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Science center returns to its roots

This article appeared in the September, 23, 2011 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Science center returns to its roots

By Lisa Justice
Special to the Enterprise

Explorit Science Center welcomes you back to its Mace Ranch Park facility for the opening of its new Forces of Nature exhibit.  The exhibit opens Saturday, October 1 at 1:00pm at 3141 5th Street in Davis.

Explorit Science Center has been housed in Mace Ranch Park since 1992, but the facility itself has a much longer history.  A historic home owned by the Mace Ranch Investors, the Mace Ranch House was first built in 1951 on the site of a hundred-year-old farm and cattle ranch.

The land known as Mace Ranch Park entered into written history in the mid-nineteenth century as part of a Mexican land grant.  In 1850 Col. Joseph Ballinger Chiles purchased the Mace Ranch Park portion of the grant.

Chiles planted grain, raised horses and cattle and erected a two-story family home near where the Mace Ranch House stands today.  That home stood until the 1950s when the current house was built.

As the Chiles family grew, the ranch was divided and diversified.  Grain and horses gave way to sheep farming, and later alfalfa and sugar beets.

When the C. Bruce Mace family purchased a portion of the original Chiles ranch land, they farmed it with tomatoes, wheat and alfalfa.  They built and lived in the Mace Ranch House until 1985.

Six years later, Explorit Science Center negotiated our current tenancy with the home’s owners, Mace Ranch Investors, who had purchased the property in 1981.  Explorit moved in the next spring on the occasion of our tenth anniversary.

Explorit has maintained offices in Mace Ranch Park ever since.  Now, on the cusp of turning 30, Explorit has returned its exhibit space to its roots in Mace Ranch Park.

The new exhibit, Forces of Nature, explores the science in the world all around us.  From the principles of flight to the power of continental drift, visitors will experience the wonders of movement in our lives.

Young children will also enjoy investigating a variety of activities geared for those five and under in our Discovery Den.  And no visit to Explorit would be complete without dropping in to our animal alcove to greet Connie the ball python or Blizzard the blue tongue skink.

So as Explorit comes home to Mace Ranch Park, we invite you to join us on Saturday, October 1 from 1:00-5:00pm.  We will be open the first weekend of the month, Saturday and Sunday 1:00-5:00pm beginning October 1.  And be sure to like us on Facebook to stay up to date with all our news.

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Explorit’s coming events:

• Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m: Explorit’s newest Exhibition, “Forces of Nature” opens.  This exhibition welcomes the public back to our 3141 5th Street Nature Center and will feature some of the best of Explorit’s past exhibits.
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Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. and is open to the public every first Saturday and Sunday of the month.  For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit http://www.explorit.org, or “like” us on Facebook.

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