Day Trips

Off the Grid: Out of This World

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Today’s American society is heavily based on individualism. We promote being all that you can be, and using any means necessary to achieve that. We are constantly obsessed with being smarter, richer and better than the next person. On these principles alone you can see how easy it is to get lost in yourself and forget about everything else around you. As late astronomer Carl Sagan said, “Who are we? We find we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people”.  Space has the ability to give us a sense of smallness. When you take into account the other planets in our solar system, the planets beyond them and the millions of galaxies beyond that you find that there is so much beyond yourself.

This past weekend I visited Chabot Space and Science Center for exactly that reason. With school, jobs, and life going on, it’s nice to get back in touch with the world around you every once in a while. Driving up Skyline Boulevard in Oakland gives way to a breathtaking view of the city. If space and exploration is what you’re in the market for, Chabot has it all. With interactive science and space exhibits, digital planetarium shows and home to the largest research quality telescopes West of the Mississippi, there is so much to do.

Looking for a destination for your next family vacation? Participate in Slumber with the Stars, Chabot’s overnight hike and telescope adventure. Need to plan a last minute date night? Take your significant other for a night of fascination and wonder. You can expect to see their everyday exhibits like Beyond Blastoff, a glimpse into the life of an astronaut. Learn about the stars in Destination Universe; find out how our planet was born and what happens when stars collide. One Giant Leap: A Moon Odyssey makes you feel as if you’re actually in space. Try on a suit, helmet, and climb into your very own capsule! Currently playing in the planetarium is Tales of the Maya Sky (a show I HIGHLY recommend). See the story of how this ancient civilization came into being and all the amazing contributions they’ve made that have influenced life, as we know it.

So when you think about it, paying $15 ($12 with a student ID) to travel to the moon, Mars and back is quite a bargain!  With your ticket to space being less than a couple hours away you have no reason not to jump in your car and visit Chabot Space and Science Center. With far more galaxies than people, get a jump-start on exploring your own world.

Words Rica Douglas

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