California Science Center

Best Free Museum, August 2011
For the thrifty the Getty Center is its most appealing after five on Saturdays, when the $15 parking fee—essentially the cost of admission—is waived. Scope out street parking near the California Science Center in Exposition Park at any time of day, and you won’t pay a dime to behold wonders like the Ecosystems exhibit, where a 188,000-gallon saltwater aquarium is filled with marine life (sea bass, garibaldi, leopard sharks) found off the Southern California coast. Make time for the World of Life exhibit, with its chicken hatchery and animal brain displays, and the interactive toys in Creative World. The kids will be enthralled. Who could put a price on that?