TAMPA — The Thanksgiving feast looked a little dangerous.
The drinks glowed like radioactive potions, and the orange-tinged meat seemed positively alive.
Still, no one seemed the least bit alarmed Wednesday at Turkeys in Space, a three-day holiday camp at the Museum of Science and Industry. After all, this was a feast for aliens.
"It might just be fruit punch or something," ventured 8-year-old Anika Nayak.
Holiday camps have become increasingly common since the Hillsborough and Pinellas county school districts began taking the entire Thanksgiving week off in recent years. Lowry Park Zoo and the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg also offered programs this week.
At MOSI, about 13 students explored outer space topics and took advantage of the museum's high-technology offerings. That meant cooking popcorn with lasers, visiting the planetarium, taking a simulated space trip and watching a film about the Hubble Space Telescope in the IMAX Dome.
All of that was a countdown to the final day's alien feast. The menu borrowed a bit more from Star Trek and a little less from the Apollo flights, said education director Anthony Pelaez. "It's the idea of trying new things if you go to a new planet," he said.
There was a Vulcan vegetable dish, Romulan ale and a few tasty Klingon nibbles.
"Then we have a heart of targ, which of course an alien would eat," said program coordinator Ian Reed. "How many of you would eat these things if you saw them on another planet?"
A few noses went up along with the hands, even though the kids helped prepare this galactic repast. "I would bring a toaster and butter," said Ryley Wilson, 9. "Five sticks of butter."
And was it fun to mix science with a little otherworldly eating? Absolutely, said 13-year-old Brandy Ehmke. "It was all of us that made this stuff," she explained.
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3400.