The institute announced Tuesday that it is honoring the center for its efforts to bring science education to millions of people over the past 25 years.
More than 700,000 people visited Discovery's Santa Ana campus last year. It also has outreach programs with 650 Southern California schools and plans to open a Los Angeles campus in the future.
The institute praised the museum for its innovative approach to teaching the public science through interactive exhibits, outreach programs other innovative efforts.
The institute is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.
Discovery is one of 10 U.S. museums being honored.