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Natural Awakenings National

Wet Hands: California Opens First Ecosystems Immersion Experience

Plants, animals and hands-on science populate nearly every inch of the 45,000-square-foot Ecosystems Experience at the California Science Center, in Los Angeles. Highlights among the 11 environment experiences range from walking a 24-foot-long transparent tunnel through a 188,000-gallon display inhabited by a living kelp forest (the rainforests of the sea), to encountering a desert flash flood in a safe splash zone to conducting experiments on a polar ice wall.

The Rot Room, which shows how natural cycles depend upon processes of decomposition, courtesy of carnivorous insects, is a huge draw for kids. Other exhibits spotlight river, island, rocky shore and urban ecosystems. An interactive Global Zone, which projects images onto a global map from inside a large sphere, lets visitors discover how the Earth transfers matter and energy through ocean currents, atmospheric circulation and the planet’s carbon and water cycles.

“Ecosystems will give our guests an appreciation for how the living world and physical world are interconnected,” says Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president and CEO of the center. “We believe [the experience] will provide guests with the knowledge to become better stewards of the environment.”


Admission is free; advance online registration is required. Visit or call 323-724-3623.

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