Spring Into Science: Experiments & Day Trips for the Break

Experiments

After science night we had a few of you ask us how you can make crystals at home.  First of all, it’s really easy and I’m including some links below.  Secondly, it made me think how Spring Break is the perfect time to do a little experimenting with the kids at home–that is if you are not off on vacation somewhere.  So I hopped on the ol’ “Google Machine” and here are some great Science Experiment Resources for your family:

Growing Crystals

Both the following websites will give multiple ways to create impressive crystals with your family in no time.

Experiments to Get the Kids Outside

Ran across this list of experiments from ParentingSquad.com.

Experiments with Stuff You Already Have at Home

These three sites have enough ideas to keep not only Spring Break busy, but Summer Vacation, too!  BTW Science Bob is one of my favorite Science resources.

Day Trips

I call it vacationing at home.  We are pretty lucky to have a number of museums within an hour’s drive from us.

Ty Warner Sea Center and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

My kids love, LOVE, the Sea Center!  You can hit the Sea Center in the morning, have lunch on the pier, then hit the Natural History Museum.  Tip:  Purchase the Family membership!  The Santa Barbara Museums are connected and also have a reciprocal agreement with the Discovery Science Center, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and California Science Center.  This means you can visit them all for a year for only $75 (sometimes special exhibits cost extra–check their websites for details). 

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles & California Science Center

Both these museums are in Exposition Park.   For the Science center, you’ll  probably want your kids to be a little older–at least second grade–but both museums are well worth the drive to LA.

Discovery Science Center – Santa Ana

Okay–it’s a little more of a drive.  Kinda like driving to Disneyland…but BETTER!  This is an amazing place to take your kids.  Hands on, hands on, hands on stuff everywhere and a great interactive Dinosaur Detective exhibit.  They also have a Star Wars exhibit that will end soon.  If you can’t make it down over the break, it’s definitely worth fitting into your summer schedule.

La Brea Tar Pits & LACMA

I think the Tar Pits run a close second to the Ty Warner Sea Center for my kids’ favorite museum, don’t ask me why, but they love it.  Something I’ve always wanted to do, because it is right next door, is take them over to the LA County Museum of Art.  We always seem to be jamming the Natural History Museum in with Tar Pits and run out of time.  It’s not very Science-y, but as long as you are down there you might as well…

Gull Wings Children’s Museum

This is a great little museum, especially if your kids are on the younger side.  Chances are you’ll be done in an hour or two and it’s right next door in Oxnard.

…and finally, while we are talking about hidden little local gems you should check out: Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology.  You won’t be able to go during the break because they are by appointment only on the last Friday of every month.  This might be one you also save for kids that are a bit older–my daughter went for the first time when she was a fourth grader.  Anyway, they are a bird conservation research facility with the largest collection of birds’ eggs in the WORLD–their collections of bird nests and study skins are so extensive it is mind boggling.  It is pretty darn cool they are in our own backyard.

Have fun this “Science” Break!

–Kamala Nahas, Science Night Coordinator

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