Discovery Cube Orange County

The 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 more than 100 hands-on science exhibits designed to spark children's natural curiosity.[3] Designed by the architect firm Arquitectonica[4] with structural engineers Carl Johnson and Svend Nielsen,[5] it has become a visual landmark due to its ten-story solar array cube that stands over Interstate 5.[6]

Discovery Cube Orange County
EstablishedDecember 17, 1998; 23 years ago (1998-12-17)
LocationSanta Ana, California, U.S.
Visitors525,000 (2012)[1]
PresidentJoe Adams[2]


The Center's solar cube
A donated DCSS rocket and RL 10B-2 engine outside the Center

In 1984, the Boards of the Exploratory Learning Center and the Experience Center joined to form the Discovery Museum of Orange County with the dual goals of teaching children what life was like in Orange County in the 1900s and creating a world-class science center. A funding feasibility study in 1989 indicated that county leaders would support the project. In the mid-1990s, prior to construction, a smaller "beta" version of the science center called Launch Pad operated in South Coast Plaza. The current 59,000-square-foot (5,500 m2) facility was opened on December 17, 1998, in what had originally been a Bekins Van Lines depot.[6] Mark Walhimer served as the Vice President of Exhibits from 1996 to 2000 and oversaw the design, development and installation of the exhibits.[7] In 2008 the Center became an affiliate within the Smithsonian Affiliations program.[8]

On September 29, 2012, it was announced that the center was seeking to expand its facilities. Phase 1, opened on June 11, 2015,[9] features the new 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) Discovery Pavilion and 4,000 sq ft (370 m2) of remodeled space. Future phases include a Life Sciences Hall, Courtyard of Learning and Living, Environmental Pavilion, an IMAX theater, and a "green" parking facility.[1][10]

Discovery Cube Los AngelesEdit

The center has also entered into a partnership with the City of Los Angeles to take over and operate the former Children's Museum of Los Angeles facility at Hansen Dam, located in the northern San Fernando Valley. The city provided financing and contracted with the center in April 2012, and the center finalized federal funding in January 2013 to finish construction on the existing facility and begin building exhibits.[11][12] The satellite campus opened on November 13, 2014, and is named Discovery Cube Los Angeles. This is also the site of the 1991 Rodney King beating.[13][14]


The center is divided into several themed areas: Science of Hockey, Dino Quest, Rocket Lab, Air & Space, Eco Challenge, Dynamic Earth,[15] Quake Zone, and the Showcase Gallery which houses traveling exhibits.[16] Some of the available exhibits at the museum include Dino Quest, an interactive work which opened in 2006 and includes life-size dinosaurs;[17][18] and Science of Hockey, which opened in 2009 and presents the various scientific aspects behind the game of ice hockey with the help of the Anaheim Ducks franchise.[19][20]


  1. ^ a b Gonzales, Ron (November 16, 2012). "Panel OKs Discovery Science Center expansion plan". Orange County Register. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "First STEMCAP Forum Successful in Laying Out Goals and Objectives". December 8, 2006. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008.
  3. ^ "CSA Member Profile: Discovery Science Center". May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on August 12, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Cathy, Curtis (December 19, 1998). "Science Flair". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  5. ^ Earley, Christopher (June 18, 2013). "Newport engineer leaves mark on landscape". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Background". Discovery Science Center. Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2008.
  7. ^ Emmons, Steve (December 14, 1998). "Putting Their Minds to It". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  8. ^ Brennan, Pat (May 1, 2008). "Discovery Science Center named Smithsonian affiliate". Orange County Register. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
  9. ^ Chang, Richard; Gonzales, Ron (February 14, 2013). "Science museum and library up for national honor". Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  10. ^ "Campus Expansion Campaign". Discovery Science Center. 2012. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  11. ^ Kudler, Adrian Glick (April 12, 2012). "City Passes Plan to Finally Start Running the Children's Museum". Curbed Los Angeles. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  12. ^ Clough, Richard (January 15, 2013). "O.C. science center finalizes L.A. museum financing". Orange County Register. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  13. ^ Branson-Potts, Hailey (November 13, 2014). "San Fernando Valley's Discovery Cube L.A. opens in once-vacant museum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Rodney King Forgives". Archived from the original on February 24, 2009.
  15. ^ "Earth System Science Informal Education Network". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2008.
  16. ^ Rivenburg, Roy (July 26, 2006). "A Prehistory Lesson From the Insides Out". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
  17. ^ Diepenbrock, William (June 28, 2006). "Big summer fun with dinosaurs". OC Register. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
  18. ^ Witz, Billy (March 28, 2009). "A hockey exhibit's cold, hard facts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 30, 2009.
  19. ^ Stephens, Eric (March 27, 2009). "Hockey, science meet at Discovery Science Center". Retrieved March 30, 2009.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°46′12.7″N 117°52′4.3″W / 33.770194°N 117.867861°W / 33.770194; -117.867861