ST. PETERSBURG — Using pop-up inflatables and high-tech video screens, Great Explorations Children’s Museum is adding two planetariums to its play areas that will bring in the wonders of the universe.
And it won’t just be at the interactive children’s museum. Plans are in the works to bring the programming for the planetariums as educational outreach to schools, community centers and other organizations, “ensuring that children from all backgrounds have the opportunity to embark on a voyage through space and foster a lifelong love for astronomy,” the organization announced.
To celebrate the launch, the museum will host a special Planetarium Day on Monday, Aug. 14, with interactive planetarium shows throughout the day.
They didn’t need to blow out the roof of their building to create the astronomical feature. Instead the inflatable planetarium looks like a giant gray mushroom in the main play area.
Inside, an audience of 35 people (15 in the smaller version) can lean back and see a skyscape of the planets, from today’s sky to an overlay that shows the various constellations.
“I don’t even have to show you our constellations, this is how the Navajo saw the night sky,” said exhibits manager Jay Shull during a recent demonstration. With a click of a mouse, he revealed the many skyscapes he can call up using technology from the science education company Digitalis.
The 4K digital library can show different stages of the moon, and even what it looks like to walk on the moon as well as the view of Earth from the moon.
“We are now landing on the moon,” he said as he fidgeted with his keyboard, “and there is Earth right there. There’s so much we can do with this.”
If you go
Planetarium Day: Great Explorations Children’s Museum will have interactive planetarium shows throughout the day to celebrate its new planetarium feature. Included with admission. $12, $15 ages 1–17. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14. 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. 727-821-8992.