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A Hodge-Podge of Astro Fun!

Well hi there!

Wow, what a couple of weeks it’s been!  Summer has begun with a bang here at the Virginia Living Museum…between summer camps, summer planetarium shows, and many other exciting things going on, I’m not even sure if I’m coming or going anymore.  Fortunately, I finally found some time to sit down a write up some stuff.  But it’s kind of going to be a jumbled mass of stuff…hence the title.

First of all, I simply have to share this.  I’m a huge Star Trek fan…and particularly a fan of Next Generation.  If you’re at all a trekkie (yes, trekkie.  Trekkers are people who go hiking.), you’re probably familiar with the concept of “Starship Acting.”  For those unfamiliar…any time something awful is supposed to be happening to the ship, the actors are instructed to shake and shimmy in their seats (or sometimes fling themselves about, depending on how terrible it’s supposed to be) and at the same time the cameraman shakes the camera.  The combined effect is astonishingly effective at conveying the idea that woah, something awful just happened.

Well, imagine what this would look like if you re-stabilized the camera shot.  Suddenly, you’ve got highly trained professional actors wiggling around in their chairs or throwing themselves about randomly!  Well, someone did exactly that, re-stabilizing some choice shots and setting them to “Turn Down for What.”  Check it out.  (Sorry, my attempt to embed it has failed – just click the link and enjoy!)

On a completely unrelated note…Friday is July 4th!  That means we will once again be offering our Independence Day laser show Spirit of America in the planetarium.  We run the full playlist in the evening, combining awesome American and patriotic music with laser “fireworks.”  Best things about this?  No bugs, air conditioning on full blast, no big loud booms to scare the kids, every seat has a great view, and no worries about the weather (which is not looking so great!).  One thing you do want to worry about – get your tickets in advance.  We almost always sell out all shows, sometimes very quickly during the day on July 4.  Show times are 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9pm on July 4th.  Tickets can be purchased during regular business hours from the museum’s main desk.  And yes, you can purchase over the phone and your tickets will be waiting for you at the box office.

Okay…one more.  Saturn is going to be leaving the sky soon, and before it does, we’re celebrating the ringed giant with a Lord of the Rings Star Party!  No, you don’t have to come dressed as your favorite Tolkien character (but it would be SO cool if you did!)…but do come out to the museum on the evening of Saturday July 12th.  There’s going to be tons of awesome stuff, including:

The Lord of the Rings...the one in space, not the one in Mordor.  Courtesy NASA and Wikipedia.

The Lord of the Rings…the one in space, not the one in Mordor. Courtesy NASA and Wikipedia.

  • FREE telescope viewing of the Sun (early) and Saturn and other night sky wonders (after sunset)
  • FREE NASA exhibits and activities about Saturn to enjoy (beginning at 5pm)
  • FREE talk by Cassini Mission scientist Dr. Kunio Sayanagi of Hampton University about the ringed giant Saturn
  • FREE Fossil Find in the Conservation Garden
  • DINOS LIVE! will be open (FREE for members, $6 for non-members)
  • Wild Side Cafe will be open for dinner, snacks and drinks
  • Wild Things Museum Store will be open for your shopping pleasure
  • Planetarium and laser shows throughout the night ($6 each or any 2 for $10; members are always half price!)

So don’t miss out on all the awesome stuff going on at the VLM!

But wait…there’s one more!  We’ve just gotten some cool new stuff on loan from NASA.  Not going to tell you about the best one yet…but here’s a little teaser…

A 1/3rd scale model of an Apollo capsule currently on loan to us from NASA.  It's in the lobby of the planetarium!  Come see it!

A 1/3rd scale model of an Apollo capsule currently on loan to us from NASA. It’s in the lobby of the planetarium! Come see it!

More when summer camps permit…until then…

Carpe Noctem!



  • Melody Avery

    Hi Kelly,

    My grandaughter has LOVED your space summer camps but now is too old.
    Do you know of any other space camps for older kids in Hampton Roads?

    Thanks! We will try to get to some of your star parties.


    • Cosmic Strings

      Hi Melody!

      I’m afraid I don’t know of any really good space camps in the local area. If you’re willing to do a bit of driving, you might check with the Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore. It’s a bit of a drive, but with them being an active launch facility, she might get the chance to see an actual launch! If I find out about any other opportunities, I’ll be sure to post about them!