Under the Microscope

The Sylmar property that was once the site of a proposed children’s museum takes on a new theme and is opened as a state-of-the-art science center.

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    Pauline Adamek

Science fans will soon be able to explore distant galaxies in a planetary research station, journey into the earth in an “Aquavator” to see how water flows under the city, and fly into the clouds in a virtual helicopter to see our waterways—all without ever leaving terra firma. It’s all part of the simulated experiences visitors will enjoy at Discovery Cube LA, which opens November 12.

The two-story, indoor/outdoor, 71,000-square-foot attraction is located in the Hansen Dam Recreation Center, at the site of the former Children’s Museum of Los Angeles. The new facility is expected to draw 180,000 visitors during its first year of operation.

Newly named exective director, Kafi Blumenfield, hopes the Cube will introduce families to science, technology and engineering. And she views it as an investment in our future. “We will have two floors of interactive exhibits designed to inspire, educate and turn visitors into change agents who can make our region cleaner, greener and healthier,” she shares. 

The Woodland Hills resident is the former head of the Liberty Hill Foundation, which gives away donated money to social causes, and is married to LA councilmember Bob Blumenfield. 

Many of the exhibits will focus on the environment, but there will also be themes of nutrition, dental care and hygiene—as well as literacy. One exhibit, the Race to Zero Waste, promotes environmental stewardship with a thrilling, game-based display designed to teach guests the correct way to sort trash and divert materials from landfills.

Former LA city controller and Valley native Wendy Greuel is on the board of Discovery Cube Los Angeles. “I know that there are not a lot of facilities and museums in this region. Particularly as a parent of a young person who is excited about the museum opening, it’s going to be a great and iconic addition to the Valley.”

The Children’s Museum was first proposed as a $10 million public/private partnership. But as the price tag grew to more than $50 million, the original group went bankrupt, and the city ended up taking ownership of the nearly completed museum in 2009. 

The project was revived with city and federal funding and a partnership between the city of LA and Discovery Cube LA (formerly the Discovery Science Center) in Santa Ana. 

For more, visit discoverycube.org/la.