Monday, November 17, 2008

An Educational Adventure in Space

Well, not really IN space, but close.

Because my oldest daughter and next to youngest daughter left Saturday morning for a one-day cruise, courtesy of Royal Caribbean and United Way, my oldest granddaughter Scarlett spent the weekend with us. My youngest daughter wanted to attend the second day of a school function 60 miles, so we started out on Saturday morning to make the trip, while her mom and aunt headed for the airport.

The trip wasn't bad, and we arrived to find the school get-together breaking up, but we were able to go to the pizza party. Afterwards, we drove to the Kansas Cosmosphere to decide exactly what we would do there and if we could get tickets for those activities. As it turned out, there were no problems with doing what we wanted to do, so we bought our tickets and began our Space Adventure.

The Kansas Cosmosphere is located in Hutchinson, Kansas, where the Kansas State Fair is held each fall. I've been to the Cosmosphere twice, but both times were several years ago and much improvement has been made.

From the Cosmosphere website:

"The Cosmosphere operates the world’s leading space artifact restoration and replication facility and is the only location designated by the Smithsonian Institution to restore flown U.S. spacecraft. Museums frequently contact the Cosmosphere for exhibit production and artifact restoration and replication."

Outside, we were greeted by a 107 foot Titan Rocket, stretching far above the building. Stepping into the building, we were amazed to find a SR-71 Blackbird hanging over our heads from the two-story ceiling. Our first item on the list was to see the IMAX movie, Fly Me to the Moon, the first ever animated movie created for 3D about three young houseflies that stow away aboard the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. It was cute and campy and filled with history of the 1969 flight and moonwalk. After it was over, we continued to the planetarium within the Cosmosphere, where we watched an interactive show about the night sky. (Maybe next time I look up at the stars, I'll be able to find a few constellations!) Then next it was on to Dr. Goddard's Lab, where we saw a live demonstration of early rocket technology in a replication of the 1930s lab of Dr. Robert Goddard, the pioneer of modern rocketry. Finishing up our day of space, we toured the museum, complete with restorations and replicas from space history, including a replica of the Bell X-1 Rocket Plane used in the movie The Right Stuff.

And they say Kansas is boring. If you're headed through our state and you or someone in your family is interested in space, do plan a stop at the Kansas Cosmosphere. It's definitely worth seeing, even for someone like me who was never interested in space. I really should have been. My dad worked at Boeing on the Apollo and Gemini missions. :)

No comments: