The Rocket Fever Festival at the Columbia Memorial Science Center is seriously one of the best hidden gems in the LA area. This was a free event and open to the public. It is every future astronauts dream and for all my space and rocket fans! Rockets are given out to all children when you check in, and you have the opportunity to launch it (you will get it back after). There are different stations to help build your rocket and make it launch. We learned how to insert the motor and how each piece works to make the rocket take off. There is a launch show so the kids (and adults) were awe to see all the rockets go. In addition, you are given free admission to the museum which usually cost $5 for anyone over 3 years old on other days. Inside there are other interactive ways to learn about rockets for all ages. The older kids get a one-on-one class and building one, and the younger kids get to make a balloon rocket, build it via cardboard pieces, or color one. The museum is very interactive so even my 1 and 3 year old loved learning by doing! Outside there is another rocket demonstration, freebies, food trucks, and a space ship bounce house! Freebies included an awesome planet poster, book, engineer pen, drinks, and bracelets. Columbia Space Center also host STEM City Science Fair which is supposed to be bigger and in April. Along with providing fun holiday events throughout the year. This is an annual event so I am definitely going to be attending every year.
Fee? The event is free and you get so many freebies! The only thing you need to pay for is the motor ($3 each) if you want to launch your rocket at the event.
The early bird gets the rocket! Make sure to go early to get your rocket! There were plenty available but they definitely encourage everyone to arrive early to ensure a great experience. We went in the morning and it wasn’t too hot, plus we had great parking. And for all my Valley or OC moms, the earlier you go the less traffic!!
Parking? Parking is free and available either at the museum or a short walk from the plaza. If you have littles it is a good idea to bring your stroller because there are so many stations. It was getting in the way, so we just parked it behind every station and that worked out perfectly. Plus, with all the freebies you want a bag or place to stash them.
Restroom accessibility for my potty dancing toddler? Yes, there is one near the launch pad and two inside the museum, so basically one at each end. There is also a family restroom which was located on the second floor.
What’s for lunch? They provided several food trucks which you have to pay for (shaved ice, cupcakes, hamburgers and Italian food) They all looked yummy! There is an awesome picnic area to eat so feel free to buy or bring your own food. I saw many families bringing Porto’s and I wished I would have thought about that too! Downey has a ton of great restaurants. So if you are coming from afar, take advantage of their restaurants while you are there.
Learning by doing! Thanks John Dewey. This place is all about this theory and it works. The festival isn’t just about being handed a rocket and you watch it go, but there are stations and volunteers that make you and your kids engage in the process and provide the vocabulary needed to understand. The same goes for the museum. There are so many interactive stations that it really engages a child and teaches them so much about space!