Situated on the site of the former State Exposition Building that was erected in 1921, the California Science Center, whose doors opened in 1998, has become the pride of Los Angeles' Exposition Park, which had long been the home of the California Museum of Science and Industry.
The California Science Center opened in 1998 after ten years of planning and development. The site, which is only one-third of the way completed in accordance with its master plan, currently features two permanent exhibition spaces, as well as two additional galleries dedicated to temporary and traveling exhibitions. The two permanent exhibition spaces, appropriately titled World of Life and Creative World, are dedicated to biological life processes and invention and innovation respectively.
The World of Life space currently focuses on five biological processes, including reproduction and the function of the immune system. In its space, visitors can explore hundreds of hands-on exhibits, conduct research in the exhibit's computer lab, and dissect a pig heart. Visitors can even visit the Bodyworks Theater, where they can listen to a lecture on homeostasis presented by Tess, a 50-foot robotic woman.
In the Creative World, exhibit, which again is dedicated to invention and innovation, visitors can experience a simulated earthquake, participate in virtual reality games using green screen technology, send messages to friends using whisper dishes, and even make their own polymer by visiting one of the exhibit's hands-on material science stations.
Besides the two permanent exhibits, the complex that currently makes up the California Science Center space also features movie theater with the largest IMAX screen in Los Angeles, souvenir shop known as the Explorastore, and a huge sculpture in the center's Science Plaza created by Larry Kirkland designed to represent a molecule of DNA. Within the center itself is also a high-wire bicycle that visitors can ride on while looking down on the rest of the masses. The California Science Center also recently opened the doors of its very own school, constructed in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Amgen, the Annenberg Foundation, and the University of Southern California.
In its temporary galleries, the California Science Center has featured a variety of fun and informative exhibits, including some dedicated to everything from the science behind magic, the dangers of drug abuse, and the wonders of kinetic motion, to exhibits dedicated to Hollywood movie-making, forensic sciences, and even the very popular Body Worlds exhibition, which features actual preserved humans designed to teach visitors about the various parts of the human body, from muscles to bones.
Despite its current size, the California Science Center continues to grow. The center is currently in the beginning stages of its second phase of construction and expansion. Eventually, the center will feature another permanent exhibit dedicated to ecology, an on-site aquarium, live plant and animal exhibits including a walk-through kelp forest, and expanded office and gallery spaces. When the third phase is completed, the California Science Center will eventually be the largest science center in the western United States.
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