Without archeology, the only reason for humans to collect rocks would be to defend themselves against enemies with scissors. Ogle some storied stones with today's Groupon: for $8, you get admission for two at the Western Science Center in Hemet (up to a $16 value).
The Western Science Center illuminates the last 230,000 years of the Diamond Valley Lake region's history in a 43,000-square-foot facility packed with interactive displays of artifacts and fossils. Adults and children alike will marvel at the museum's exhibits, gaping in disbelief at a nearly seven-foot-tall giant ground sloth, a 10-foot-tall mastodon named Max, and average-height staff. Engaging exhibits also show guests what life was like for indigenous people and early western settlers. The museum and on-site research lab share nearly one million archeological artifacts and paleontological specimens, the bulk of which were unearthed during the building of the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in the early 1990s. View some of these pieces by peering through magnifying glasses in a discovery lab or by exploring a recreated quarry.
Two short films make the circular movie theater shake and rattle as giants from the Ice Age stampede and step dance across the 270-degree screen. A LEED Platinum–certified museum complex, the center is known for its green design, which features a rooftop bedecked with a 3,000-panel photovoltaic array and a generator powered by the curiosity of children. The science center also hosts special exhibits, which may require an additional fee on top of this Groupon, with a current display examining the life and cartoons of Charles Schulz.
Western Science Center
More than one million fossils and artifacts were unearthed during the construction the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Hemet. These time-swept relics make their home in the Western Science Center's museum complex, creating a bridge between ancient eras and the scientific advances of the future. The campus itself is steeped in advanced design tactics, making it the first museum in California to earn a Platinum LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A rooftop covered with 3,000 solar panels provides more than half of the museum's power needs, and a combination of heat-resistant windows and forced-air circulation keeps the interior cool while spending less energy on air conditioning and ice sculpture maintenance.
A journey through the ages begins from the moment visitors step from the parking lot and under the Life on Earth Timelime, a 156-foot corridor of geologic time rings from Pre-Cambrian to Holocene that leads to the museum lobby. Inside, they explore permanent and temporary exhibits, including "Max," the largest mastodon skeleton found in the Western United States and the Discovery lab highlighting the tool contemporary architects use every day. Crowds can take a seat in the immersion theater with a 270-degree screen to watch a pair of short films about the time when giant creatures roamed California and how the region was excavated and preserved.