Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Armagh Planetarium

Yesterday we took a trip to the newly renovated Armagh Planetarium. We stopped at Jude's friends house on the way to see if she would like to come. Much to Jude's delight, T was able to join us. We all had a great fun day, made more enjoyable for Sam and Jude by having a lovely well behaved delightful friend present.

The woman at reception really should not have been working in the tourism industry as she was moody, unapproachable and very unhelpful. Not a good face to the new planetarium.

We had fun despite her. We booked a show for the 3 older kids at 5pm. It was called Big and was designed to show how big the universe is. The lady at reception didnt want the kids to see the show without an adult present, and Luke was not allowed to go into it, so what was I to do? I told her they were old enough and well behaved enough to go into the show without me. Eventually the manager saw her attitude and came over to take control. He said the kids would be fine without me.

The planetarium exhibition itself isn't very large but they had extra activities on, with it being the summer holidays. The children all made rockets from empty coke bottles. They decorated the nose cone and wings which they stuck on. A bag of rocks was placed into the nose cone and the bottle was half filled with water. Then they went outside where a man launched their rockets into space. Jude's went the furthest, much to her delight. Sam later made an astronaut which he strapped onto another rocket and sent into orbit. It was quite funny because the rocket shot into the air and landed 50 feet away, then these little silver strips of astronaut clothing gently fluttered down to the blast off point. A poor naked little astronaut had been sent into space. Sam thought that was hilarous!

This is T, Jude and Sam outside the planetarium entrance.

Luke really enjoyed running around over the glass map of Northern Ireland.

All four kids did a bit of moon walking while we were there.

And here they are making their rockets.

Before the rockets were launched. Sam has Lukes rocket and his own, as Luke didn't want to pose.

Here is one of the rockets about to blast off!

Another room was set up to make astronauts. All of the kids loved this room, as they are all interested in crafts. T, Jude and Sam made astronauts while Luke got sticky and messy with glue and paper squares. He just loved it. He made a 'planet' picture (so he had obviously picked up the idea on his way round the planetarium that this place was all about space). They also made badges, and helped to make part of a big space collage.

Luke quietly making his planet picture.

Three happy kids and three crafty astronauts.

The astronauts enjoyed moon walking almost as much as the kids.

Thankfully, the weather was nice, so we took a walk around the observatory gardens. This was just as much fun as the planetarium. We took a look into two observatories and could see the big telescopes pointing up into space. There were various outside planet displays. One of them had a scaled down solar system. We stood at the sun and then walked to each planet in turn. The planets were made out of metal balls and you could see their distance from the sun and their size in comparison with each other. It really helped the kids to understand the sizes and distances between the various planets. Then we went for a walk into a little woodland area and played a hide and seek game. We all took it in turns to seek while the others hid behind trees. You wouldn't believe how much fun the kids thought this was. Even Luke took his turns at hiding and seeking.

One of the outdoor observatories.

Jude sitting on Neptune.
T came back to our house for dinner and we printed out and laminated a page of photos from our day for her to take home. She also took home a lettuce which she had planted from seed last time she was here. The kids all had a wonderful day and were so well behaved. All the way around the planetarium and observatory they asked constant questions about space and the planets, expecting me to know the answer to each and every one of them! We had quite a time finding out some of the answers. I was pleased to see how much they wanted to learn while they were there. Obviously a few weeks with no set work has allowed their natural curiosity to learn to thrive again.


Davy said...

Looks like a great day out. I won't say it's a long time since I've been to the planetarium, but it cost one shilling and sixpence to get in.

steve said...

great blog today haze. looked like a great day out.

Anonymous said...

What a great day you had - if Sam, Jude and Luke would like to go again we certainly like to go there on our next visit so we can have some fun as well !!! Jill

Hazel said...

LOL at davy. You old man you! I dont know anyone else who was alive when shillings were around!

~*~ Linda ~*~ said...

I was! (Alive when shillings were around, lol!) They got phased out when I was a little kid! ;-)

Lovely photos, the one of Jude at the bottom is great, she looks so happy. Glad you all had such a great day.

Tammy said...

You are all so adventurous! Looks like a great day you had there.

Anonymous said...

It looks like so much fun!!!