Big Lab Field Trips

Overview of the empty Wallis Annenberg Building: Big Lab taken from SE corner, showing central fountain and upstairs bamboo terrace
Image attribution
Aurelia D'Amore Photography

Welcome to the Big Lab!

This is no ordinary laboratory...

With 32,000 square feet of WIDE-OPEN space and GIANT customized activities, students will conduct ENORMOUS investigations, make HUGE discoveries, and have MASSIVE amounts of FUN through inquiry and exploration!

Enhance your upcoming field trip by reserving a hands-on, minds-on learning experience in the Big Lab! Your young scientists will roll up their sleeves and engage in a custom learning experience as they work side by side with our incredible team of talented educators.

All field trip programs support Next Generation Science Standards.

Field Trip Program Options

Grades K-2 View Details
A beach ball floats over a tube as a diverse set of campers experiment with air
Image attribution
Leroy Hamilton
Grades K-2
All About Air

Where is air? Everywhere! Explore the properties of air and harness its power by taking aim with AirZookas, launching tennis balls from the Tennis Ball Launcher, designing and dropping rotocopters from the Mega Tower, and much more!

Grades K-2
Ooey Gooey Slime Lab

Roll up your sleeves, this might get messy! Students will use their observation skills while learning best science practices in the laboratory as they measure, pour, mix, and create their own glow-in-the-dark slime!

Grades 3-5 View Details
Youth participating in a field trip program, testing boats in the Water Works pool
Grades 3-5
Boats and Balance

Don’t rock the boat! Find out why some boats float and some boats don’t by working with a team to design, build, and test model sailboats in the Big Lab’s 40’ x 20’ Water Works pool.

Science Center educator assisting young girl with activity
Grades 3-5
Rocket Engineering Lab

3,2,1, Blast off! Design, build and test your own rockets to determine which designs work best. After reviewing the major parts of a rocket, students will design and build their own straw rockets to take home!

Youth participating in hands-on erosion program
Grades 3-5
Erosion Lab

How was the Grand Canyon formed?! Dig up some dirt on how erosion has carved our Earth. Students will work in pairs to experiment and investigate water erosion and how it helps form our land. The program concludes with a challenge to protect a house from a flash flood!  

DNA illustration
Grades 3-5
Squid Dissection Lab

Quit squid-ing around! Students will work in pairs to dissect a real squid to learn about its external and internal structures. How does the body of a squid compare to that of a mammal? Dive into our squid dissection to find out!

Grades 6-8 View Details
Students constructing roller coaster in the Big Lab
Grades 6-8
Roller Coaster Engineering

What goes up, must come down! Explore gravity and energy by engineering a roller coaster on the Big Lab’s Giant Wall. Through experimentation, students will find that keeping some variables constant while changing others will be the key to keeping their material from flying off the track!

DNA illustration
Grades 6-8
Cow Eye Dissection Lab

Don’t miss out on this eye-opening experience! Learn about the external and internal structures of the eye and their function. Students will work in pairs to dissect a real cow eye!

Reservation Information

Book your field trip for the 2023-24 school year!

Cost: $395 per session

Sessions available Tuesday-Friday at 10:00-11:00am, 11:15am-12:15pm, 12:30-1:30pm
Program length: 60 minutes
Students: 28 maximum per session
Chaperones: 8 maximum per session

To reserve, or get more information:

Reservations: Call 213-744-2019
Questions: Email [email protected]
Learn more: Visit the Field Trips & Groups page
Reservations must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. All programs require a $25 non-refundable deposit to confirm your scheduled date and time. The deposit is applied to the cost of your program. Programs include admission to our permanent galleries, including space shuttle Endeavour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Big Lab located? View Details

The Big Lab is located in the Wallis Annenberg Building, directly adjacent to the main California Science Center building. See a map of the grounds.

Walking from the exhibit galleries to the Big Lab can take 10-15 minutes. Please allow ample time to walk between locations. Groups arriving late to the Big Lab will receive shortened programs in order to stay within the designated time frame.

Does the Big Lab include access to the California Science Center? View Details

Yes, admission to the Science Center is included in the Big Lab fee. Additional reservations will be required for any group interested in IMAX and/or special exhibits.

Is there anything important to know about the Big Lab? View Details

The Wallis Annenberg Building is an open-air building, with no permanent roof covering the Big Lab. The experimentation area is open to the elements, and can be wet or cold in winter months. Some programs may be subject to changes in case of inclement weather. Warm clothes are suggested on cold days!

Do we need to bring any special supplies for the Big Lab experience? View Details

No, all supplies will be included.

Can I reserve a program that is different from my grade level? View Details

Yes, but with some limitations. While the activities, demonstrations and conversations planned for each program are best suited for the intended grade band, our educators are experienced in adjusting complexity up or down as necessary. It is recommended, however, to only go up or down by one grade level. For example a group of Kindergarteners would struggle in a class designed for 5th graders, but a 6th grade program could be appropriate for a 5th grade class.

What if our group has more than 28 students? View Details

Groups that are too large for one program may split into two or three programs based on availability. Generally, while each group is in the Big Lab, the rest of the students will explore the Science Center, allowing all students to experience all elements of the field trip.

Can the start time or end time of the program be changed? View Details

Unfortunately the Big Lab schedule cannot be adjusted. If your group needs to leave early or start late, elements of the program will be removed to allow us to complete within the standard time frame.

What happens if we are running late? View Details

If your group is running late, please notify us by calling 213-744-2019. Based upon your arrival time, our staff will remove/alter elements of the program to fit within the shortened time frame. Program end times will not be extended to make up for late arrival.

Groups arriving to the Wallis Annenberg Building more than 30 minutes after their scheduled start time will not be accommodated. These groups will still be responsible for full payment of the program fees.

What is the chaperone policy? View Details

Big Lab programs require a minimum of 1 chaperone for every 10 students, with a maximum of 8 chaperones total per program. Chaperone and student capacities are calculated separately. Chaperones cannot utilize student spaces and vice versa. Chaperones must stay with the group throughout the program.