Discovery Cube OC launches two new interactive, ocean-themed exhibits for fun, education and hands-on experiences to inspire the next generation.
There are some new fish in town and they’ve made a home at Discovery Cube Orange County.
The STEM-focused, children’s education and entertainment center in Santa Ana has just launched two ocean-focused exhibits in time for summer.
The Discovery Cube Sea Lab is a new permanent experience featuring hands-on exhibits, including a shark and ray touch pool and a tidepool touch tank, housed on the first floor outside the Launch Pad Store.
The Ocean Encounter exhibit is set inside the 10,000-square-foot space making up the Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater on the second floor. This exhibit runs through Sept. 4.
Both opened to the public on June 21. They are included in general admission ($19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children ages 3-14) and free for its members (memberships start at $79).
“The opening of Discovery Cube Sea Lab & Ocean Encounter is inspired by our drive to build upon our core initiatives of promoting environmental stewardship along with STEM proficiency, early learning and healthy living,” said Marketing Director Nam Ly. “The experiences at each exhibit aim to engage visitors of all ages with hands-on interactions with animals and environments that keep our coastal community thriving and healthy.”
At the Sea Lab, children of all ages are invited to get up-close-and-personal with live fish, including sharks and rays, that they can actually touch while learning about what makes each inhabitant perfectly suited for their environment. The tidepool tank offers various ocean creatures like starfish and anemones, also for engaging, hands-on education.
In addition to the hands-on portion, the exhibit will also feature a new film by Discovery Cube’s in-house, seven-time Emmy winners, Cube Studios.
The Ocean Encounter exhibit features various interactive stations — each showing different aspects of ocean life and the threats they face from human activities. Guests have the opportunity to learn about ocean conservation efforts and engage with hands-on activities and a submarine offering an immersive experience into the mysteries of the ocean. The exhibit also highlights important ocean issues, including coral bleaching, plastic pollution and kelp forest decline while offering ways to help solve these problems.
“Ocean Encounter will showcase the beauty and diversity of life in the ocean with various interactive stations that focus on the shoreline, coral reef, kelp forest, open ocean, twilight and midnight zones, and abyss and trenches,” said Ly. “It will also feature larger-than-life inflatable models including a whale, squid and kelp forest that transport guests to each ocean environment and inspire curiosity to dive deeper into what makes each zone vital to our ocean’s health.”
Ly said these additions to the Cube are part of their larger plans to renew their commitment in bringing ocean education to Orange County. The exhibits have been in the works since the sale of Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest property in Newport Beach in June of 2021. Building out Discovery Cube’s Sea Lab and its state-of-the-art life support systems began in December of 2022.
“Our goal is to educate and inspire kids beyond these exhibits,” said Ly. “After learning onsite, Discovery Cube will empower guests to take what they learn and make an impact in our community and environment with Discovery Cube Impact Events.”
The very first Discovery Cube Impact Event is a beach cleanup set for July 29 from 9 am to 11 am in Seal Beach.
“Through this series of Impact Events, Discovery Cube will continue its commitment to providing a high-touch learning experience that galvanizes young people to apply science towards creating a positive and lasting impact on the world around them,” he said.
Ultimately, the goal is to help develop a generation of science- and ocean-minded youth with an enthusiasm to continue engaging with and improving their natural environment.
“Ocean science programs like this ignite young minds with a profound appreciation for their environment. The hands-on and interactive experiences will empower this next generation to become stewards of these ecosystems,” Ly said. “At Discovery Cube, we inspire and educate young minds through engaging science-based programs and exhibits to create a meaningful impact on the communities we serve. With Discovery Cube Sea Lab and Ocean Encounter, we’re building on that mission for our Orange County coastal community.”
By Jessica Peralta