SAN DIEGO—The Fleet Science Center has been awarded $5.6 million in a one-time infrastructure investment by the State of California.

The funded Science Starts Here infrastructure improvement project will increase public access and recapture 4,500 square feet of long-dormant exhibit space, increasing the Fleet’s accessible footprint inside the existing building. 

The project also will create a 3,000 square foot free-to-the-public entrance gallery. This public space to share with the community underscores the Fleet’s mission of connecting everyone to the power of science.

“The Fleet is pleased to receive this funding to inspire future generations of scientists, innovators and change-makers. We thank State Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assemblymember Christopher Ward for their support and for championing this significant investment in direct benefit of the communities that we serve across San Diego,” said Fleet Science Center CEO and President Steven Snyder. “This infrastructure improvement project will not only support students and teachers but also nurture what studies show is a marked increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among children.”

Atkins (D-San Diego) reiterated the importance of increased, more equitable opportunities. 

“Having represented Balboa Park throughout my tenure on the San Diego City Council and State Legislature, it is a distinct pleasure to be able to help secure funding for park projects such as the Fleet Science Center exhibit space expansion,” said Atkins. “For over half a century, the Fleet has created transformational moments of inspiration, connecting youth and adults to the power and possibilities of science to create a better future.” 

Ward (D-San Diego) continued that this expansion will grow STEM innovation, benefiting all. 

“I am so pleased to have helped secure money in the state budget for the Fleet Science Center to expand its exhibition space,” said Ward (D-San Diego). “Connecting young minds to science at the Fleet Science Center will ignite curiosity, foster critical thinking, and cultivate a lifelong passion for discovery, which will help drive future innovation and progress.”

“We are very grateful to receive this funding to improve visitor experience, increase public access and recapture gallery space,” said Fleet Science Center Vice President for Advancement Chris LaZich. “The Fleet is excited to start this project and to work with the community to celebrate the heritage of and connection to science that exists throughout San Diego County.”

The Fleet was awarded the greatest funding from the nearly $25 million in the state budget secured for critical City of San Diego programs and projects.

The Fleet Science Center has a 50-year proven track record of serving as a responsible steward of public and private funds. 

The access that the Fleet has to classrooms and families throughout San Diego County, in combination with its status as the most visited museum in Balboa Park, positions the organization to effectively maximize the impact of this transformative renovation initiative. Beyond the investment in infrastructure, this project will foster meaningful community engagement, create inspirational public spaces and promote science education for all the Fleet’s visitors.

For more information or to schedule an interview with a Fleet Science Center official, please contact Fleet Science Center Communications Specialist Suzanne Sanders at (619) 238-1233 ext. 804 or

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Press images and B roll

About the Fleet Science Center
Since 1973, the Fleet Science Center has been a central link between science, schools and scientific organizations, collaborating with the communities that call San Diego County home. Its mission is simple yet bold: to realize a San Diego where everyone is connected to the power of science. The organization delivers on this mission through engaging experiences and culturally driven education programs in neighborhoods throughout the county and the historic Balboa Park flagship location. The Fleet creates places of inspiration by collaborating with communities to support and grow STEM talent in San Diego. From interactive exhibits and school field trips to free science programs, the Fleet is forward-thinking and consistently evolving to create positive change in the world. To learn more, visit

About Balboa Park
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urban-cultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit

Tan building, the Fleet Science Center, on a sunny day with blue skies and trees