Time to travel to space! My husband’s #1 favorite place other than the warmth of my embrace.
Right honey … ?
(He said this suit smelled so bad!)
It was recently my husband’s birthday and while I had planned a big romantic gesture, when I called to book it everything was full! I went through about 8 different ideas before finally giving up and accepting that I was married to someone that never knew the next month’s schedule more than a few days in advance. It really puts a damper on my absolute neurotic need to plan things WAY ahead of time but hey I’m the travel tech’s wife I got this.
So I took him a children’s space museum!
To be fair we absolutely love museums of any type, size, shape, theme, etc. if you haven’t already noticed.
Welcome to the Chabot Space & Science Center!
We crossed the bridge from the South Bay to the East Bay (I am just now getting the hang of which bay is what) and made our way to Montclair for a little breakfast. I am a big fan of birthdays and everything *must* be kept a secret until we arrive at our destination. So seeing his face light up at the sight of a Noah’s Bagel shop was so sweet!
One of his coworkers brought them in to work one day and he fell in love.
We then back tracked a bit and headed up a winding hill through Joaquin Miller Park. It was beautiful and I was hoping we would have a chance to walk through it later!
We almost blew past the sign (at 25 miles per hour) for the space center but made it in and got a parking space. Cue another little happy dance from my space geek husband. Parking, I was pleasantly surprised to find out, was free and plentiful even though we showed up on a Saturday! I am still used to my wide and rambling Idaho parking lots for even things like Chipotle ……………
Anyways, I had already purchased tickets online so we waltzed in, got our tickets scanned, a map and schedule of the planetarium shows, and began exploring!
It is somewhat of an odd set up that does lend itself well to being very “space-y” if you get me. One thing that we noticed right away was how absolutely amazing and state of the art everything was …. for 2000. Does anyone remember Ask Jeeves? If not, please remain silent, I don’t want to be reminded of how old we are. 😦 The planetarium held the name of the pre-Google search engine featuring the answer fetching butler.
He’s excited I promise, just not for the picture! Or any picture …
The space and science center was originally in downtown Oakland in 1883 until light pollution became too big of an issue. It took 16 years from the decision to relocate to actual ground breaking in the new location. Real construction though doesn’t begin until 2 years later in 1998. It opened in August 19th, 2000 and so far it looks like very few updates and repairs have been done since then. Read more about the history here.
We were determined to make the best of it though so we headed through the exhibits and made plans to catch a couple planetarium shows later. The planetarium show list was expansive but when the ticket taker was writing down the times manually for the shows, there was only one showing of a handful. I’m not sure if this is because they rotate shows or if they just have not updated their map/schedule.
I convinced the birthday boy to crawl through a very authentic black hole.
I actually learned a lot between the signs and a more in-depth and less child-friendly explanation from Brent! Did you know we are destined to smash into a nearby galaxy in the next couple billion years?
Looks … comfy.
After an hour or so perusing the displays we caught our first planetarium show that focused on the Google competition to send a rover to the moon, the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Unfortunately, ***spoilers*** no one was determined able to make it to the moon to complete the competition’s goals and the program is now defunct. We were just wondering how much longer the space center would choose to play the program before switching it out for a new more updated one…
Unfortunately for my little astronaut, he grew 2 inches past the cut off height for sending to space! The official “top height” is 6’4″. You can tell that everything would have been a bit uncomfortable if he had been even a little shorter and continued trying to accomplish his childhood dream!
This looks absolutely vile but I was actually surprised at how “fancy” in space food could be! If only we could have had a taste test.
Don’t mind me, just chilling in the space station.
We headed outside to take a peak through the telescopes even though the sun was shining bright. We got to see a star through one of their older telescopes, and the sun with a portable one they had set up outside. They admit themselves that their telescopes aren’t the best in the world in the most optimum location but they are still cool to explore the sky with! On Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30-10:30pm observing is free, weather permitting.
The next planetarium show was much better and even taught my husband something. It was all about the Large Hadron Collider and particle acceleration.
It did not take us too long to go through the entire museum, I had planned to spend the entire day there but we finished 3 hours before closing.
Overall, we both had a fun time and learned some new things! Admission ($18 in March of 2018) seemed fair, and honestly I wish I had extra to donate so they could plan an update. It made us sad that so many of the pretty cool exhibits were dirty, broken, or missing parts. There was a very large children’s section with do it yourself exhibits on stop motion and (pretty randomly) fashion design. I’d recommend spending a day there, but I’m not sure I would return except for maybe a free night sky viewing.
What makes you the most excited about the future Andromeda/Milky Way collision?