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Based on the 4As (Aeronautics, Astronomy, Astronautics and Atmospherology), the Aerospace Education Lab (AEL) provides Windward communities with high quality educational opportunities. The AEL includes a hands-on exploratorium, a lending library of resources and an online curriculum guide. Our resources are available free of charge.

To book a school visit or to make an appointment to borrow resources, contact AEL Staff or call 808-235-7321.

WCC's AEL serves public, private, parochial and home schools in Hawai‘i, particularly those located on the island of O‘ahu. While this science discovery center is utilized mostly by grades pre–K to 6, the AEL reaches a broad spectrum of the Hawai‘i community: from preschoolers to high school students to senior citizens — from the Cub Scouts to the Civil Air Patrol to international visitors.

 AEL coordinator teaching students as they are sitting excitedly and raising their hands

The AEL specializes in low-tech, hands-on activities. Visitors are encouraged to actively engage in learning through discovery and exploration. This tacile, haptic interaction with the environment fosters a "first-contact" learning experience that is missing from passive activities and the realm of virtual reality. By keeping the activities at a low-tech level, teachers and parents can replicate many of the experiments in their classroom or at home. The Aerospace Exploration Lab's philosophy is based on an ancient Chinese proverb:

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.

Impact on the Community

As the only science resource center and hands-on museum on the Windward side, the AEL provides the Windward area with convenient as well as high caliber educational opportunities for our community.

The AEL, in tandem with Windward Community College's Imaginarium, is designed with our community's educational needs in mind — to make a difference in our children's future.

Our goal is to encourage students to journey to the horizon's edge, to look beyond at their exciting futures, and to make them fly. This vision is captured in the Aerospace Exploration Lab's motto Let your imagination take flight!

Room full of aerospace learning games, books, models, and more

Serving Generations of Children

The Aerospace Exploration Lab officially opened to the public at Pu'ohala Elementary School on Feb 27, 1989. In 1990 the AEL relocated to a temporary building on the Windward campus until its permanent home in Hale 'Imiloa (Science Building) and was finally opened in 1997.

Over the ensuing decades, the AEL has served some 500,000 visitors. Many of this early students have now grown up to bring their own children to AEL to explore, learn and enjoy — among them, the CAE Director's own children and grandchildren.

Static Exhibits

In addition to its hands-on activities, static exhibits highlighting aviation and space science are displayed around the AEL — from a variety of model aircraft and rockets to a collection of meteorites and planetary globes.

The static display themes run the gamut from science fiction (Star Wars) to science fact (NASA).

static exhibits including models of space ships, Mellinium Falcon, USA Space Pod, books, airplanes and more.

Lending Library

Teachers may borrow any of the Aerospace Exploration Lab's lending library resources, free of charge.

  • over 1,000 books and pamphlets
  • over 500 video titles
  • approximately 200 aerospace curricular programs and packages

Online Curricular Resources

An extensive collection of online education resources in aerospace science is available at:
Center for Aerospace Education's Online Curriculum

A CAE-produced electronic booklet on the art and science of Voyaging is available at Voyagers: Risking the Dream

This multidisciplinary curriculum guide celebrates the human spirit of adventure — the driving force that has long propelled vessels across the oceans and now hurls ships through outer space.