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Learning Centers in Los Angeles

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Autry Museum of the American West
Gone are the glory days of the Wild West, but you can still get in on the action at the Autry Museum of the American West. Just across from the entrance to the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park, you’ll find this 3,345 sqm complex with over 500,000 works of art and artifacts from the American frontier. Co-founded by musical western star Gene Autry in 1988, it’s natural that the museum would dedicate space to cool Western film memorabilia, from the pistols used by Steve McQueen to costumes from 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. There’s even a replica movie set of an Old Western town with storefronts. (Little-known fact: The first-ever feature-length movie filmed in Hollywood was a Western—the 1914 silent film The Squaw Man, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The camera used to film it is here, too.) A bronze statue of “the singing cowboy” Autry greets you at the entrance, but the museum covers much more than just Hollywood gunslingers—you’ll learn all about the real Old West, too. You’ll find engraved golden pistols given to Annie Oakley by her husband Frank Butler. There’s an extensive saddle display, a mail stage coach from 1855, Smith & Wesson revolvers, pioneer portraits, cowboy hats, buckskin jackets—even a saloon with a mahogany bar and roulette wheel.
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Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory is a Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! Since opening in 1935, Griffith Observatory has been a world leader in public astronomy, an icon of Los Angeles, a beloved civic gathering place, and one of southern California’s most popular attractions. Visitors can look through a telescope, see a live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, explore the exhibits, and enjoy the spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. In addition, its iconic façade has been featured in more than 300 films and television shows. The Observatory is a Los Angeles landmark and worldwide tourist destination for over a million visitors a year.
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California Science Center
he California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. The Science Center is open to the public seven days a week, 362 days per year, with free general admission to its permanent exhibit galleries. The facility, which opened in February 1998, spans more than 400,000 sq. feet and includes four major exhibit areas. World of Life probes the commonalities of the living world, from the single-celled bacterium to the 100-trillion-celled human being; Creative World examines the ways people employ technology to meet their needs for transportation, communication and structures; and Ecosystems, a major expansion opened in March of 2010, features an unprecedented blend of nearly 400 species of live plants and animals, and hands-on exhibits in 11 immersive environments. Ecosystems highlights include a 188,000 gallon kelp tank populated with live kelp, fish, and other marine life, a desert flash flood, and a special gallery dedicated to the urban ecology of Los Angeles. The Ecosystems experience empowers explorers with the science knowledge to become better stewards of the environment.
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of over 135,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of art history from new and unexpected points of view. A museum of international stature as well as a vital cultural center for Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collection with the Greater Los Angeles County and beyond through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over 1.5 million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions more through community partnerships, school outreach programs, and creative digital initiatives.
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Maritime Museum of San Diego
Maritime Museum features historic ships that display both permanent and temporary exhibits on board. You can see what it was like to live and work on these vessels at Maritime Museum of San Diego. Look into the cabins where ship crew mates would sleep, walk by the kitchen and dining areas to see where they had meals and satisfy your curiosity by seeing the very small bathrooms and showers. San Diego Maritime Museum offers daily public tours so that you and your friends or family can explore this place often - and learn plenty about ship life. Maritime Museum San Diego has public events that make for great experiences and quality bonding time with family and friends. During the Family Overnight Adventure at San Diego Maritime Museum, you and your loved ones can spend a night on the Star of India. Maritime Museum will tell you all about how the immigrants and crew lived and worked on this ship. Guests can participate in ship chores. You might raise the sail or rig a bosun's chair at Maritime Museum of San Diego. Your kids will know how to hoist cargo and sing sea chanteys like they were the original passengers on this ship after a fun day at the Maritime Museum.
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Railroad Museum
The Railroad Museum in San Diego in Balboa Park presents one of the largest indoor train models in the world, and it is also the only accredited railway-themed museum in the United States. San Diego Model Railroad Museum is educational, exciting and interesting for adults and children of all ages. Whether you grew up creating and playing with your own train models or you are a railway connoisseur, the Railroad Museum San Diego will provide you with entertainment as you admire the impressive designs and learn about the history of the railway systems in California. Guests will witness the transformation of trains and the railways through time and gain facts about the early railroad women in history. Visitors at the San Diego Railroad Museum will recognize the miniature version of famous San Diego sites and landmarks while trains zoom through the landscapes. The San Diego Railroad Museum features imaginary prototypes and the hypothetical design of the Pacific Desert Lines that were surveyed but constructed. The Railroad Museum San Diego also presents the real-life mountain scenes in the Tehachapi Loop and the Goat Canyon trestle on the San Diego and Arizona Eastern line, as train history and authenticity is preserved in each exhibit. The toy train gallery is also an exciting must-see attraction as it has four tracks and operating accessories. The kids will enjoy pressing the buttons to operate the coal trains, which blow horns, whistles and even smoke at the San Diego Railroad Museum.
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Sheriff
The William B. Kolender Sheriff’s Museum in Old Town, San Diego preserves and promotes the history of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for the enlightenment and education of visitors of all ages
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Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was founded in 1984 and is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display. Sea life on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, sea horses, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of very few in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna, and is one of the few aquariums to successfully care for the ocean sunfish in captivity. The centerpiece exhibit in the aquarium is a 1,200,000-U.S.-gallon Open Sea exhibit, which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has attracted more than 47 million visitors and has won awards for its exhibits, architecture, and cultural and educational impacts.
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Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (SCMNH) has been connecting people to the wonders of nature for over 100 years. Located above Seabright Beach, the Museum highlights the region’s diverse plant, animal, and human communities from the shoreline of Monterey Bay to the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains. We strive to fulfil our mission to connect people to nature and inspire stewardship of the natural world through an array of educational programs and exhibits focused on the natural and cultural history of the region.
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Marine Discovery Center
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center offers hands-on immersion into the world of ocean exploration and discovery. With a 20,000-square-foot visitor center, guests can touch a shark, explore the latest discoveries in ocean science, and take in the spectacular Monterey Bay, called the “Serengeti of the sea,” for its incredible diversity of marine life. Powered by the Long Marine Laboratory, a world-renowned university research facility, our exhibit hall offers a deeper dive into the fascinating and varied work of scientists studying the oceans here in Santa Cruz and around the world.
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Great Valley Museum
The GVM home is the first floor of the Science Community Center on the west campus of Modesto Junior College. Our museum focuses on the natural history and various habitats of the Central Valley of California.
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Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden
At this 135-acre outdoor, living museum, you can also explore the Hummingbird Trail to seek out the rare, elusive white hummingbird, and sniff pleasing scents of lavender, jasmine, and oregano in the fun Aroma Garden. The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden’s rich and diverse collection contains representatives of more than 300 plant families of Mediterranean climates. The garden maintains collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Particular specialties are world conifers, primitive angiosperms, and bulb-forming plant families. Large assemblages of plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California natives are displayed on the grounds. Many of the species in these collections are not otherwise available for study in American botanical gardens and arboreta.
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Lick Observatory
On the forefront of astronomical research since 1888 (before there was even a road up Mount Hamilton) the Lick Observatory is nothing short of an icon, with its foundation set firmly in Silicon Valley innovation and technological prowess. Beyond the stunning views from 4,209 feet above the valley, the brilliant history of how these giant telescopes were even dreamed up (let along how they came to be) and the mind blowing discoveries that have taken place with them, just being able to see light years away through the lens is enough to send one into orbit. Add in tours, music series, lectures by leading researchers doing cutting edge work, and other special events and you have one of the most unique and powerful experiences of the city.
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Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center provides exploration, education and entertainment for all ages. Nestled in the picturesque setting of Heritage and Science Park, the Science Center is a unique landmark designed by renowned architect Antoine Predock. The combination of ramps, hallways, galleries and terraces in this 140,000-square-foot building creates an intriguing environment of investigation and discovery. The Center contains four levels of exciting “hands-on” exhibits, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and a 5-story high giant-screen theater. The exhibits and galleries are designed to educate and entertain kids of all ages – from pre-K to gray! Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Science Center is within walking distance to nearby attractions such as Heritage Square, Phoenix Convention Center, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Chase Field, the Arizona Center and more. The Center is located at 7th and Washington Street and is accessible from Interstates 10 and 17, as well as the Metro Valley Light Rail.
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Aerospace Museum of California
The Aerospace Museum of California is one of aviation's greatest showcases with over 40 military and civilian aircraft and a world-class engine exhibit. Located 15 minutes from Cal Expo, the Museum has STEM activities from building block competitions and scavenger hunts to a motion movie ride and realistic Flight Zone simulators. Experience every era of aviation from a fully restored 1932 Curtiss Wright speed wing biplane to the Titan IV LR87 space booster engine. Come experience the amazing innovation of flight!
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Veterans Oasis Park and Environmental Education Center
Chandler unveiled another dynamic, mixed-use facility in April 2008 with the Veterans Oasis Park and Environmental Education Center located in the northeast corner of the city at the intersection of Lindsay and Chandler Heights Roads. The center includes four classrooms for wildlife preservation and environmental awareness, exhibit areas, outdoor amphitheatre, nature store and an urban fishing lake, all surrounded by more than four miles of trails. A primary purpose of the facility is to recharge reclaimed water into the ground for later use. The staff works with local schools to develop nature-oriented activities that complement their curriculum. Programs offered for residents and visitors cover topics such as birdwatching, green living, gardening, water conservation, nature photography, orienteering, alternative energy and stargazing. Entrance to the Environmental Education Center is free and visitors are welcome to view the exhibits and walk the trails around the urban fishing lake.
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The Leonardo Museum
The Leonardo is a non-profit community-powered museum which opened in 2011. The museum combines science, technology, and art in experiences that inspire creativity and innovation in visitors. By adding several hands-on experiences to the traditional museum experience, they believe are forging a new way forward in the museum industry. Once home to the Salt Lake City Public Library, The Leonardo’s downtown location has served the people of the Wasatch Front for nearly 50 years. As a result, The Leonardo is tremendously proud to carry on the legacy of community learning and invites you to become a part of this unique community powered museum experience.
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Red Butte Garden - Utah
Red Butte Garden is Utah’s Botanical Garden and part of the University of Utah. It is the largest botanical garden in the Intermountain West. Explore themed gardens, a children's garden, waterfall and pond and nearly five miles of natural area hiking trails. “Four Seasons, A Million Reasons” to visit for floral shows, outdoor concerts, camps and classes. A new 4-acre garden opened May 2017 to rave reviews and amazing views.
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Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Make this your first stop to discover Pueblo Indian culture. Enjoy our interactive permanent and rotating exhibits, meet artists selling their handcrafted works, conduct research in our Library & Archives, and experience our cultural dance program—a truly unique educational opportunity (see website for days and times). Travelling with a group? Take an in-depth guided tour, or schedule a frybread-making class. Browse books, original works of pottery, turquoise jewellery, textiles, and art at Shumakolowa Native Arts. Owned and operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, Shumakolowa has been a trusted source of authentic Native American art for more than 40 years. Pueblo Harvest, our on-site full-service restaurant, features an acclaimed menu that includes regional favourites, our award-winning Tewa Taco, and freshly baked Pueblo oven bread. Pueblo Harvest is known for extraordinary regional and Native-sourced, Pueblo-inspired cuisine that blends honouring legacy and history with exhibiting artistry and modernity. We source as many ingredients as possible from the pueblos of New Mexico and other tribal communities throughout the U.S.
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National Hispanic Cultural Center
A world-class center for Hispanic arts and culture featuring an art museum, a state-of-the-art performing arts complex, a library and genealogy center, a restaurant and gift shop. Enjoy art exhibitions throughout the year and celebrate Hispanic traditions through various festivals and celebrations including Cinco de Mayo and Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). The Center’s facilities are also available throughout the year for private and corporate events. The NHCC is part of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
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I Painted That! Social Art
I Painted That! is a BYOB social art studio in El Paso, Texas where local artists lead you stroke by stroke to paint your own work of art. Come alone or bring your friends. No experience is required and everything is provided. Bring your favorite drinks and snacks, and prepare to have your artistic side emerge. After the class, take your painting home with you.
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Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Anderson Ranch is home to one of the most respected visual arts programs in the country. Located on a 5-acre historic mountain ranch in Snowmass Village, the Ranch offers over 140 Summer Workshops for artists of all ages and levels in Photography & New Media, Ceramics, Painting & Drawing, Furniture Design & Woodworking, Sculpture, Woodturning, and Printmaking. Summertime Children's and Teen Workshops are also available. The Ranch has art galleries with a full exhibition schedule and Art Works gift shop. The Ranch cafe is open in the summer for lunch. Winter and Spring Artist-in-Residence Programs are available for emerging and established artists to further their artistic practice. Field Expeditions and Studio Concentrations available. Public events are free and offered year-round.
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Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
Buffalo Bill Cody remains the ultimate Old West icon. One of his final wishes was to be buried on Lookout Mountain above Denver, and his grave site at Lookout Mountain Park is free to visit. As part of the Denver Mountain Parks system, the park offers an engaging museum dedicated to the life and times of Buffalo Bill and his internationally known Wild West show, a curio shop and café located in the historic log Pahaska Tepee building, short walking and hiking trails, a picnic area featuring one of the oldest mountain rustic picnic shelters in the Denver Mountain Parks system, and sweeping vistas from mountain to plain. While you’re there, look for Sitting Bull’s eagle feather headdress in the museum, have a buffalo burger at the café, and enjoy a rustic mountain experience only 12 miles from Denver.
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Colorado Railroad Museum
Lose track of time year-round at our Depot Museum and 15 acre rail yard featuring over 100 engines, cabooses and coaches, our garden railway and our renowned library and roundhouse restoration facility with working turntable. Special events and train rides behind a vintage steam locomotive throughout the year. Train rides every Saturday.
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Lubbock Lake landmark
Smithsonian Magazine has named this Lubbock landmark one of the top five destinations to see evidence of first Americans. In fact, evidence of human life from 12,000 years ago has been uncovered at the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark.
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Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium isn't just a fun place to spend time with friends and family. It's also the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest, nestled inside the 700-acre Point Defiance Park with views of Mount Rainier and Puget Sound. And with over 520 different animal species, a vintage carousel and Zoolights, there's plenty to explore. Glide with a shark. Wiggle with a walrus. Chirp with budgies. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is full of animals that will capture your heart and imagination, in habitats from tropical waters to lush bamboo forest. Explore them all here.
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Pacific Science Center
There’s always something new to learn at the Pacific Science Center, which features a tropical butterfly house, two IMAX theaters, a planetarium, and hands-on science experiments on topics ranging from reaction time and gyroscopes to pollinator plants.
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Royal BC Museum
See all of British Columbia at the Royal BC Museum, a world-class museum of natural and human history. Explore our core galleries and immerse yourself in tales of where we've been and where we are going. Discover things and people you never knew before. Marvel at the totems, masks and cultural treasures featured in the world-class First Peoples Gallery. Experience authentic artifacts and highly realistic settings -- from the Woolly Mammoth in his rocky, icy world to a tar-scented trip on the HMS Discovery. Your experience doesn't end with Museum's galleries.
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The Museum of Anthropology
Just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver and the Vancouver International Airport, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC houses one of the world’s finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations arts in a spectacular Arthur Erickson designed building overlooking mountains and sea. See magnificent carvings, weavings and contemporary artworks inside the soaring glass and concrete structure of the Museum’s Great Hall. Admire the world’s largest collection of works by acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid, including his famous cedar sculpture The Raven and the First Men. Explore the Museum’s Multiversity Galleries where more than 9,000 objects from around the world are displayed. Visit the award-winning Koerner Ceramics Gallery, displaying a collection of European ceramics unique to North America. Stroll the Museum’s grounds, where monumental Haida houses, poles and Musqueam house posts capture the dramatic beauty of traditional Northwest Coast architecture and design. Enjoy a wide range of special exhibitions and public programs, including free guided gallery walks, visit the MOA Shop and relax in Café MOA.
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Myriad Botanical Gardens
The Myriad Botanical Gardens is one of Oklahoma City’s most beloved public spaces, offering its visitors a 15 acre natural escape in the very heart of the metro known as downtown Oklahoma City. A children’s garden, an off-leash dog park, “splash fountains,” as well as paths for walking and jogging provide guests young and old with a place in which to find solitude with nature or seek community and the company of others. The Myriad Gardens provides an elegant backdrop for events both large and small, ranging from concerts at the Bandshell to intimate weddings in the Crystal Bridge Conservatory. Additionally, the Myriad Gardens offers a variety of horticultural education programs for adults and children. Classes range from story reading, making chocolate, wreath-making workshops to the annual Oklahoma Gardening School and more.
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OKC Zoo
The OKC Zoo, Oklahoma's largest and most popular cultural attraction, invites you to discover the wonders of wildlife and wild places. Enjoy world-class habitats including Great EscApe, Cat Forest/Lion Overlook, Oklahoma Trails and Sanctuary Asia where you'd find the amazing animals of the Asian continent. The Zoo's collection includes the critically endangered Grevy's zebra; a herd of majestic giraffes; ostriches; Addra gazelle; Asian deer species, including the Pere David, which is extinct in the wild; and the newly discovered okapi, located in only one forest in the world - the Ituri in the Congo. Also don't forget to see some African carnivore, such as the African painted dog and cheetah.
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Ralph Klein Park & Environmental Education Centre
Calgary's newest natural wetland on the city's southeast border opened summer 2011. The 30-hectare park is named after former Mayor and Premier Ralph Klein. Learning gardens. Interpretive trails. Wetland viewing areas. Study stations. Environmental education centre includes classrooms and meeting rooms. Available for corporate functions, weddings and private bookings. The 30-hectare park on Calgary’s southeast edge offers learning gardens, a natural playground, interpretive trails and wetland viewing areas. The environmental education centre includes classrooms and meeting rooms.
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TELUS Spark Science Centre
TELUS Spark Science Centre is a space for people of all ages and abilities to let go and embrace the desire to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math. Exhibits and programs ignite a sense of wonder and excitement. Over 200 hands- on experiences and the largest Dome theatre in Western Canada. General admission covers all special exhibits, unlimited Dome shows and the award winning outdoor Brainasium park. Enjoy a bite in the Spark Eatery and find unique gifts for that science geek in your life in the Spark Store. Spark Science Centre is a registered charity, and every dollar you donate empowers a child, a student, a parent, or a new Canadian to discover a world inspired by curiosity. Drink out of a toilet! Lay on a bed of nails! Live science demos, amazing Facilitators and an open studio where you can create and explore. Currently showing Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out, as well as the new Dome show, Great Bear Rainforest!
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Austin Zoo
The mission of Austin Zoo is to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. Located on the southwest edge of Austin off of Highway 290 West and Circle Drive, Austin Zoo is a pleasant Hill Country zoo where visitors from around the world can come to learn about animals close-up, spend some time outdoors getting exercise and have fun. Zoo currently have over 300 animals, representing more than 100 different species. Austin Zoo animal collection includes animals from other facilities that are being retired due to age, health or other issues; animals that were seized in animal cruelty cases; retired laboratory research animals; and individuals’ exotic pets they needed to rehome due to changes in the owner’s lifestyle or the inability to provide appropriate care for these pets. Over 237,000 individuals visit Austin Zoo annually, including tens of thousands of students and teachers visiting on field trips. Austin Zoo currently occupies approximately 15 acres of land, and owns another 40 acres which will provide ample room for expansion as the Zoo continues to grow.
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Austin Aquarium
The Austin Aquarium welcomes you to experience everything the deep blue sea has to offer with our unique interactive experiences. Guests are encouraged to hand-feed sharks, rays, birds, and fish.Get up close and personal with our kangaroos and Lemurs, or pet one of our caiman lizards. Above all, the Austin Aquarium promotes education through an engaging experience in a safe and comfortable environment. Kids and adults alike are sure to be amazed at the soft skin of our sharks and rays among other experiences. Austin Aquarium provides children and families access to the excitement and learning opportunities of the ocean without the long trip to the coast. Guests can watch jellyfish float and glow, admire the bright and colorful corals, feel the soft ray on their fingertips, interact with tropical birds and reptiles, … all within easy reach of home. Austin Aquarium offers multiple educational programs and events for kids. Popular activities include feeding the animals, Birthday Parties, Private Events, Sleep with the Sharks, and Morning Rounds.
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Texas Discovery Gardens
Texas Discovery Gardens is a 7.5 acre organic botanic garden featuring native and adapted plants. Inside, our two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium transports you to a tropical rainforest, complete with hundreds of free-flying butterflies.
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Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History
There's something for everyone at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History. Traverse the world of South Texas and marvel at treasures from a 1554 Spanish shipwreck and the 1686 French shipwreck "La Belle".