Many homeschool jokes ran through my head as we packed up our three littles and headed for the big city. Now that we’re further out in the Valley, it really is a trek to get to Downtown Vancouver. It was my husbands last day off work for the Christmas holidays and we were overdue for some family time!
Our mission for the morning was a visit to the H.R MacMillan Space Centre! I decided that for the month of January we’ll learn about Astronauts, planets, and all things Space. It’s been an area of interest for my oldest recently, and a homeschooling field trip seemed like a great way to kick off the unit!
The H.R MacMillan Space Centre is a non-profit community resource. Their goal is to educate and inspire both kids and adults alike; a goal I believe they met for us today. We found the staff to be helpful and well informed, though the displays themselves could use a bit more maintenance.
Our kids thoroughly enjoyed running around the Cosmic Courtyard Galley. They were able to try on a Space suit, touch space rocks, and feel what it’s like to get disoriented. There are video clips playing of man walking on the moon and computers set up to morph yourself an alien. There’s lots of displays to look at and take photos of – like a giant rocket. There’s also a LEGO table. We spent about an hour in here, which surprised me as it’s not very big!
We purposely arrived for opening to catch the 10:30am show at GroundStation Canada Theatre titled, ‘Day in Space.’ It’s listed as the most appropriate for younger children and it kept my Kindergartners attention. He learned about how an Astronaut eats, sleeps, and uses the washroom in Space – something he will probably giggle about for weeks to come. The talk was about twenty minutes long and very informative! Did you know that you have to hold at least three degrees, one of those being a PhD, in order to become an Astronaut? We also learned something kind of gross about shooting stars… I’ll save you the details…
From there we headed upstairs to the Planetarium Star Theatre. My infant only lasted about five minutes in the big dark room, but the boys did great and sat through the entire forty minutes. The chairs are comfortable and the screen is huge! Just don’t expect it to be HD quality, because it definitely isn’t!
We came to learn about Space so we chose the ‘Surfing the Solar System’ show. It was a basic introduction to the planets and stars and comes most recommend for intro Astronomers. It was interesting, but not overly exciting. They do offer other shows throughout the day, such as 7 Wonders of the Universe and one on Volcanoes.
A few facts to help you plan your visit:
* Your admission includes entrance to the Cosmic Courtyard Galley, the GroundStation Canada Theatre, and your choice of one show in the Planetarium.
* Children under 5 are free.
* There is a buy one get one coupon in the 2017 Entertainment Book (subject to terms and conditions.)
* Check the daily schedule before heading out so that you can make the best plan for your family.
* We spent about three hours here in total, including our half hour lunch break.
I don’t believe the H.R MacMillan Space Centre is a place we’d visit every year. It best used as an educational resource for to be tied in with a learning unit or for general knowledge. However, if Space is your thing, you’d probably enjoy seeing multiple programs they offer through out the year.