The Get Outside Center (GOC) opened in 2014, with funding from a single generous donor who promised to fund all our expenses for 2 years. We have just completed our third year in operation.
The idea was to create a free community resource that would, after two years, become supported by local businesses and community members.
Our Vision Team planned and schemed for two years to find a way to remove common barriers to getting outside. We decided that what our community really needed was a resource center right downtown, where even people who don’t yet value nature shop, work, and eat. We decided to make this place easy to get to, completely free, super comfy and fun, and open all year.
The Get Outside Center brings in many children and families, and has something for all ages: Trail maps, live animals, digital microscopes, rotating hands on activities, and staff naturalists to answer questions. It has an extensive resource library so you can look up information, and includes everything from small children’s books, to in depth books for serious naturalists. For a small fee, visitors can become members and then check out all kinds of cool gear, including waterproof boots, high quality binoculars, compasses, field guides, backpacks, snorkel sets, and more.
We get about 1000 drop in visitors a year, and also host classes, events, and a Meetup group.