(credit Amy N./Yelp)

(credit Amy N./Yelp)

Orange County is known for many things, and they’re all wonderful. Conversations about Southern California begin and end with praise for the enviable weather. This can lead to a disproportionate under-appreciation for much of the region’s outstanding indoor attractions and entertainment. Sunshine and Disneyland are what everyone talks about, though the fortunate and aware know the OC is home to a number of spectacular museums. One in particular offers an all-encompassing, unrivaled family experience.

Discovery Science Center (Credit, C. Schmidt)

Discovery Science Center
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 542-2823

Everyone knows the huge, black, glass cube looming above Interstate 5 in Santa Ana. You drive past it several times a week, are struck by the architectural marvel and captivated by the massive colorful banners draped across the building promoting all of the wonder available inside. That’s the Discovery Science Center. It’s time you stopped in. Bulldozers, brontosauruses, bugs and the building blocks of life beckon to those who are passionate about the world of science. Two stories and a ton of eyes, ears and hands-on exhibits are yours for the exploring. Every age and interest is represented at the DSC, as long as you like things that are enjoyable and interesting.

(credit: Discovery Science Center)

(credit: Discovery Science Center)

Best Exhibits
Two words: Hurricane Simulator. The Discovery Science Center has a machine that you can climb into to experience a hurricane. It’s just one of many thrilling, enlightening, mind- and hair-blowing permanent exhibits. While the eye-catching structure is reason enough to check out Orange County’s mysterious home of enjoyable learning, the Discovery Science Center is a world-class museum. You’ll find rock walls, cloud replicators and various degrees of threatening dinosaurs all in one building, and you get to play with all of it. In addition to the perpetual collection of amazing and interesting activities, the museum maintains an intriguing interactive rotation. If you hurry, you will just catch the ultra-popular, uber-icky Animal Grossology exhibit where you can learn and squirm within the micro-world of the blood sucking, vomitous and parasitic.
(credit: Discovery Science Center)

(credit: Discovery Science Center)

Best Family Eating Options
Besides being a terrific museum, the Discovery Science Center benefits from being located in a prime location. Essentially sharing a parking lot with the Westfield MainPlace Mall. From Applebees to Wetzel’s Pretzels to Popcornopolis, round out your wonderful day with a feast.

Related: Best Bad Weather Activities For Kids In OC

Best Time To Go
The first Tuesday of every month is Santa Ana Waste Free Day. With a valid resident ID, locals receive up to four free admissions. This is the best time for you if you value a bargain and don’t mind a crowd. Everyone else should consider coming another time. Bank of America customers receive one free admission on the first Sunday of each month.

Making bubbles at the Discovery Science Center (Credit, C. Schmidt)

Upcoming Events
The exceedingly popular Bubblefest is also at the DSC until April 20th. If you have never seen a “Mega Bubblefest Laser Show,” you have not lived, and seeing it may fill that emptiness that’s been plaguing you. MythBusters comes to DSC on June 14, 2014. Come see if some of your favorite toys are as indestructible as their manufacturers would have you believe. Spoiler alert: they’re not.

Related: Best Parent Gathering Places In OC

View Guide To OC’s Discovery Science Center in a full screen map

Christopher Schmidt is a freelance writer experiencing and espousing the glory that is Orange County. Driven to travel, drawn to sports, spirits and celebrity, Chris’ work can be found on