Central Ohio families now have another reason to head to COSI for fun and learning: as of winter 2014-2015, COSI boasts the largest planetarium in Ohio. Zoe and I got to experience the planetarium this week and had a wonderful time learning about the sun, moon and stars.
At just $4 per person for members ($5 per person for non-members), the planetarium show is a great way to round out your day of fun at COSI.
Zoe and I took in the “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” show, aimed at the preschool bunch and starring some familiar muppet friends. I liked a lot about it: learning about the sun, moon and stars; a global emphasis with the introduction of a new muppet friend from China, Hu Hu Zhu; and the lesson that the stars are same for all of us no matter where on earth we live. That said, I found the voices of Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu really annoying and grating after a while, and even Zoe got tired of the show by about 30 minutes in (I was able to convince her to sit for another ten minutes and finish the show, but I saw many other families with little ones leaving at about the 30-minute mark).
I think we may have been better off going to the ordinary “Our Universe Above” show without the added Sesame Street characters – Zoe honestly seemed the most engaged and interested when the focus was on the stars and how to locate them or draw patterns from star to star, rather than the muppet silliness. What can I say, she’s rather sophisticated for an almost five year old!
My favorite part of the show was when they taught us how to draw a line from two of the Big Dipper’s main stars straight up into the sky to identify the North Star, which they dubbed the “friendship star” and said that people all over the world can see and look up and remember their friends from other countries. I love that concept, especially since we do have relatives all over the globe! I was hoping the show would cover the constellation Orion and in particular, its star known as Bellatrix, since that is Zoe’s namesake – but alas, we’ll have to learn about Orion and Bellatrix in another program.
The planetarium show was a great reminder that sometime this spring or summer, we need to drive out into the country, far from light pollution, and spend some time gazing at the actual stars. It also brought me back to my own delightful childhood visits to Long Island’s Vanderbuilt Planetarium and NYC’s Hayden Planetarium. I realize I was lucky to have those encounters, since so many people have never been to a planetarium at all. If you fall into that category, please take my advice and visit the new COSI planetarium soon! It truly is an inspiring and awe-provoking experience and one we are fortunate to have right here in central Ohio.
Have you been to visit the COSI planetarium yet – or do you plan to this year? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on Facebook.