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Orange County's Discovery Science Center
A great place to learn AND have fun!
Does you child or grandchild love hands-on, kid-oriented science museums? If so, your child will LOVE the Taco Bell-sponsored Discovery Science Center in Orange County, California.
Located in the town of Santa Ana...just a short drive down Interstate 5 from Disneyland Park in Anaheim!...you'll find the Discovery Science Center to be a delightful, full-service children's science museum of the caliber you'd expect in one of the USA's largest metropolitan areas.
On this page, we'll chat about the exhibits you can expect to find at the Discovery Science Museum, and the practical details for planning your outing there.
Note: In the photo to your left, you can see the giant dinosaur which stands in the middle of the science center's dinosaur exhibit. The cut-away construction of this dino lets kids view "what's on the inside" of a dinosaur, as well as participate in hands-on activities that teach about anatomy.
Discovery Science Center -- The Bed of Nails!When I took my 2 grandkids (Natali, age 6 and Gabriel, age 10) to the Discovery Science Museum during Summer 2006, their favorite exhibit, far-and-away was the BED OF NAILS! You're reading that right---a real, true-life bed of nails is one of the exhibits at a children's science museum! I've been to kid's science museums from coast to coast, and I've never seen a bed of nails before! Maybe it's something new. Maybe "all the museums" will be getting it soon. What do I think personally? Well, I'll let my brave grandkids take a shot at it---I'm too chicken!
As you can see in the photo to your left, these are real nails...the type used in building construction. They make me want to say "ouch!" just looking at their picture!
The science behind laying on a bed of nails is that "if you spread out your weight evenly across as many of them as you can, each nail will bear little weight and won't hurt you."
With that in mind, then, the most obvious time that someone would get hurt on the bed of nails is during the getting-on-and-getting-off-the-bed process. During those times, very little of the body's surface comes into contact with the nails...so each nail will be bearing lots of weight. And the kids could get hurt!
At the Discovery Science Center, they've gotten rid of this dangerous step of the process. The kids lay down on a bed of smooth, thick plastic. You can see a close-up of the plastic bed (with many holes in it for the nails to stick through later!) in the image to your right.
Of the two kids, Natali was the one who complained of some pain when the nails were raised. She said that it did hurt somewhat...but, nevertheless, it was her favorite attraction. Gabriel, who's older and has tougher skin, didn't really think it hurt.
At any rate, out of all the things that the grandkids did with me on their 3-week summer vacation, the Bed Of Nails was the thing they did which they told their mom about FIRST...ahead of the rides at Disneyland, even!
After the experience was over, the kids both rushed to the Penny Squisher. They wanted to be sure to get their pennies pressed into the "I Survived the Bed of Nails" design! (The penny press costs 50 cents...plus the penny to be squished. There are 4 designs that you can get in the Discovery Science Center's penny press...just in case your kids are "into" collecting these interesting souvenirs.)
Discovery Science Center -- Dino QuestA new, permanent exhibit at the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center is "Dino Quest." The Dino Quest exhibit is on display outdoors in the courtyard behind the museum (where the space shuttle exhibit used to be.)
You'll be able to enter the Dino Quest exhibit free-of-charge...OR pay an extra fee, depending on what you want to do there.
To view Dino Quest and for your kids to enjoy its interactive learning activities about dinosaurs is FREE. All you have to do is walk out the back door of the museum and start enjoying yourself.
On the other hand, you can pay extra to go on special "quests," like hunting down an "escaped dinosaur," discovering hidden crystals and fossils, or training a baby triceratops.
Discovery Science Center -- Other Exhibits and FunThere are 2 floors just full of high-quality science-themed exhibits at the Discovery Science Center. There are literally dozens of activities in which your children can get involved. They'll probably do exactly what my own 2 grandkids did----try out everything, but spend the most time with the activities they enjoy best.
Exhibits explore so many different scientific topics that it's hard to mention them all---topics such as earthquakes, the flow of water in rivers and oceans, the use of science in music, how wind tunnels work...and many more.
Adults are free to enjoy the exhibits along with the kids...or else enjoy sitting on one of the benches that are placed throughout the museum!
In the photo to your left, you can see a swirling vortex...a tornado in the midst of water...that children can start by the push of a button. They can see the water start to swirl faster and faster until the spout shape forms.
Discovery Science Center -- Directions, Map and Contact InformationThe Taco Bell Discovery Science Center address is: 2500 N. Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705. The Taco Bell Discovery Science Center phone number is 714/542-2823.
Directions to the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center museum: You'll need to be on the Interstate 5 freeway. When you reach the city of Santa Ana (in Orange County), you'll take the Main Street exit. The science museum is just north of I-5, plainly visible from the freeway. In fact, what you'll see is the giant black cube that's in the picture to your left. Far from being able to miss your exit, your eyes will be riveted upon it!
Of course, you'll want to see a map of the area around the Discovery Science Center so that you can plan your route. You may use the following link to view a
Yahoo map of the Orange County, CA area around the Discovery Science Center.