See some real stars this Spring Break at the George Observatory — now with extended hours!

While some folks might think sun and sand for Spring Break, we’re thinking moon and stars. The George Observatory — an HMNS satellite facility located inside Brazos Bend State Parkwill be open for two additional days over Spring Break this year: Tuesday, March 12 and Thursday, March 14 from 5 to 10 p.m.

George Observatory

Virtual missions to outer space will be available via our portable Discovery Dome, while tickets to view the night sky through our professional research telescopes will go on sale at 5 p.m.

For more information, including directions and pricing, click here!

Bringing the wonder to you: Science on Stage

We’ve got permanent exhibit halls, special exhibitions and an entire basement full of classrooms for camp and education. But did you know that we can bring HMNS to you?

HMNS outreach programs — which include Science on Stage, Docents To Go, Wildlife on Wheels, Discovery Dome, Bugs on Wheels and more — can be booked for school appearances, youth groups, or nearly anything else you can dream up.

Our largest program, Science on Stage, can serve an audience of up to 250 people, and offers three compelling programs: Exploring Energy, Cool Chemistry and Motion Commotion.

Science On Stage - HMNS Outreach Programs

Each program lasts about 45 minutes and can be customized for certain age groups or group sizes. Each program includes live demonstrations and strives to make learning visual by bringing student volunteers on stage and weaving a question-and-answer portion throughout. HMNS provides all the supplies needed for each program and manages clean-up — how great of a house guest are we?!

Youth Educator Carolyn Leap walked us through the Cool Chemistry program. “We start off demonstrating chemical reactions versus physical reactions, usually through combustion. Things on fire on stage usually get people’s attention.”

“In this program, the audience learns how fireworks function and engage in color-changing reactions, as well as experimenting with water-absorbing polymers,” Leap explained. “And, depending on the age of the audience, we make our own slime.”

Leap continued, “We use a concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide to create a foam reaction we call Elephant’s Toothpaste.”

“We dip all sorts of stuff in liquid nitrogen with the assistance of our student volunteers, who love to shatter frozen flowers and dunk balloons,” she said.

Science On Stage - HMNS Outreach ProgramsHMNS’ catalogue of outreach programs covers many fields, from life sciences with Wildlife on Wheels and Bugs on Wheels to anthropology with Docents to Go to our Discovery Dome portable planetarium  — and much more, thanks to a wealth of programming.

Most of our Science on Stage programs are hosted by Leap, who was this year named Educator of the Year by the Texas Association of Museums.

Science On Stage - HMNS Outreach ProgramsTo reserve Science on Stage for your students or group and get introduced to one of the best educators Texas has to offer, call 713-639-4766 or click here.

Discovery Dome hits the George Observatory for weekends this summer!

Summers at the George Observatory are about to get a whole lot sweeter.

In addition to our normal (but extraordinary) telescope viewings and astronomy lectures, beginning June 1, we’ll also have our portable planetarium — the Discovery Dome — on-hand Friday and Saturday nights through Aug. 25.

HMNS Outreach Programs: Discovery Dome
This young astronomer loves the Discovery Dome!

Each weekend night — plus member nights and at family events — the Discovery Dome will show one of three rotating shows every half hour: Black Holes, We Choose Space, and Life in the Universe.

Black Holes, narrated by Star Trek: the Next Generation’s John de Lancie, explores the mystifying phenomena of black holes, their origin and the latest scientific knowledge about what exactly black holes are and how we can locate them.

We Choose Space details the real-life adventures of astronauts at the International Space Station and on the Moon during the Kennedy administration.

Life in the Universe brings viewers behind the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, exploring the planets in our solar system. From the birth and death of stars to the formation of distant galaxies, this show is jam-packed with visuals of the universe.

Tickets are $3 for the Discovery Dome show and $5 for telescope and astronomy lecture tickets. For $10, a package of telescope and astronomy lecture tickets, a Discovery Dome ticket and a pass to HMNS Sugar Land’s permanent exhibits is available.

The Discovery Dome will run Fridays from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 3:30 to 10 p.m.

For more information about programming at the George Observatory and all our great summer events at Brazos Bend State Park, click here!

It’s Family Space Day at the George on Saturday: Take your family to the Moon!

Challenger Learning Center Want to go to space? We can take you. Say hello to the Challenger Learning Center and Family Space Day.

The Challenger Learning Center opened at HMNS in 1988 after the tragic last flight of the space shuttle Challenger. A living, teaching memorial to the crew, the Challenger Center continues to teach children about space and space flight and perpetuate all the things the crew loved.

Originally designed for schools and groups, the Challenger takes up to 40 participants to “space” as they experience real astronaut training during their missions to the Moon or Mars. Groups perform real world problem-solving as they train to become astronauts aboard the Space Station Observer. Children and adults are inspired and experience what it feels like to be an astronaut.

At Family Space Days at the George Observatory Challenger Center, individual family members are able to enjoy this memorable experience, too. Special dates are reserved for families to come down to the George Observatory and feel the adventure of space flight. Space Day missions are run by trained NASA volunteers who add to the authenticity of the event.

And guess what? One of those special dates reserved for you and your family to travel into space is this Sat., May 19!

Families are placed on a team and work together toward accomplishing mission goals. Those goals could include assembling a communication satellite, operating on-board robots, monitoring the life support systems, acting as the doctor on-board or navigating through space in order to land gently on the surface of the Moon. But the sky’s the limit.

Each position is vital to the success of the overall mission. And, of course, every good astronaut training session involves having to solve some problems. One never knows when the Sun will erupt with deadly radiation headed toward the craft or when equipment might fail or there could be random asteroid damage.

“Houston, we have a problem” continues to be the familiar report when things go wrong. Family Space Days make the solutions available to everyone.

Interested? We thought you would be. Tickets for Family Space Day are available online until Friday at 5:00 p.m. for $10 per person.

DiscoveryDome

But there’s more! When families come to Family Space Day, we also have the innovative and immersive “Discovery Dome” — a portable planetarium! — showing We Choose Space. Tickets are available at the gift shop for $3 per person. Telescope tickets are also available for $5 per person at 5:00 p.m. for viewing when it gets dark.

What’s better than a day of discovery with the family? For more information or to purchase tickets, click here!