Discovery Cube Orange County, formerly known as the Discovery Science Center and the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center, is a science museum in Santa Ana, California, with over 100 interactive science exhibits designed to pique children’s natural curiosity. It has become a visual landmark due to its ten-story solar array cube that sits over Interstate 5. It was designed by the architect firm Arquitectonica with structural engineers Carl Johnson and Svend Nielsen.
The Exploratory Learning Museum and the Experience Center Boards merged in 1984 to establish the Discovery Museum of Orange County, with the dual goals of teaching children about life in Orange County in the 1900s and building a world-class science center. According to a finance feasibility analysis conducted in 1989, county leaders would approve the project. Prior its development, a smaller “beta” version of the science center dubbed Launch Pad operated in South Coast Plaza in the mid-1990s. The modern 59,000-square-foot (5,500-square-meter) facility opened on December 17, 1998, at what was once a Bekins Van Lines depot. From 1996 through 2000, Mark Walhimer was the Vice President of Exhibits, where he handled exhibit design, development, and installation. The Smithsonian Affiliations program accepted the Center as an affiliate in 2008.
On September 29, 2012, the center stated that it was looking to expand its facilities. The new 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) Discovery Pavilion and 4,000 sq ft (370 m2) of refurbished space were unveiled on June 11, 2015. A Life Sciences Hall, Courtyard of Learning and Living, Environmental Pavilion, an IMAX theater, and a “green” parking facility are among the next phases.
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
In addition, the center has formed a collaboration with the City of Los Angeles to take over and administer the former Children’s Museum of Los Angeles location near Hansen Dam in the northern San Fernando Valley. In April 2012, the city donated finance and signed a contract with the center, and in January 2013, the center received government funding to finish construction on the existing facility and begin building displays. The Discovery Cube Los Angeles satellite campus debuted on November 13, 2014. This is also the location of the Rodney King beating in 1991.
The Science of Hockey, Dino Quest, Rocket Lab, Air & Space, Eco Challenge, Dynamic Earth, Quake Zone, and the Showcase Gallery, which displays visiting exhibits, are among the themed areas within the center. Dino Quest, an interactive work that opened in 2006 and contains life-size dinosaurs, is one of the museum’s available exhibits, as is Science of Hockey, which opened in 2009 and showcases the numerous scientific aspects behind the game of ice hockey with the support of the Anaheim Ducks club.
Next Point of Interest: Peters Canyon Regional Park