Tag Archives: outer space

Sandbox List Adventure 11: One Small Step For Man, One Giant Step For The Guatkind

17 May

He’s a firefighter. A secret agent. A doctor. A baseball player. A superhero. An astronaut … and sometimes he’s my Lego-building partner.

Most of these identities are imaginary and we do our best with our makeshift costumes and equipment made out of recyclable materials. However today I thought I would step it up a notch and provide an experience where I didn’t have to use an old Gatorade bottle or paper towel roll. Today we finally made our way to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour, something he’s been wanting to do ever since it made the long trek through the streets of our city and found its home at the California Science Center.

It was something we were so jazzed up about that I got advanced tickets so that we wouldn’t have to wait in the crowded line. I never get advanced anything but when it comes to kids’ activities I totally learn. I don’t want to get caught by every parents’ worst nightmare … The Public Meltdown. So you do whatever it takes, which includes the strategic planning of a genius … of a Mission Impossible agent … of a mother of two.

You get advanced tickets that give you an entrance time well after morning traffic, but before nap time. You plan it to get an awesome three or four-hour block of engaging entertainment. You check for the closest parking lots and always bring cash because you never know when the machines could be down. In addition you pack whatever it takes … granola bars, Goldfish Crackers, grapes, cheese sticks, fruit wraps, pita chips, an arsenal of juice boxes, books, learning toys with all the Disney, PBS, Sprout Channel, and Nickelodeon characters, and the master savior … The Ritz Cracker.

You walk out the door with your two kids and five bags and you think … I got this. I got this!  You slip in the Jack Johnson CD and know you’ll be there by track five or six. The morning rush hour should no longer exist.

And then you’re zooming passed the cars until disaster hits. Traffic. You don’t understand it. There shouldn’t be any. Did you expect big rig trailers and trucks … yes a few, but not a massive traffic jam filled with SUVs and sedans. You don’t understand it. And then after an hour-long trek, which really should have lasted twenty minutes, it hits you. Caps, gowns and Hawaiian leis. Graduation. College graduation.

By the time I finally parked, I was down to my last Ritz cracker. But once we got inside, I didn’t need the emergency reserve.

It was one small step for man, one giant step for Guatkind.

 

Our astronaut experience awaits.

Our astronaut experience awaits.

 

The cool art/display that caught are eye at the entrance.

The cool art/display that caught our  eye at the entrance.

 

My son intrigued by the mysterious white smoke coming up from the display.

My son intrigued by the mysterious white smoke coming up from the display. He’s discovering the power of science.

 

The journey begins, everyone was so excited that the juice boxes were not completely finished.

The journey begins, everyone was so excited that the juice boxes were not completely finished.

 

Checking out the amazing space stuff and educating ourselves before heading over to the exhibit.

Checking out the amazing space stuff and educating ourselves before heading over to the exhibit.

 

This is where we pretended to be Mission Control engineers. My son did a great job with his countdown.

This is where we pretended to be Mission Control engineers. My son did a great job with his countdown.

 

One of the best parts of the day was the simulator. Where he got a chance to blast off into space, fix a satellite in outer space, hang out on the moon, and then land the shuttle. He was a good astronaut and so was my daughter, very brave during the take off and landing.

One of the best parts of the day was the simulator. Where he got a chance to blast off into space, fix a satellite in outer space, hang out on the moon, and then land the shuttle. He was a good astronaut and so was my daughter, very brave during the take off and landing.

 

After our awesome astronaut experience we headed over for the main attraction.

After our awesome astronaut experience we headed over for the main attraction.

 

Definitely worth the traffic. Definitely.

Definitely worth the hour-long traffic. Definitely. The Holy-Crap Moment of the day happened right here.

 

The experience had such a "wow" factor that we had to take home a souvenir.

The experience had such a “wow” factor that we had to take home a souvenir. And this one entertained them all the way home. No need for Jack Johnson or emergency reserves.  Outer space rocks.

 

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Sanbox List Adventure V: Checking Out the Stars and The Sun, And Carrying More Quarters

1 Feb

I don’t know why kids always want to check them out. They’re never really clean, probably slathered in germs. They’re always out of focus and for some reason they’re really heavy, probably made out of some 1960s submarine or Master Driver parts. I don’t know, but it’s heavy. And for some reason kids always become explorers whenever they see them. They have to see through it. Just have to.

Telescopes.

I’m usually all out of quarters. I never have one. Ever. Or I say that it’s broken. It’s always broken. This is usually followed by disappointment, a sigh, and a shaking of the head.

But today he got his chance. We ventured out to the observatory to check out the moon, stars, planets, galaxies, that weird, cool pendulum thing that still puzzles me even after the very detailed explanation by the tour dude. And telescopes. Many of them. He got a chance to look through as many of them as he wanted, as did his one-year old sister. None of them were broken. And while they were enjoying the wonders of outer space, I found myself enjoying the whole process. I realized … I shouldn’t always be in a rush, I should always carry Purell, and most importantly I should carry more quarters.

 

He was excited that we didn't have to park a mile away. The parking lot is extremely small and for the first time in history I got front-door parking to something. He ran towards the entrance.

He was excited that we didn’t have to park a mile away. The parking lot is extremely small and for the first time in history I got front-door parking to something. He ran towards the entrance.

 

 

Checking out some elements that are found in outer space explosions and other star stuff.

Checking out some elements that are found in outer space explosions and other star stuff.

 

The pendulum thing.

My daughter was mesmerized by the pendulum thing.

 

Once we got to the stars ... everyone was in a wow-state of mind.

Once we got to the stars … everyone was in a wow-state of mind.

 

My daughter thought Saturn was pretty cool.

My daughter thought Saturn was pretty cool.

 

My son thought Mars was cooler. There was a microscope and scientific data involved.

My son thought Mars was cooler. It was so cool that he took his hat off. There was a microscope and scientific data involved.

 

And this ... this was the best part for both of them ... exploring through the scopes.

And this … this was the best part for both of them … exploring through the scopes.

 

And although the best part of the day for my kids were the telescopes and exhibits, my favorite part of the day was watching the sunset with my kids. Our first one together.

And although the best part of the day for my kids were the telescopes and exhibits, my favorite part of the day was watching the sunset with my kids. Our first one together.