6 million children under the age of 14, now live within 30 minutes of one ofour two campuses. With that large audience comes the potential for extraordinary educational impact – both within and beyond our museum walls.”
The dual-campus total of 140,000 square feet of interactive learning space will balloon to 220,000 square feet when DSF’s current 44,000-square-foot expansion of DCOC is completed in Q2 2015.
According to Blumenfield, DCLA offered museum designers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to design a participatory, science-based learning experience specifically for the L.A. visitor – one that reflects the rich stories, geography, opportunities, challenges and diverse population that characterize L.A. County.
“I’m most proud of the fact that DCLA offers something for visitors at all points on the scientific interest spectrum – from professional scientists by trade to the occasional fans more interested in hands-on fun than rigorous academic discovery,” she said. “So, beyond allowing visitors to explore distant galaxies, take a helicopter tour of Southern California, shop for sustainable groceries in a miniature market and descend below the earth’s crust, we also teach the scientific realities behind these adventures for those that want to go deeper.”
A host of permanent, hands-on exhibits at DCLA spotlight the ongoing work of the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (LA San) and Los Angeles Department of Water Power (DWP) as part of both groups’ larger strategic partnerships with the museum. DCLA is being funded by federal, city and private funds including LA San and DWP monies earmarked for education, plus DCLA fundraising.
DWP sponsored and co-sponsored exhibits educate about the importance of sustainable housing and preserving California’s natural resources. These include the Inspector Training Course, a simulated Helicopter Tour, and the “Aquavator,” a special elevator that descends deep below the earth’s surface to offer firsthand insights on the importance of saving water and protecting the fragile aquifer from pollutants.
LA San is represented at DCLA by sponsored and co-sponsored exhibits that teach visitors about waste reduction and resource conservation. These include the Discovery Market, Planetary Research Station, Inspector Training Course, Aquavator, and the “Race to Zero Waste,” a thrilling, game-based adventure that challenges participants to sort trash and divert materials from landfills before it’s too late.
DCLA also offers several teacher-based resources as part of DSF’s larger educational partnership with over 1,400 schools in over 100 districts throughout Southern California – a number that is expected to grow significantly with the opening of the L.A. campus. The SchoolsFirstTeacher Resource Center is a customized space allowing educators to check-out DCLA science kits and lesson plans and discuss school topics and content-related issues with trained DCLA staff and other teachers. Meanwhile, the 70-seat 4D Theater hosts an ongoing program of films and live presentations, many produced specifically for Los Angeles and all available to teachers for in-classroom presentation.
As part of DCLA’s healthy living initiative, the onsite Bean Sprouts Café . a kid-friendly café and cooking school specializing in healthy foods for visitors of all ages, supplements its regular menu with vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, casein-free, nut-free and egg-free options. Visitors can order pizzas, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts as well as “Imaginibbles,” a signature line of themed, hand-held foods designed to make eating healthy fun.
Using the Orange County center as a model, museum officials will supplement the permanent exhibits in Los Angeles with a continuing mix of traveling exhibits and programs to encourage repeat visits and keep the offerings relevant and consistent with in-classroom lesson plans and real-world science applications.
In addition, DCLA recently announced plans for “The Science of Hockey,” a permanent, LA Kings-themed attraction that will combine hands-on hockey learning focused on the skills of the sport with unique participatory experiences that explain the scientific realities of the game. A partnership between DCLA, the LA Kings and the Kings Care Foundation . the exhibit opens in February, 2015.
In addition to public and private funding, DCLA worked closely with the Los Angeles Development Fund to receive an investment of New Market Tax Credits (NMTCs) through U.S. Bank .
DCLA is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday. Hours may be extended during seasonal periods.
Admission to DCLA is $16.95 for adults and $12.95 for seniors 60 and older and kids ages 3 to 12. Kids under 3 are free. Special rates apply for groups of 15 or more. During the opening year, a special promotion allows admittance to anyone for just $10.00.
Operating schedules, exhibit availability and admission prices are subject to change without notice. For information about the day you plan to visit, including exhibits, programs, events, operating hours, admission prices and driving and parking information, go to the DCLA website at http://la.discoverycube.org/ .
The Discovery Science Foundation serves as the program-development, marketing and fundraising arm for hands-on science learning museums in Orange County and Los Angeles. Established in 1989, the original non-profit Taco Bell Discovery Science Center (DSC) in Santa Ana, now renamed Discovery Cube Orange County, presented by Taco Bell, continues to inspire and educate millions of young minds through engaging science based programs and exhibits. In 2012, the Center was named one of the ten “Most Trusted Brands” in Orange County and in 2013 was awarded the National Medal of Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
In November 2014, Discovery Cube Los Angeles, a second museum offering an exhibit and program mix unique to Los Angeles, opened in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area of the San Fernando Valley. For more information, call (866) 552-CUBE (2823) or visit www.discoverycube.org .
Dan Nasitka – Manager, Communications; Discovery Science Foundation