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THE TWINKLE IS BACK AT BISHOP PLANETARIUM

The stars are shining again at the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton. After a 10-week shutdown for renovations, including an overhaul of the planetarium theater and installation of a new sound system and a redesigned and renovated star projector, the night sky's the limit.

The planetarium's popular laser light shows return with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon today through Sunday and Nov. 2-4. Showtimes are 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays.

A treat for youngsters is the laser light show featuring New Kids on the Block at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and Nov. 4.

Planetarium productions include the star show, A Solar Celebration, which uses star projectors, video projection, slides and special effects to better understand the sun. Show times are 1:30 and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The South Florida Museum focuses on Florida history. It has displays featuring the Timucuan and Calusa Indian tribes, natives of the West Coast of Florida, as well as the Seminoles.

One of the most popular displays at the museum is also one of the biggest _ the 700-pound manatee named Snooty, who celebrated his 42nd birthday in July. Snooty can daily put away as much as 50 pounds of lettuce, apples, carrots and pineapples.

The museum gift shop offers an assortment of gifts, including manatee T-shirts and jewelry, astronomical posters, charts and books and other items.

Several events are also planned at the complex. The second fall Antique Auction is set for 6-10 p.m. Saturday.

A cocktail buffet will be served in the Spanish Plaza on the grounds from 6-8 p.m. followed by the auction. A collection of antiques and collectibles including Oriental porcelain, jewelry, majolica, cloisonne, antique toys and furniture, prints and a room-size Kirman Oriental rug, will be auctioned.

Non-antique items will also be auctioned, including a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to view the July 11, 1991 solar eclipse. The package includes round-trip air far and four nights at the Puerto Vallarta Holiday Inn. Tickets are $35 per person. Call 746-4132 (Bradenton) for information.

A children's planetarium star show, The Little Star That Could, is planned for 10:30 a.m. Saturdays through Nov. 24. Afterward, children in kindergarten through grade 3 are invited to participate in an hour of hands-on activities at the "Dinosaurs and Fossils" exhibit at the museum. The creation of a 10-foot model of a stegosaurus, begun in August, is a continuing project. Visitors may also use the rooftop observatory from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for safe viewing of the sun, weather permitting.

The Saturday morning children's program is included in the regular admission to the museum.

Museum and planetarium hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission to the museum, planetarium or laser light shows is $5 adults and $2.50 for children 12 and under. Admission to the observatory, which is open from 9-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, weather permitting, is included in the evening starshow admission.

The gift shop is open from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. On Friday and Saturday evenings, it's open from 8-10 p.m.

Tickets to the Bishop Planetarium and South Florida Museum and its laser light shows are available at the planetarium or at Ticketmaster locations.

The planetarium is at 201 10th St. S. From the Sunshine Skyway, head south to Business U.S. 41. Bishop is on the right, immediately after crossing the Manatee River. For information, call 746-4132.

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