Exposition Park is one of the top five Los Angeles attractions with several museums, sports venues and gardens. Museums include the California Science Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the California African-American Museum. The science center and natural history museum are both housed in historic, early 1900’s buildings. Sports arenas include the Olympic Stadium with pools for swimming and diving, the L.A. Coliseum which has hosted Olympic Games and professional football and the Los Angeles Sport Arena which hosts basketball, boxing and other sporting events. Most of the 4-million visitors per year come to tour the science center and museum of natural history.
The California Science Center is part air & space museum, natural science museum, children’s museum and aquarium. Before even entering the science center Los Angeles, visitors encounter several warbirds including an SR-71 Blackbird frozen in a flight position. Just outside the science museum entrance is a huge IMAX theater that shows high-definition movies of nature, animals, space and more. Inside the science center, visitors can roam about the museum to see space capsules, warbirds, plants, fish, live shows and more. Entertaining hands-on exhibits can be found all over the museum that help explain the physics of how things work. The Ecosystems exhibit includes an ocean aquarium filled with sharks, grouper, rays and other sea creatures. The highlight of the Los Angeles science center is the Space Shuttle Endeavour that went on display in 2012. Visitors are guided through the Endeavour museum filled with space shuttle parts, pictures, flight simulators and more before entering the hangar to walk around the actual Space Shuttle Endeavour. This awe-inspiring exhibit ends with a large gift shop filled with NASA and space shuttle souvenirs. The science center Los Angeles is large enough to spend the entire day exploring. An on-site grill & coffee bar quenches appetites with specialty drinks, ice cream and comfort foods. The best part about the Los Angeles science center is that admission is free to all exhibits. There is only an admission fee for IMAX movies and a small reservation fee for the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History is situated adjacent to the California Science Center. The Los Angeles Natural History Museum features a dinosaur museum, African animals, insect zoo, science lab, gems & minerals and more. Take a stroll through Dinosaur Hall below the reconstructed bones of massive dinosaurs. See interpretive displays of wild animals in their natural environments. View incredible specimens of gold, diamonds, emeralds and other precious discoveries. The museum of natural history often hosts hands-on exhibits on the lawn in front of the building including the Butterfly Pavilion and Spider Pavilion, where visitors can touch and hold from beautiful to creepy insects.
Behind these popular Los Angeles attractions is the Exposition Park Rose Garden. The rose garden is the perfect place to unwind while wandering through hundreds of species of roses and sitting by the fountain with a view of the garden and original museum entrances. On hot days, street vendors sometimes sell refreshing popsicles and ice creams by the fountain. The rose garden was once a horseracing track before Exposition Park was created.
Exposition Park is located south of Downtown Los Angeles off the 110 freeway. This is a high-crime region of the city, so we don’t recommend using public transportation or leaving the grounds of the park. The parking lot off Figueroa Street is within safe walking distance to the museums. Like any Los Angeles museum, Exposition Park can be less crowded on weekends as opposed to weekdays when hordes of kids on school field trips pour out of school buses. Be sure to reserve an IMAX movie ahead of time as they often sell out. The California Science Center website has a list of several movies that are currently playing. The Space Shuttle Endeavour is another popular attraction where advance reservations should be considered.