Explorit Science Center

'To ignite and foster curiosity about science and nature through inquiry and discovery.' Since the beginning of its inception, Explorit has focused on engaging people of all ages in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) learning through hands-on, minds-on activities.

Address:P.O. Box 1288
Davis, CA 95617
County or Parish:Yolo County
Primary NTEE:Education 
Sub NTEE:Primary & Elementary Schools 
Executive Director:Lars Anderson
Contact Email:LarsA@explorit.org
Primary Phone:530-756-0191
Explorit is now beginning its 35th anniversary! Founded in 1982 by local citizens, this home grown experiment was conceived as a cutting edge model of public exposure to science. It was a different breed of science center at a time when other types of science centers were focused primarily on the observation of scientific phenomena through formal demonstrations or traditional museum 'hands-off' installations. At Explorit the different emphasis was (and still is) on personal involvement in the process of science and nature. Our vision involves the use, by both children and adults, of every day materials to discover the mostly unnoticed, unappreciated science processes that make our everyday world work. Thousands of people each year experience Explorit's unique, hands-on exhibitions, programs, lectures, workshops, safaris and so much more. Our goal is to continue to engage people of all ages in hands-on activities that provoke questions and lead to experimentation with familiar tools and materials that we find in our everyday lives. Participants of our programs actively participate in the process of science and 'learn by doing'. Explorit has a particular style. It developed its style because it made Explorit stand out from the crowd, because it fit the philosophy of the founders and because it works! This style has matured over the last 35 years in response to the expressed and demonstrated needs and interests of Explorit's audience as well as to the capabilities of the staff and facility in which Explorit operates. Over the last 5-10 years, K-12 programs have begun embracing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which in large, part reflect the style and approach Explorit has fostered since 1982. the Our program guidelines are as follows: 'Let's use open-ended hands-on experiences.' 'Let's re-integrate the sciences into everyday living to reflect on the real world.' 'Let's reach out to other communities.' 'Let's include families.' 'Let's do science for all ages.' 'Let's share our enthusiasm that science IS fun!' 'Let's use familiar and available materials.' Through our variety of programs and services we strive to nurture understanding of the science in our lives, stimulate curiosity in people of all ages, instill confidence in people that they can do and understand science, increase public access to science resources, experts and information, enrich peoples lives through the joy of learning, empower individuals to make informed decisions and encourage stewardship of the earth's natural resources.
General Program Funding - Three decades of successful experience has shown that the most effective, feasible and practical way to provide quality, inspirational, science experiences to underserved students and families is through our traveling programs, which reach 20,000 elementary kids and their families at schools in 17 counties. These programs include popular day-time, in-class science topics as well as our unique "Family Science Nights" that fill multipurpose rooms with exciting hands on activities on science ("Science in Your World") and our newly developed environmentally oriented "Green World Healthy People" evening program. To sustain the positive impacts of those programs, and to continue providing young children (and families!) with critically important STEM-related experiences, our aging "workhorse" (but 17 years old!) cargo-type vans need replacing now! Our goal is to raise $40,000, which will provide one replacement vehicle critically needed to maintain hands-on science programs at schools in northern California. Explorit is very proud of our ability and capacity to "go where the kids and teachers need us"! Help us continue this most important and effective avenue for STEM-related discovery and learning! (We'd love to expand our "hybrid" fleet as well. Since many programs are 50-100 miles away, most e-vehicles don't have the range and cargo space.) We'd be happy to work with a major car/truck dealer to accomplish this goal as well. In the next two months, we're working to secure matching funds of at least $10,000 to help secure the total funds we need. Help us continue to succeed in giving kids the inspiration and opportunities they need to succeed in their educational careers and develop much needed critical thinking skills!
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Replacement van for traveling science programs
  2. Funding: Program - Replacement van for traveling science programs
  3. In-Kind Donations - Contractor for building upgrade
  4. Board Members - Representing Sacramento, Woodland, West Sacramento areas
  5. Volunteers - Weekend during our public hours: Exhibits
I first became involved with Explorit in 1983 and have been an active Board member serving three different terms as Board President. I was a research plant biologist with USDA on the UC Davis campus and was very impressed with the concept and mission of the bourgeoning science center in the mid 1980s'. The style and approach to hands-on, inquiry based science experiences has now grown in acceptance and use throughout most informal science centers and has also been incorporated in most recent NGSS and Common Core approaches: Learning and problem solving by doing! By offering both on-site and traveling programs to elementary school, Explorit has been able to reach many thousands of children and adults who would not have had the opportunity to travel or take time from school. In a typical year, Explorit reaches 30,000 children and adults which includes 15,000 to 20,000 at schools in a 17 county-wide area. As a scientist, I can see first hand the benefits of this informal yet encouraging style that exposes children to ideas, breaks down perceived barriers to science understanding and provides a rich and supportive context for understanding science in their everyday lives. Ultimately, we are sparking interest and no doubt leading children to consider STEM careers as well as being informed, thinking citizens. Explorit continues to lead in hands-on, interactive science learning this northern California region as we collaboratively develop and expand our programs to a new 160 acre science and nature park site in nearby Woodland, CA over the next three years.

Dr. Lars Anderson
Explorit Board President