Chabot Space & Science Center is a non-profit organization and community resource situated on 13 acres in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, in the middle of the largest coastal redwood stand in the East Bay. Chabot houses a 241-seat full dome planetary, immersive and hands-on displays, space objects, a giant screen theatre, a Challenger Learning Center, and the only regularly accessible research-level telescopes for weekly live viewing in the Western United States. Chabot's mission is to inspire and educate learners of all ages about the Universe and the Earth.
The institution started as the Oakland Observatory in 1883 with a donation from Anthony Chabot to the City of Oakland. The original Oakland Observatory was located near downtown Oakland and provided a public viewing telescope for the community. It has also operated as an official timekeeping station for the entire Bay Area for decades, measuring time with its transit telescope.
The observatory moved to its position on Mountain Boulevard in 1915 due to rising light pollution and urban congestion. The facility was greatly enlarged in the mid-1960s. Throughout this time, the Chabot Science Center, as it was known, was staffed primarily by Oakland Unified School District employees and volunteers. In 1977, seismic safety issues put an end to the access of public school students to the original observatory. The observatory building remained open to the general public, but school events were restricted to the outlying classroom and planetary buildings.
Recognizing the need to restore complete access to the facility, either by repair or relocation, Chabot Observatory & Science Center was founded in 1989 as a Joint Powers Agency with the City of Oakland, the Unified School District of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Park District, in partnership with the Eastbay Astronomical Society, and was registered as a non-profit organization in 1992. The project was led by Dr. Michael D. Reynolds, Executive Director and CEO of Chabot, in October 1996 with the construction of the new 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) Science Center starting in May 1998.
In January 2000, awaiting the opening of the new building, the company changed its name from the Chabot Observatory & Science Center to the Chabot Space & Science Centre. The new name was chosen to better reflect the organization's emphasis on astronomy and space science, thus communicating both the wide variety and the technologically advanced nature of the programs offered at the new Science Center.
Opened on August 19, 2000, the Chabot Space & Science Center is an 80,000-square-foot (8,000 m2) state-of-the-art science and technology education facility situated on a 13-acre (53,000 m2) site on the hills of Oakland , California. Formerly a member of the Smithsonian Affiliations network, the museum is no longer an affiliate.
- Two planetariums: a "full dome digital projection system" with various shows running daily, and a Zeiss Universarium fiber-optic projector with weekly shows.
- The Tien MegaDome Theater, a 70-foot (21 m) dome screen auditorium which presented various IMAX-like shows.
- The Challenger Learning Center, a hands-on simulated space mission environment where 8 teams work together to complete a mission.
- Many changing exhibits, full of hands-on displays, that highlight space and science topics. As of August 18, 2006, there are nine open exhibits.
- "Leah" is an 8" refractor telescope built in 1883 by Alvan Clark & Sons and donated by Anthony Chabot.
- "Rachel" is a 20" refractor telescope, commissioned in 1914 from Warner & Swasey, with optics by John Brashear. It is the largest refractor in the western United States regularly open to the public.
- "Nellie" is a 36" Cassegrain reflector telescope which opened in August 2003, housed in a rolling roof observatory. The primary mirror was donated by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and figured and polished by Rayleigh Optical Corporation. Control systems and mount drives were purchased from DFM Engineering.
This amazing landmark is located in California’s Alameda County and is only a short distance away from:
- Jack London Square
- Oakland Zoo
- Lake Merritt
- USS Hornet - Sea, Air and Space Museum
- Mission Peak
- Coyote Hills Regional Park
- The University of California Botanical Garden
- Del Valle Regional Park
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!