The Challenger Learning Center of Alaska is part of a series of learning centers of its kind throughout the United States. The program was created in 1986 by the families of the astronauts who were lost in the Challenger shuttle explosion. The center features space and earth programs designed to expose children to space exploration and natural science. Kids can experience simulated earth and space missions, participate in hands-on workshops, and be exposed to space through the center's distance education program. The goal of the center is to get kids excited about space science, as well as technology, engineering, and math. If kids who visit the center leave feeling as if they would want to pursue any of these fields as a career, the center feels it has accomplished its mission. Programs include experiences that incorporate communication, teamwork, and problems solving, all with a basis in space and earth science. The center also provides grade appropriate materials to educators, as well as reference materials and training. Overnight experiences are also available and there are dorm facilities onsite. End your visit to the Challenger Learning Center with a trip to the gift shop. There you can take home a souvenir from what you learned while visiting including astronaut ice cream, space pens, books, kits, chemistry sets, or robotic hands. There is also a variety of logo wear available.