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Since I grew up in Los Angeles, I have so many favorite places to recommend! There is something for literally everyone in this city. I can say, as a science-loving child and now degree bearing scientist, there are some great science spots that are equally fantastic for children and adults. Without further ado, my science guide to Los Angeles.

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griffith observatory parking tips include parking along the hill up to the observatory, and options for taking the Griffith Observatory public transportation DASH pass

Griffith Observatory may be the most famous on the list but rightfully so. Aside from being featured in many famous movies (looking at you Terminator), the science here is awesome.

This working observatory and museum houses some great exhibits on astronomy, space exploration, and history.

Entrance to the observatory and exhibits is free, but there is a charge for the planetarium shows and parking. There are also star parties where they team up with astronomers from the city to show the public the sky!

People are drawn to Griffith Observatory as well for the views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign so expect crowds, especially in summer and over the winter holidays. But it is one of the best spots to snap some great photos for Instagram in Los Angeles.

You can read my full local’s guide to Griffith Observatory here!

2. The California Science Center

CA Science center

The California Science Center is another awesome museum in downtown LA. It is located in Exposition Park, which is also home to the California African American Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Rose Gardens. The Science Center admission is also free, with which you can see their permanent exhibits including one on ecosystems, the body, air and space, and invention. They do have a rotating exhibit that is an extra charge, but it is always really cool, so I definitely recommend it. In the past I have seen King Tut (which is back as of March 2018), Goose Bumps; the Science of Fear, and CSI: The Experience. They also have great IMAX movies at an extra charge as well. If you are on that college/grad student budget, the permanent exhibits are still fantastic, and if you are itching to see King Tut (who isn’t?) they do have student pricing available.

Word of advice: beware of summer camp trips during the summer; kids run the place on week days during late morning into the afternoon. I highly recommend strolling through the Rose Gardens out the back door of the building to get some peace and quiet. Introvert style. Fun fact: it’s also used as the façade of the Jeffersonian Institute in the TV show Bones.

Los Angeles Rose Garden

3. La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits is a museum and live excavation site about the tar pits that trapped and fossilized many animals such as the woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers! I previously wrote about the La Brea Tar Pits here. I highly recommend visiting to learn about the tar pits (that still exist in the park) and see the live excavation site.

la brea tar pits

4. Aquarium of the Pacific

Long Beach Aquarium

My last science recommendation for LA is the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. I cannot say enough about aquariums, especially this one. I will start out with a disclaimer because this aquarium is not cheap (~$25 per person). There are military and AAA discounts though, so don’t forget to ask. They also have combo tickets available so check those out too (if you’re also going to the LA Zoo or Queen Mary, for example).

The Aquarium of the Pacific houses some great exhibits both indoors and outdoors (perks of sunny LA). One that appeals to the environmental chemist in me is the Water Future exhibit that explains where our water comes from and how to protect it (a very relevant topic to drought-ridden SoCal). The jellyfish are incredible and there are a ton of interactive experiences for all ages, including touch pools and a Lorikeet Feeding Forest. Don’t forget to say hi to the stingrays for me!

Floating jellyfish

Do you have a favorite science spot in Los Angeles that I missed?

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Science Guide to Los Angeles, things to do in los angeles, family destinations, kid destinations, family friendly los angeles,

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Recent PhD graduate and hyper-planner of Periodic Adventures, my goal is to share travel inspiration, budget tips, detailed guides, and fun travel stories!

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