This lack of scientific expertise in our family meant that we were all going in on a level playing field when we went to visit the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California. For a family that tries to avoid bunsen burners at all costs, you may think that a science center would be a strange choice for a place to spend an afternoon, and you'd be right. If you've ever driven the I5 south of Anaheim though, you know the reason. It's the giant Rubik's Cube.
OK, it's not exactly a Rubik's Cube, but it's similar enough to get us to stop and investigate. The cube itself is hollow, but the main building is packed with all sorts of neat, interactive science exhibits. My kids, who usually share their parents disinterest in the laws of physics, were off and running almost as soon as we stepped through the door. Within five minutes my older two were lying on a bed of nails, learning the principles behind the distribution of weight. I decided not to join them, thus saving them from having to learn that there's a maximum amount of weight you are allowed to distribute.
The kids tore around the place, checking in to everything. They rode in a shack that simulates and earthquake (which felt more realistic than the time I was actually in one), they learned how to make tornadoes with air currents (because what kid doesn't need to know that), and they learned how to send smoke signals (technically I think they made cloud rings, but nobody tries to figure out what cloud rings are saying).
|Smoke signals! I believe this translates to "Dad, I need a raise in my allowance!"|
As a change of pace from all the theme parks in Southern California, the Discovery Science Center is a great place to spend a day. The fact that there was never any "Can we go back to Disneyland?" requests should show that the exhibits kept my kids intrigued throughout our visit. The only problem I have with the science center is that it promotes learning about science at every turn. If my kids develop an interest in science, one of us is going to have to help them with their homework. I guess I'll just have to make sure I'm the first one they ask.