Mary Tran: Inside Discovery Cube’s Dora and Diego Exhibit

Mary Tran: Inside Discovery Cube’s Dora and Diego Exhibit

Even though my kids may have outgrown Dora and Diego, the Dora and Diego – Let’s Explore! exhibit was fun to explore. Plant flowers in Isa’s Flowery Garden, help Tico gather nuts at Tico’s Tree and Car, uncover pirate treasure at Piggies’ Pirate Ship, help baby animals in the Animal Rescue Center, line up the stars at Constellation, and help Dora and her friends pilot the Rocket Ship.

Discovery Cube OC Dora and Diego Explore Map Photo LetsPlayOC

Like the television series, the exhibit is designed to help children use eight different abilities proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner at Harvard University (verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, music/auditory, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, naturalistic, and interpersonal (social and self).

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Let's Explore Family Guide Photo LetsPlayOC

Family Guides:
Be sure to grab one of these Family Guides upon entering the exhibit! It is nicely illustrated to help families get the most out of the exhibit as well as exploring at home. What I like about the exhibit is that they have interactive components throughout the exhibit encouraging parents to be a part of the experience. For example, in Isa’s Flowery Garden, I saw a sign that said, “Grownups, help your child say it in English and Spanish,” and “Grownups, C’mon and play! Slide a puppet through the fence.”

Discovery Cube Dora and Diego Adult Interactive Play Photo LetsPlayOC
Piggies’ Pirate Ship: 
In the Pirate Ship, children can look through the telescope to spot the treasure chest, raise and lower the flag, dress like a pirate, and learn how to divvy up the coins into the Piggies’ banks.

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Explorer Exhibit Pirate Piggie Ship Photo LetsPlayOC
Rocket Ship: 
Aboard the Rocket Ship to go back to the Purple Planet. Children can put on a spacesuit, pilot the ship, and test their memory to help Dora and Boots. On the way to the Purple Planet, Dora and Boots encounter interesting star groupings at Constellation. On the Purple Planet, children can climb inside and slide down to exit.

Discovery Cube Rocket Ship Purple Planet Photo LetsPlayOC

Tico’s Tree and Car: 
Tico is headed to a family picnic and needs help filling up his basket and car with nuts.

Discovery Cube OC Dora Diego Explore Tico's Tree and Car Photo (c) LetsPlayOC

Isa’s Flowery Garden: 
In the garden, Dora’s friend, Isa the Iguana, children can pick flowers and learn how to care for flowers, plants, and animals.

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Explore Isa’s Flowery Garden Photo LetsPlayOC
Diego’s Animal Rescue Center: 
At the rescue center, children can learn how to care for rainforest animals (they are stuffed) by using the scanner beds, diagnosing the situation, cleaning the animals, and applying First Aid.

Discovery Cube Dora Diego Animal Rescue Center Photo at LetsPlayOC

Rainforest Maze: 
Explore a rainforest to locate the animals while children can climb across Jaguar Mountain, swing across Bobo Brother’s monkey bars, and crawl through a fallen tree.
discovery cube jaguar mountain dora diego photo letsplayoc

Have fun,

Mary Tran: New Summer Exhibits at Discovery Cube OC: Extreme Dinosaurs and Hands-On Harley Davidson

Don’t want the kids sitting around all summer? Well, Discovery Cube OC has two new summer exhibits for hours of exploration and fun: Extreme Dinosaurs and Hands-On Harley Davidson. Your kids won’t want to leave this place!

Hands On Harley Davidson Exhibit Discovery Cube OC photo letsplayoc


Hands-On Harley Davidson

(May 28th – September 11, 2016)

Hop on a hog and ride as this interactive exhibit will have you Dream It, Build it, and Ride it! Young engineers can learn about engine parts, flare out their ride with flames and logos, learn about traffic safety, and more! My little one shows us all the different ways you can test acceleration, speed, friction, and gravity in the engineering lab.

Extreme Dinosaurs

(May 28th – September 5, 2016)
Stomp into the prehistoric world of Extreme Dinosaurs. With 17 life-sized featured dinosaurs including some of the newest finds from the “Golden Age” of paleontology, this interactive exhibit will give you a better understanding of these Wonders of the World. Dig for fossils, observe their movements, study their skeletons, or take a quiz, you’ll want to push all the buttons on the touch panels. Watch the virtual tour below!
Don’t forget the other permanent exhibits at Discovery Cube offering hours and hours of fun. There’s the Eco Challenges, Dino Quest, Helicopter Tour, Mission Control, Water Gallery, Planetary Research Station, Science of Hockey, Inspector Training Course, Healthy Kitchen, and more! Get out there and have fun this summer. For more detailed information about the exhibits, please visit Discovery Cube’s website at
Discovery Cube Orange County
2500 N. Main Street
Santa Ana, CA
Discovery Cube OC Extreme Dinosaurs Exhibit Photo at LetsPlayOC

Mary Tran: Bubblefest at Discovery Cube!

What child doesn’t love bubbles? Just in time for Spring Break, Bubblefest is back in Orange County, and they’re celebrating 20 years of all things bubbles. Now through April 10th at the Discovery Cube OC, families can roll around in water spheres, take a family photo being inside a bubble, learn the science of bubbles in the Bubble Lab, watch an exciting performance of the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show performed by Deni Yang, and more! There’s even a Cube Jr. Playground for the littles.

Discovery Cube Bubblefest Courtyard Bubble Wands Photo LetsPlayOC
Mega Bubblefest Laser Show
The laser show never gets old. This is our third year seeing the show, and it’s still fun to watch. Bubble Artist, Deni Yang, has been doing it for over 20 years along with his family, and they even hold the Guinness Book of World Record for longest soap bubble wall. Deni does a great job captivating everyone in the audience especially the little ones. The Snow Story about his niece is super cute, and Deni creates all kinds of bubbles including smoke bubbles, square bubbles, and putting two children in a bubble. Toward the end of the show, we were in a bubble blizzard which lasts several minutes. It’s pretty funny, and we couldn’t see anything until it ended.

Discovery Cube Bubblefest XX Laser Show Photo

My kids especially enjoyed the laser show, bubble wall, rolling around in the water spheres, racing through the obstacle challenge, and playing with bubble wands in the courtyard. My favorites are the laser show and the Me-in-a-Bubble photo. Please note that general admissions is required with Bubblefest tickets. I have some details for you below and an opportunity to for one lucky reader to win an annual family membership at the Discovery Cube. Good luck!

discovery cube bubblefest water spheres photo letsplayoc

Discovery Cube Bubblefest Obstacle Challenge Photo letsplayoc

Have fun,

Mary Tran: Enter the Annual Gingerbread Competition at Discovery Cube OC!

Enter the Annual Gingerbread Competition at Discovery Cube OC!

Do you love building Gingerbread Houses with your family? Are you really creative and like to go all fancy? Enter the Annual Gingerbread Competition at Discovery Cube! Every year local companies, schools, families and organizations are invited to build their own creations and enter. It doesn’t have to be a house. It can be a barn, church, castle, or a structure. Entries will be judged on imagination, construction, decoration detail, use of gingerbread, color and adherence to guidelines.

 Discovery Science Center Gingerbread 2014 Photo by

Award Categories: 

  • Best Holiday Theme
  • Best by an Organization
  • Best Youth 5 and Under
  • Best Youth ages 6-13
  • Best Youth Group/ Classroom
  • Best by a Member of the Cube
  • Best Hot Wheels Inspired
  • Best Science Theme People’s Choice

Important dates to note: All entries must be dropped off from November 21-November 29, between the hours of 11am and 4pm, excluding Thursday, November 26. Entries will be displayed starting November 27, 2015 through January 3, 2016. All entries must remain at Discovery Cube during this time period. Entries will be judged on December 1-2, 2015. Winners will be announced at the Gingerbread Awards Ceremony and notified by mail no later than December 11, 2015. To enter, fill out an entry and return to Discovery Cube OC along with your creation by the specified deadline.

Science of Gingerbread Exhibit!

November 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Come visit the Discovery Cube starting November 27th and learn all the science that goes into Gingerbread! Fun for the whole family, come visit Santa (see dates and times below), decorate (and eat) holiday cookies, build and race your own candy car, and check out the award-winning gingerbread competition!
Discovery Cube Gingerbread Derby Photo by

Activities include:

  • Gingerbread Derby Competition (11am, 1pm, & 3pm)
  • Kitchen Chemistry Learning Station
  • Gingerbread Spices Learning Station
  • Build a House Learning Station
  • Hall of Traditions
  • 3D Printing of a gingerbread house
  • Do You Want To Build A Snowman? Science of Snow Stage Show (on select dates only)
  • Cookie Decorating in the Healthy Kitchen (on select dates only)
  • Santa Meet & Greet (on select dates only – please see schedule below)
Science of Gingerbread
November 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Discovery Cube OC
2500 N. Main Street
Santa Ana, CA
$17.95 Adults
$12.95 Children (3-14)
Free for Children 2 and under.
$14.95 Seniors
Free for Members.
On-site parking is $5 per vehicle (cash only).

Meet Santa!

Meet and take pictures with Santa at the Discovery Cube!
Santa will be visiting on the following dates:
Friday, 11/27/2015 – Sunday, 11/29/2015 (11 am – 3 pm)
Saturday, 12/5/2015 – Sunday, 12/6/2015 (11 am – 3 pm)
Saturday, 12/12/2015 – Sunday, 12/13/2015 (11 am – 3 pm)
Saturday, 12/19/2015 – Thursday, 12/24/2015 (11 am – 3 pm)

This blog post was written by and all the photos are by Mary Tran.
You can read her blog, Let’s Play OC, here.

Mary Tran: Science of Gingerbread
and NEW Winter Wonderfest

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my boys and I were at Discovery Cube OC’s Annual Science of Gingerbread. It was not only fun to check out the competition, but also educational! We learned about the ingredients that go into making gingerbread, compared rocks to candies, watched a 3D printing of a Gingerbread House, raced our gingerbread car with candy parts, and Santa was there too!

Gingerbread Competition

Everyone went all out and got really creative! Even the team from Bean Sprouts Cafe got in on the action and called theirs “Santa and the Beanstalk.” We saw everything from Minions to castles, Minecraft, candy factories, Gummy Bear Land and more using all fun themes. Some used candy, brownie bites, girl scout cookies, gum drops, colored waffles, Nightmare Before Christmas used red licorice, and everything you can imagine. Watch the short video below for a peek!

Gingerbread Derby

Competitions are held daily at 11am, 1pm, & 3pm. Who knew that building a vehicle with candy could be so much fun?! There are three stations. Here’s what you’ll need to know…

Station 1 – Speedy Sweets Car Parts

Each child will be given a ticket to redeem for a bag of car parts. Stay in line to get bonus candy pieces up to 6 items. Children have the opportunity to select their car wheels. Besides the taste, which one will race faster?

Discovery-Cube-Gingerbread-Derby-Car-Parts-Photo-LetsPlayoC Discovery-Cube-Gingerbread-Derby-Photo-LetsPlayOC

Station 2 – Sweet Ride Garage

Take all the parts to an open table and start building! How creative can you get when you build your wheels and axle? For example, we inserted the skewer stick inside the straw and taped the straw to the bottom of the graham cracker. We cut the jellybean in half to secure the Lifesavers wheels to the stick. The Gummy Bear and Peppermint Candy was placed strategically in the back to provide weight and make the car go faster.

Station 3 – Gingerbread Derby

After we secured everything down with tape, we headed over to race! Stand at the end of the track to see if it will beat out the competition!

Meet Santa!

Kids get an opportunity to meet with Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas. Santa will be there on these dates: Saturday, 12/12/2015 – Sunday, 12/13/2015 (11 am – 3 pm) and Saturday, 12/19/2015 – Thursday, 12/24/2015 (11 am – 3 pm).

Other activities include a Kitchen Chemistry Learning Station, a Gingerbread Spices Learning Station, a Build a House Learning Station, Hall of Traditions, Cookie Decorating in the Healthy Kitchen (on select dates), and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Science of Snow demo at the Stage (on select dates). There’s also a Little Elves area for children under 5.
We had a great day learning about the Science of Gingerbread, and want to came back to check out the winners of the Gingerbread Competition. The Hot Wheels exhibit is still there until January 3rd! Everything is so festive this time of year and Discovery Cube makes learning about the science educational and fun!

Have fun!

New Winter Wonderfest!

Something new is coming to Discovery Cube OC this winter! 100 tons of snow is arriving for activities like snow tubing, snow play, snow sledding, and learning all about the Science of Snow! Everyone will get to slide down a 70 foot long ramp on inner tubes, make snowflakes, build snowmen, enjoy snow sledding, and more! Tickets to Winter Wonderfest is an additional $5 plus general admissions. For more ticket information, please visit their website.


Mary Tran – What’s Inside Discovery Cube OC’s ECO Challenge Exhibits?

This is a sponsored post.  #DiscoveryCubeMoms

Have you played the Super Eco-Shopper Game and the Race to Recycle Game at the Discovery Cube Orange County? Both games are really fun and educational. My kids like to use the scanners, and we’re racing to be the fastest sorter. Most recently I went to Discovery Cube OC to learn more about their ECO Challenge Exhibits and their partnership with OC Waste Management. As you may already know, the games are designed to help children learn to be mindful of what they put into the landfills. Let’s take a closer look.


Discovery Market

In Super Eco-Shopper Game, there are 6-Eco Games, 4-Games about Nutrition, and 1-Junior Eco (for ages 5 and under). The games are designed to be engaging and challenging while helping kids recognize the packaging labels when they see it. The idea is that the more they do it, the more they learn what they buy will end up in landfills.

For example, one of the question was, Scan which eating utensils are best for the environment. 
Options are: Plastic Utensils, Recycled Plastic Utensils, or Stainless Steel Utensils? (I got this wrong by the way.)

The answer was not black/white. I had to look at the packaging. The first one is Disposable, and the second one is 100% Recycled. I think I selected Recycled and got it wrong. The correct answer is Stainless Steel Utensils, because they are more durable and can be washed and reused. Nutrition in the labels are listed in order of ingredients. The ones listed first generally has the highest concentration in the product, and some of the words are disguised. For example, one of the nutrition questions was to identify which product had the most sugar. (I got this wrong too.) I had to recognize that some of the different names of sugars were listed as sucrose, dextrose, glucose, fructose, corn syrup, molasses, honey, or extract of raisins, and I had to learn how to read the labels. (I got the list of examples from pressing the “Hint” button.)



You can see how you’ll want to visit this exhibit again and again. The product examples are common and the faux food look realistic. Kids love it, because they want to get a perfect score so their picture gets displayed on the Super Eco-Shoppers Photo Wall. (They can only miss one question.) This game is not only fun, it’s really informative for all ages.

For younger kids, you’ll want to select Junior Eco. Their questions are easier and they have questions like, “Identify which one is bigger?” and then the eco-education is inserted at the end. It’s a great learning tool for everyone to learn together. There are 6 questions and one list.


Race to Recycle Game! In Race to Recycle, there are four categories: Landfill Waste, Green Waste, Recyclables, and Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). They only give us 20 seconds in each category to sort through waste, and we’re competing with 3 other teams. It’s a really fun game to test your knowledge, and it can get competitive. I played more than once because I didn’t like to lose. Some of the things I thought were recyclable surprised me when I got it wrong. For example, I threw musical greeting cards and shoes with lights in the landfill, but they really need to go into the Household Hazard Waste bin, because they have batteries. If you’re not sure why you got it wrong, visit the What’s What? Board to learn more, then play again.


Eco-Garage Game

The Eco-Garage Game takes you into the garage and wants us to start thinking about what items DO NOT belong in the trash and needs to go to a local Household Hazard Waste (HHW) Collection Center. You have one minute to identify 15 HHW items in the garage. I haven’t really thought about this. I know that you shouldn’t throw batteries, electronics, and motor oil in the garbage, but never knew where to take them in. This timed game had me realize there is more items that I shouldn’t be throwing in the trash such as chemicals, pesticides, bleach, fluorescent lights, aerosol cans, or cleaners.


At the end of the game, it listed where my local HHW Collection Centers were. You can find yours too by putting in your zip code here: If you’re in Los Angeles, yours will be through the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. Each facility will be different so you might want to familiarize yourself with their procedures and regulations. For example, there is a maximum limit you can drop off at one time and you must remain in your vehicles while an attendant removes your items from your trunk. They will not return the container so be sure to store it in a box or container you do not want to keep.


At the end of the game, it listed where my local HHW Collection Centers were. You can find yours too by putting in your zip code here: If you’re in Los Angeles, yours will be through the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. Each facility will be different so you might want to familiarize yourself with their procedures and regulations. For example, there is a maximum limit you can drop off at one time and you must remain in your vehicles while an attendant removes your items from your trunk. They will not return the container so be sure to store it in a box or container you do not want to keep.

-XOXO, Mary

This blog post was written by and all the photos are by Mary Tran. You can read her blog, Let’s Play OC, here.

Mary Tran: Inside the New Hot Wheels: Race to Win Exhibit @DiscoveryCubeOC #discoverycubemoms


Hot Wheels Fans, start your engines and race over to Discovery Cube OC to learn all about the engineering and behind-the-scenes of fast cars, and why Hot Wheels is still popular for generations to come. For example, Hot Wheels don’t have engines so how can you move a car without an engine? It’s all in the design! Boosters and launchers add speed to the cars. They also compare the different sound of race cars. (The faster the engine spins, the higher the pitch.)

This interactive exhibit is broken up into colored zones:

  • Explore engines and power in the Yellow Zone,
  • Refine your motorsport design in the Blue Zone,
  • Examine the safety technology of racing in the Red Zone, and
  • Meet your need for speed in the Green Zone.


RACE SAFETY: Learn the physics in head restraint devices to keep the head safe in a crash. Racing helmets have changed from leather with goggles to fire-proof helmets, visors, and debris-reflecting hard shell. It also features how do drivers stay safe in an accident.

PIT STOP CHALLENGE: Race against the clock to jack up the car, change tires, and gas up in this team challenge.

DESIGN: Race Car designs have changed over the years. They use light weight materials like Carbon Fiber Fabric because it’s 5 times stronger than steel and weighs a lot less.

TEST: Test theories by experimenting with a six lane downhill speed track, booster power track, adjustable angles track, and timing track.


For Media Preview night, Hot Wheels’ Head Designer Alton made a special appearance and taught a Mattel Design Class. The most important thing to remember about drawing a race car is to add personality to it.  What a special treat!


My boys loved it! Those are just a few things found in the Hot Wheels exhibit for hours of fun. You can also check out floor models of real race cars. My boys have been asking to go back so I’ll have to find another opportunity to take them.


Hot Wheels: Race to Win Exhibit
Now through January 3, 2016!
2500 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA
(714) 542-2823

Hot Wheels Products found in the Discovery Cube OC Store.

This blog post was written by and all the photos are by Mary Tran. You can read her blog, Let’s Play OC, here.

Mary Tran: Discovery Cube’s Zoo and You Camp Discovery at Santa Ana Zoo #discoverycubemoms

This is a sponsored post.

You may have noticed that I was shadowing the children at week-long summer camps offered at Discovery Cube OC. Usually parents are not allowed to observe, but as a one of the Discovery Cube Moms ambassadors, I made special arrangements to be able to do this, and I’m so glad that I did, because I was learning too. There are several summer camps offered at Discovery Cube for ages 5-10 broken into two age groups. The two that I will highlight are The Zoo & You at Santa Ana Zoo and Ultimate Explorations at the Discovery Cube OC.

The Zoo & You at Santa Ana Zoo

At The Zoo & You Camp, designed for ages 5-6, parents dropped off their children at the Santa Ana Zoo at 9 am to 12:30 pm. There is one instructor, an assistant, and several volunteers. This 5 Day Camp has a new theme every day. Every day the children toured the Zoo, read a themed book, sang songs, took 30 minute snack breaks, and worked on themed crafts in their air conditioned barnyard classroom. (The classroom is also handicap accessible.)
Monday – Farm Animals!
On Monday (the first day), children went over camp rules for touring at the Zoo, then they toured the Crean Family Farm and learned about the farm animals at the zoo.  They read a book called, Click, Clack, Moo. Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, and had an open discussion about how farms provide us with many of the foods we eat. The children had fun making their own butter by shaking heavy whipping cream, learned about different wool textures, made a bracelet, fed goats, and milked a mechanical cow named Bessie. The campers also received their camp shirts that day, and a daily letter to take home to their parents. What a full morning of fun! Can you believe that was just day one?

Tuesday – Birds!
On Tuesday, it was all about the birds. The children learned about what makes a bird a bird. They compared feathers, wings, beaks, and bones. They toured the aviary, explored a variety of bird nests, then made their own edible bird nest to take home. They read, The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett, and saw real samples of big and small bird eggs before they dissected a chicken egg. The instructor did a really good job explaining that we only “dissect with a purpose” before they opened the egg. They also received a visit from the Santa Ana Zoo members and residents.  On Tuesdays, the campers also get to ride the train around the Zoo. What a treat!

Wednesday – Primates!
On Wednesday, the campers learned about mammals and the different types of primates. They sang songs and read a book called, Gladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson. What’s unique about Santa Ana Zoo is they have to keep a minimum of 50 monkeys on site at all times. Campers played Primate Bingo during their tour. Then they came back to create monkey art by painting with fruit monkeys like to eat like apples, pears, etc. One of the monkeys they saw during their tour was the Emperor Tamarin which has a distinguished mustache so the children made their own mustaches to wear.


Thursday – Animal Coverings! 
On Thursday, campers learned about different animal coverings. They read “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly” Said the Sloth by Eric Carle. They not only toured the zoo, but had a visit from zoo staff which brought fun animals they can touch and feel like an armadillo, iguana, owl, bullfrog, and hedgehog. They compared feathers, wool, fur, reptile scale, and porcupine quills teaching them different coverings for survival. They played a fun game about how slowly Sloths move, and as a craft, they made their own paper Sloths to take home.


Friday – Bugs!
On Friday, they read a story book called Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen. One of the volunteers turned into a bee as they did bee anatomy. It was hilarious. Later, we walked around the zoo to look for bugs. The children also ran through the Amazon Maze. For crafts, they made several – a scorpion hat, a flower with colored tissue paper, and a bees wax candle. For their classroom observation, they saw those creepy bugs up close.


At the end of the day, they received certificates. Fridays are also Family Days. After camp, Campers invited their families to enjoy a personal tour of the zoo led by the campers themselves. It’s a really cute way to tie it all together, and let the child show their families what they learned all week.

It was my pleasure to follow The Zoo and You around all week. The camp instructor, the assistant instructor, and her volunteers were all great with the children. They made it really fun and interactive throughout the day, and I felt the children were well taken care of. I loved that they had a different theme every day, and it was certainly educational. For older kids ages 7-10, they offer another camp called Zoo Campand they’re there 9 am – 2:30 pm on alternating weeks. Zoo Camp will take them on an even closer look at the animals around the Zoo.

Both camps are offered through the Discovery Cube Orange County and are located at Santa Ana Zoo at 1801 East Chestnut Avenue in Santa Ana, CA. For more information or to see their other camps, please visit their website at
Coming Soon – An inside look of  Camp Discovery’s Ultimate Explorations at the Discovery Cube OC!

This blog post was written by and all the photos are by Mary Tran. You can read her blog, Let’s Play OC, here.

Mary Tran: Camp Discovery’s Ultimate Explorations at Discovery Cube OC #DiscoveryCubeMoms

Yesterday I went over all the fun we had at Camp Discovery’s The Zoo & You Camp at the Santa Ana Zoo. As one of the Discovery Cube Moms ambassadors, I wanted to observe Ultimate Explorations Camp which is held onsite at the Discovery Cube OC. This week-long camp is designed for ages 7 to 10, is held in a classroom setting, and is between 9:00 am – 2:30 pm. A new subject is explored each day, teamwork is encouraged during themed projects, and they also get to play at the Cube every day.


Monday: Sounds
On the first day, after they went over camp rules, they played a fun silly game to break the ice. Then they explored the science of Sounds. The instructor had them close their eyes to see if they can identify certain sounds. They played the Telephone Game to demonstrate how words can sound differently as they travel from person to person. Then they built a Lung Model before visiting the Sound of the Game exhibit to learn Frequency and Amplitude. They came back to build a Voice Visualizer which included a laser light. If you can make an 8, you have the perfect pitch! They also made phone with strings.
Tuesday: Power
The day started out with an electrifying demonstration from a guest speaker. Campers learned about open and closed circuits. They discussed the difference between Telsa Tower versus Edison bulbs, and they compared the LED bulb to the Edison bulb. After the demonstration, they tested various materials to determine if they were insulators (rubbers) or conductors (paper clip, switch, foil, etc). They then worked together as a team with Snap Circuit Kits to work on three projects – power a light bulb, power a siren, and then power to launch a helicopter. (I want to get that kit for Christmas). They also built a Porch Light which they powered with a battery and used a paper clip as switch.  The surprise of the day was taking home a mini-robot kit (solar powered) to build with parents.

Wednesday: Fossils

Campers learned about paleontologists today, and spent the morning looking for hidden fossils on their Dino Quests. They were given the option to work individually or as a team. When they returned to the classroom, they made their own fossils from a seashell, and they puzzled together dry pasta to recreate a skeleton of a stegosaurus dinosaur. They also examined a sand dollar to their ancestor, a Hemiaster.
Thursday: CSI Campers explored chemical reactions by testing pH levels in water, vinegar, soda water, and watered down ammonia with powders like baking soda, salt, sugar, and citric acid. They also examined the characteristics of fingerprints (arch, loop, whirl), and even learned how to lift a fingerprint using lotion, fingerprint dust, and tape. Who did it? They had to memorize facial characteristics within seconds, and then identifying the suspect in a book. It was surely a mysterious day!
Friday: Chemistry Day! On the last day, the children made their own mini-lava lamps with oil, water, food color, and alka-selzter. They made a gooey substance with glue, borax, and food coloring. Do you like your lemonade really sweet, sour, or both? Campers had to add their own sugar, salt, and citric acid to taste. They also compared the three under a magnifying glass. One of the last thing they learned that day was how to make ice cream with milk, vanilla abstract, and sugar. Camp-Discovery-Ultimate-Explorations-Summer-Photos-by-LetsPlayOC
At the end, campers received a certificate of completion. It was my pleasure to follow the campers around all week long. The instructors and volunteers were really fun and knowledgeable. The children seemed happy and wanted to participate. Some of the themes mentioned above may or may not change next year. The Discovery Cube OC is located at 2500 N Main St in Santa Ana, CA. There are several other camp programs available. For more information, please visit their website at or call (714) 542-2823.
This blog post was written by and all the photos are by Mary Tran. You can read her blog, Let’s Play OC, here.

Mary Tran: Expansion Now Complete at Discovery Cube OC! #NewattheCube

The expansion is now complete at the Discovery Cube Orange County! A few weeks ago, we attended the Expansion Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The front of the center was closed off to a special presentation. We learned about the generous donors and sponsors before balloons dropped and fireworks went off. It was pretty exciting!


Discovery Cube Orange County is a popular destination for school field trips and play dates to inspire, educate, and impact young minds in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as healthy living. Every year about 650,000 students and families visit the center. With 44,000 square feet of new building and exhibit space (including a new theater that can be transformed into exhibit space), you can imagine all the anticipation awaiting this expansion!


New at Discovery Cube Orange County is a new Bean Sprouts Cafe offering healthier, fun family-friendly food options at the Cube. On the Children’s Imaginibles Menu, you’ll find Do-Re-For-Me, Crocamole, Whoopsie Daisy, Bug Bites, and Flutter Bite. Learn more about their menu here.

In the Petersonville Healthy Kitchen, children become Chefs creating good-for-them recipes, and they will learn valuable kitchen safety tips as part of this health and wellness exhibit.


What’s New at the Cube!

A new 10,000 square-foot Julianne Argyros Showcase Theater and Exhibition Hall has the flexibility to transform from a 500-seat theater into an exhibition space. It currently houses the Sherlock Holmes Exhibit.
The Helicopter Tour is a virtual helicopter tour around Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.
In the Water Gallery and Water Lab (presented by Pacific Life), we learn about the science of Water: salt water to fresh water, and frozen water to water vapor.
Go on an adventure in a backyard to find and eliminate invading vectors using a touch-screen tablet. In the Inspector Training Course (presented by the Orange County Vector Control District), learn how to coexist with and keep your home free from mosquitoes, fleas, and rodents in this competitive scavenger-hunt styled game.

This post was written and all photos are by Mary Tran. You can read Mary’s blog, Let’s Play OC,here.