Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to visit the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach where Discovery Cube’s newest campus, Ocean Quest, opened. Formerly known as Explore Ocean, Discovery Cube OC purchased the nautical museum in 2015 and converted into a year-round marine science center for visitors. Today, Discovery Cube Ocean Quest provides interactive, hands-on, educational experiences for guests of all ages helping them gain an understanding of the ocean while simultaneously developing the explorer within.
Upon arrival, we received a warm greeting from the staff, a goodie bag and a wristband to explore all of Balboa Fun Zone’s rides and attractions. Our instructions were simple – to visit each of the new Discovery Cube Ocean Quest exhibits and have fun. You didn’t have to tell my kids more than twice…they were literally off and running in seconds!
The Balboa Fun Zone combines three of my family’s favorite activities all in one – the beach, the amusement park, and the Discovery Cube. My husband and I also loved the fact that everything was so close together, all within the same Courtyard, and parking only costs $1.50 up to two hours.
About Ocean Quest in Newport Beach
After seeing the first Discovery Cube Ocean Quest exhibit, my middle child exclaimed “this is so neat!” Part of the reason we enjoy the Discovery Cube so much is that every exhibit is interactive, perfect for kids of all ages who love to explore and touch everything.
The news weather station exhibit was a fast favorite with my eight year old and preteen girls. This exhibit is basically a green screen with a camera that projects you “live” in front of a weather map. My kids loved doing the weather broadcast, while we loved seeing them on camera.
My 6-year-old son Aiden really liked the floating exhibit, in which he made a boat out of foil and placed marbles, stones and rocks inside until it sank. What’s not to love about making a boat, putting it water and sinking it!
As a parent, I enjoyed seeing my kids participate in science activities, while having fun. Furthermore, the Cube’s staff was very friendly and explained how each exhibit worked, and the science behind it all.
Discovery Cube Ocean Quest Field Trip Information
During a field trip to Ocean Quest, you will embark on a Newport Bay boat tour, explore hands-on marine environment-focused activities, visit the Ocean Lab exhibits, and participate in a scientific investigation of the bay’s marine life from the pier and the beach. Discovery Cube Ocean Quest field trips are highly interactive and based on NGSS.
Every field trip includes grade-specific activity booklets, hands-on exhibits and a live demonstration. All programs align with the State Science Content Standards and students receive a free “come again” pass good for ages 3-17. Advance reservations are required for all field trips.
Cost: As low as $12 per student
Length: 3 hours, between 9:00am & 2:00pm (open until 5pm)
Group Size: 30-135 students
Balboa Fun Zone Rides and Activities
After lunch, it was off to the Balboa Fun Zone arcade! My girls had a wonderful time playing the games and collecting tickets to trade in for prizes, while my little guy got to “ride on the motorcycle” just his father.
Then it was time to check out the amusement rides. My girls wanted to go on the “World’s Longest Ferris Wheel” first, so we did. We couldn’t stop laughing, as we had so much fun, and the ride seemed longer than most.
Afterwards, the kids wanted to give the rock climbing and trampoline attractions a go. One at time, they were connected to a harness, and jumped as high as there hearts desired. One of my kids even mastered a few flips!
But as you know, no day is complete at Balboa Fun Zone without going shopping. My kids really liked the candy store and getting a popsicle from BeachCity pops. They were quite fresh and delicious!
We had such a fantastic time at the Balboa Fun Zone, that my kids are still talking about our “beach day”. In fact, the day after our visit, my daugher asked me a question about erosion and sand bags, after she saw a sign in a construction zone. I was able to say “remember that exhibit at Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest, with the sand. Well, that is erosion.” My daughter replied, “oh yeah, I remember now!” You could literary see her making the connnection in her head.
In the end, who knew that a visit to Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest, would produce such a powerful learning experience and fun time all in one!
Happy Field Tripping!
SoCal Field Trips Blog Contributor