OAKLAND -- Ever look to the sky and realize how small you are? Ever spy an ant marching along and realize how big you are?
Well, at the Chabot Space & Science Center, you can get a feel for where you really fit into this big, wide, wonderful universe of ours.
This state-of-the-art facility is in the Oakland Hills. It is 86,000 square feet of art, science and technology designed to bring out the science enthusiast in us all. Sitting on 13 acres, the facility, which opened in August 2000, offers guests the opportunity to visit the outer reaches of space, learn about the planets and marvel at the moon.
"Solar-Go-Round" visitors can be in charge of designing their own solar systems and launch their planets into space.
Ever wonder about the birth of a star, or maybe the death of one? Well, the exhibit "Destination Universe" answers those questions and also invites you to visit a black hole.
"One Giant Leap: A Moon Odyssey" is an interactive exhibit where future astronauts can take a moon walk, try on a space helmet and even land a lunar module.
In addition to exploring the exhibits, the Chabot Space & Science Center offers a view of space inside the Ask Jeeves Planetarium. This full-dome planetarium has daily showings and currently is offering a variety of programs, including a search for life, examining the question "Are we alone?" and a delightful 15- minute show for the younger crowd, ages 5 and under, where Sunshine, a lovable animated cartoon Sun, wants children to sing and play along with his tricks.
Another highlight of the center is the Tien Megadome Theater, which features thrilling and adventurous films on a 70-foot dome screen. These magnificent films include a space shuttle liftoff, an opportunity to ride along on a journey navigating outer space, or swimming with jellyfish and whales as you embark on an underwater discovery of the mysteries of the ocean floor.
An afternoon at Chabot Space & Science Center can help you find your place in the universe, somewhere between the sky and those little ants.
WHERE: 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland
WHEN: Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Last entry is one hour before closing.)
COST: General admission (includes daily planetarium show) $13; seniors (65+) and students with valid identification $10; youth (3-12) $9; children under 3 admitted free. Additional charges for the Megadome Theater and additional planetarium showings.
GETTING THERE: Take I-580 west to Oakland. Take Highway 13 north (toward Berkeley). Exit at Joaquin Miller Road and turn right. Drive up the hill, turn left onto Skyline Boulevard and follow the signs to Chabot. Parking (free with admission) is available in the adjacent three-level parking structure or in the Knoll Lot off Skyline Boulevard.
DRIVE TIME: 1 hour, 20 minutes (MapQuest)
MORE INFORMATION: 510-336-7300, www.chabotspace.org
Bee assistant librarian Karen Aiello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2392.