In the middle of a quiet, little suburban neighborhood in San Pedro you would be surprised to see a hidden treasure in the guise of a small rural farm like facility. The San Pedro Science Center is an educational resource center and home to 150 animals and 80 species of native plants. A visit to the Science Center is an amazing and exciting educational opportunity for children and adults.
What to See
The center is an animal sanctuary and is home to many different and unique types of animals. Several of the animals there have been rescued by the Science Center. It’s one of the few places aside from zoos, where you can find a strange collection of unique animals such as an albino squirrel, a Shetland pony and a hog named Ophelia. My son particular enjoys their reptiles including bearded dragons and boas. In addition, they have numerous breeds of foul including, chickens, turkeys and geese.
My favorite part of the science center is the wide selection of plant life including many species of native plants and several fruit trees. The native garden attracts blue butterflies which were in danger of disappearing from the area until the cooperative efforts of several organizations including the San Pedro Science Center. They have planted native plants to give the blue butterflies a sanctuary for them to reproduce and repopulate the area. You will be amazed at how much life you will see living amongst the plants.
On the last visit there were a ton of caterpillars resting in their chrysalises. You can learn a lot about herbs and invasive species from the knowledgeable staff. They will even let you taste, smell and feel the texture of the plants. They are working with local community members to create a community gardens on the grounds.
On a field trip at the science center the classes were divided into three groups and taken on an educational tour. Students were introduced to the animals in one session. They were invited to hold and compare chicken eggs. Then they toured the grounds and met the animals. Nanette Roeland led the tour and shared everything about the animals including their histories. Many of the animals are rescues that were saved from being destroyed.
In another session the students were introduced to the garden. They were invited to use their senses to explore the garden and did leaf rubbings to help them with plant identification. A visit to the reptile room was another stop during the tour and was one of the kids’ favorite activities. I took pictures as the kids held bearded dragons and boas. In addition to fieldtrips, the Science Center is open to the public and is a great place to take your kids.
Unfortunately, the fate of the Science Center has been uncertain in recent years. The Science Center is run by the Los Angeles Unified School District, but because of budget cuts there has been discussions held about closing the center. It’s a shame because it is the only place of its kind in the area. If more people visit the center and showed support for the Science Center, then we as a community could guarantee that it remains open.
Have you been to the Science Center? What did you enjoy most?
San Pedro Science Center – (310) 832-7573
2201 Barrywood Ave, San Pedro, CA 90731