My kids and I visit California ScienCenter in Exposition Park from time to time, roughly a 1 hour drive from Thousand Oaks. It is worth the drive. The ScienCenter is built in the location where the first State Exposition Building that opened in 1912. The redeveloped building is modern and beautiful, with several floors of scientific exhibits of interest to all ages, including Ecosystems, Creative World, World of Life, Air and Space and Science Court. Entrance to the museum is FREE, although donations are greatly appreciated. Parking is $12 (as of December 2016).
The "World of Life" exhibit on the third floor is a perennial favorite in our family, where we get to see everything from brains and lungs to live cockroaches, termites and animals. There's also a kids' "Discovery Room" with additional fun activities for the younger one.
If you have more time and energy on your trip to Exposition Park, visit the adjacent Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California African American Museum as well as the Exposition Park Rose Garden (where they have 16,000 or so rose plants).
California ScienCenter is located at 700 State Drive at the corner of S. Figueroa and 39th Street in Exposition Park. Visit www.californiasciencenter.org or call 323.SCIENCE (724.3623) for more information.
The Space Shuttle Endeavor went on a flyover trip to the West Coast atop a Boeing 747 on Friday, September 21, 2012. The Endeavor completed 25 successful space missions between its first mission on May 7, 1992 and its final mission in May 2012 to the International Space Station, now resides at the ScienCenter in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. It is so popular that you must reserve a time slot to visit. There is a $2 convenience fee for reserving a spot at www.californiasciencecenter.org/GenInfo/PlanningYourVisit/Hours/endeavour/endeavour.php.
NASA named California ScienCenter one of only three museums in the U.S. to permanently exhibit a retired space shuttle. We have visited the Endeavor and the exhibit is extraordinarily impressive. Learn more about the Endeavor at www.californiasciencecenter.org/Exhibits/AirAndSpace/endeavour/Endeavour/Endeavour.php.