NEW PORT RICHEY — Investigation Station is a mobile children's museum that brings exhibits to schools, child care centers and community events.
The newest endeavor of the nonprofit museum that began in 2005 is to create a permanent outdoor exhibit, a solar walk — a scaled-down model of our solar system.
It would give the participants the opportunity to walk or drive from the sun to Pluto. Through this experience, participants gain a better understanding of earth's location in, and the immense size of, the solar system.
Investigation Station has applied for a $250,000 grant to expand its exhibits and visit 500 children in low-income areas of Pasco County. But it needs online votes to win the money. The goal is to build the exhibit in downtown New Port Richey, according to a news release from the group.
Investigation Station is competing with 250 other projects for the Refresh Everything grant from Pepsi. Online voting is being used as evidence of community support.
Go to www.refresheverything.com/investigationstation to vote. Voting ends Nov. 30.
To raise funds for this project, the museum is planning a family bicycle ride/run Nov. 27, sponsored by San Francis Veterinary Hospital and the St. Petersburg Times, at Starkey Wilderness Park.
Preregistration is requested to guarantee T-shirt sizes and reserve dinners. On-site registration will open at noon and the ride will start at 2 p.m. Cyclists will bike down the trail that leads from Shelter 5 in the park to the Suncoast Trail and then back.
In lieu of mile markers, the solar walk idea will be used along the route. Signs will be posted showing riders where they are in our scaled-down solar system as they ride from the sun to Pluto. Riders will be provided with a T-shirt, refreshments and the option of having dinner.
After the ride, Pasco County's Astronomy Club is hosting a stargazing event, open to the riders as well as the public.
Participants should preregister by Nov. 19. Registration is a donation of $20 per person or $50 per family, up to five participants. To participate in the ride but not the dinner, registration is $15 per person and $50 per family, up to five participants. Every registration includes a T-shirt and refreshments along the route.