LETTERS TO NO ONE: A Creative Writing Blog Series

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Feb 6, 2018

California Science Center Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

The California Science Center will observe its 20th anniversary on Feb. 7. 

Since opening, more than 33 million guests have come through the doors, making the Science Center one of the most visited museums in the nation. 

Families, adults, and school children on field trips have toured the permanent galleries, special exhibitions, viewed live demonstrations and watched IMAX films where science is the star.

The Science Center was envisioned as a destination that would stimulate curiosity, inspire science learning and enrich people's lives by creating fun, memorable experiences because we value accessibility, inclusiveness and science, as an indispensable tool for understanding our world.

In the 20 years since the California Science Center opened, it has become a world class, global destination and has fulfilled this vision with engaging memorable experiences for everyone including: Space Shuttle Endeavour's journey across country and through city streets to its display in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion; the presentation of exceptional exhibitions like the permanent gallery Ecosystems; Pompeii: The Exhibition; Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination; and Gunther von Hagen's BODY WORLDS; as well as enhancing visits through IMAX films shown on a movie screen seven-stories high.
California Science Center President and CEO, Jeffrey Rudolph said, "As the Science Center continues to implement its visionary 25-year Master Plan, we look forward to even more transformative projects that will inspire a new generation of scientists, innovators and explorers, such as the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center." He continued, "We are celebrating our 20th anniversary with the international launch of King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, opening in March 2018."
Formerly known as the California Museum of Science and Industry and located in a series of standalone buildings, museum officials gave thought to how to best engage the public in the 21stcentury. 

In 1990, a 25-year Master Plan was created, including a first-rate educational exhibition center, an onsite K-5 elementary school and a professional learning center for educators and parents, all in one location. 

The museum was rebranded, becoming known as the California Science Center, and the exhibit program was re-imagined with themed areas and a focus on hands-on exhibits. 

Phase I included permanent galleries World of Life, Creative World, Air + Space, previews of future plans and an IMAX Theater showing 2D and 3D films on a giant movie screen.

Some of the significant milestones include:
  • Opening of the Wallis Annenberg Building (former Armory Building) to house Science Center education programs such as Hands-On Science Camp and school field trip classes. The building includes a wide open 32,000 sq. ft. space called The Big Lab, where science experiments are conducted on several platforms. (August 2004) 
  • Opening of the Dr. Theodore T. Alexander, Jr. Science Center School, a neighborhood TK-5 charter school, in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The school features a curriculum that integrates science, mathematics and technology with language arts, social studies, fine arts and physical education. The school shares space with Education programs in the Wallis Annenberg Building. (September 2004) 
  • The BODY WORLDS exhibition made its North American debut at the Science Center. This groundbreaking look at the human anatomy, presented through the technique of plastination, broke previous attendance records with more than 930,000 guests. (July 2004) 
  • Phase II, an entire new wing, opened featuring Ecosystems which explores ecological principles in 8 different zones using hands-on exhibits, live plants and animals. A 188,000-gallon kelp tank, a "desert" with tortoises, chuck wallas and flash floods, and a "polar" area where guests can touch an ice wall, are a few of the diverse environments guests can experience. The Science Center also became an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). (March 2010) 
  • The California Science Center was awarded the Space Shuttle Endeavour by officials at NASA. (April 2011) The following year, Endeavour arrived at Los Angeles International Airport to a lot of fanfare, having made flyovers of Northern and Southern California landmarks. (September 2012) Weeks later, an estimated 1 million people lined the streets to watch the 3-day engineering marvel as Endeavour navigated through city streets to arrive in Exposition Park. (October 2012) 
  • The original theater was transformed with the installation of IMAX® with Laser, a new projection and sound system. Digital images were made sharper and more vivid than ever before, and IMAX's next generation 12-channel sound system has greatly enhanced the movie viewing experience. (October 2017)
Future Plans
The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is the primary component of Phase III of the Science Center's 25-year Master Plan. 

The new facility will integrate authentic artifacts, including a diverse collection of aircraft and spacecraft, immersive experiences and hands-on, educational exhibits that encourage active learning through discovery. 

A focal point will be Endeavour, coupled with a fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, on display in the vertical or launch position. 

With this new extension, the California Science Center will be the largest science center in the western United States.

Science Center officials will observe the anniversary festivities with board members, trustees, donors, stakeholders, employees and volunteers. 

The public will be invited to join in the celebration by sharing their memories and photos on social media and should follow the Science Center on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for details.

About the California Science Center
The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Parking is $12/car, cash only. Tickets for KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh are currently on sale. Prices range from $19.20 to $29.95. Discounts are available for members, students, seniors and groups. Groups of 15 or more may inquire about group reservations by calling 213-744-2019. For more information, visit californiasciencecenter.org

Go Metro to the California Science Center! Ride the Expo Line to the Expo Park/USC Station. For the best route, use the Metro Trip Planner at metro.net

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