Sunday, February 25, 2024

Interactive "Eco Challenge" exhibit opens at Discovery Science Center

In this video, media producer Mindi Lipschultz demonstrates the interactive characters and interface of the Eco Challenge exhibit on location at Discovery Science Center. Her work was done for the exhibit producer, Cinnabar Inc.

SANTA ANA, Calif. USA – Discovery Science Center and OC Waste and Recycling have partnered to bring a state-of-the-art, environmentally themed, eco-friendly exhibit to Orange County which opened September 1, 2011. Eco Challenge is an interactive exhibit area that combines elements of OC Waste and Recycling’s mission to protect the environment and promote recycling with Discovery Science Center’s ability to merge learning with fun.

The goal of the Eco Challenge exhibit is to stimulate behavioral change in the local community on a long- term basis. The hope is that guests will make eco-friendly decisions in their daily lives and ultimately form habits that will have a positive impact on the environment of Orange County.

Eco Challenge features three hands-on, interactive exhibit areas. First, visitors will master the skills of a green super hero in the Discovery Market by learning to become an eco-friendly shopper. Then, interactive activities inside the Eco Garage reveal the importance of identifying and properly disposing of household hazardous waste. Finally, visitors will get the dirt on trash in the Race to Recycle activity and learn how to be wise about sorting their trash to maximize resources and minimize the amount of recyclable materials going to the landfill. Throughout these challenges, members of the Eco Crew offer guidance at each decision point and serve as role models for visitors of all ages.

Discovery Market demonstrates the impact that various products and packaging materials have on the environment and teaches visitors to reduce waste before creating it through responsible and mindful shopping choices. Guests will learn to identify environmentally-friendly packaging and products by making their own decisions while shopping in a high-tech, simulated grocery store. Armed with a shopping cart containing a computer with a touch screen monitor, scanner and a set of shopping lists, guests will use the scanner to shop for the items on their list. As items are located, shoppers are presented with variations of each item (differing in packaging, materials, etc…) and prompted to select one. The “correct” products will have environmentally-friendly characteristics such as the least wasteful packaging, most easily recycled, non-toxic, or made from recycled materials.

Race to Recycle is a hands-on, highly interactive game in which guests are taught the difference between recyclables, household hazardous waste, green/yard waste and landfill waste. This activity features a life-size waste hauling truck on which four smaller trucks are mounted, representing four players racing to the finish line. The challenge begins when the truck dumps its load of waste materials onto a conveyor belt. Players must quickly sort the materials into four categories: recyclables, hazardous waste, green waste and landfill waste. As the players sort their materials correctly, their small waste hauling truck advances toward the finish line. The first player to correctly sort enough items to move their small truck across the finish line is the winner! Guests are encouraged to apply the concepts learned in this game to sort their own household waste and to be mindful of conserving space in local landfills.

Inside the Eco Garage, visitors are given a scanner and challenged to identify household hazardous waste items such as paint, gardening pesticides, motor oil and batteries. The goal of this challenge is to teach guests to identify household hazardous waste in their own homes and encourage them to properly dispose of these items at their local household hazardous waste collection facility. Guests will learn that there are often subtle, but important distinctions between hazardous and non-hazardous waste, such as the difference between an empty (non-hazardous) paint can and partially full paint can, which must be treated as household hazardous waste. They will also learn the importance of keeping household hazardous waste out of landfills and the impact this has on the environment and the future of our planet.

“We are so grateful for the shared vision and leadership demonstrated by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and OC Waste and Recycling,” said Joe Adams, Discovery Science Center President. “I am proud that Discovery Science Center is utilizing a first-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art exhibit to educate children and parents on the importance of making eco-friendly decisions for the long-term.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Campbell agrees.

“We all do some recycling,” Campbell said, “And we can all do more. The Eco Challenge Exhibit helps to show us what more we can each be doing to reduce, reuse and recycle. Young visitors to the Eco Challenge exhibit will be the ones creating innovative solutions to 21st century challenges. We believe that this exhibit will be a catalyst to inspire them.”

About the County of Orange and OC Waste and Recycling
The mission of the County of Orange is to make Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services. OC Waste & Recycling helps fulfill this mission by meeting the County’s solid waste disposal needs by providing waste management services, protecting the environment, and promoting recycling in order to ensure a safe and healthy community for current and future generations.

OC Waste & recycling manages one of the nation’s premiere solid waste disposal systems, which serve 34 cities and over three million residents. OC Waste & Recycling operates a network of three active landfills and four household hazardous waste collection centers. Visit for more information. 

About Discovery Science Center
Discovery Science Center is Orange County’s leading destination for hands-on science fun where guests can explore more than 100 interactive science exhibits. Blast off in the Boeing Rocket Lab featuring a real rocket engine, explore the planets in the Planetary Research Station and discover the science behind a puck in the Science of Hockey. Discovery Science Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating young minds, assisting teachers and increasing public understanding of science, math and technology through interactive exhibits and programs. Visit

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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