Space Sets the Pace at Spring Break Exhibit in South Texas

Joaquin Garcia and his wife, Crystal, drove all the way from McAllen with their 3-year-old daughter, Camilla, for one reason.

"We wanted to take our daughter to Space Day," Joaquin said. "I think it's a real worthwhile idea."

The Brownsville Herald reports the Children's Museum of Brownsville hosted Space Day on Saturday as part of its Spring Break Spectacular to highlight the museum's newest show: "Sun, Earth, Universe Exhibit."

The exhibit features an interactive series of stations that teach children concepts related to space and space-related phenomena.

"The kids have so far loved it," said Museum Manager and Volunteer Coordinator Bert Garcia. "We get a lot of kids who just come in for the space stuff. We're talking 5-, 6-year-olds that love space."

That's exactly what drew the Garcia family to Brownsville -- that and Space Day.

And it was their first visit.

"They really got a nice museum," Joaquin, who donned a NASA beanie, said.

Camilla, who explored the museum, wore a NASA shirt.

Space Day offered families who visited the Children's Museum of Brownsville plenty to do.

In one room, several children creatively assembled robots, using cereal boxes, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, toilet paper tubes, egg cartons , ribbons, red cups and feathers while other children simulated space shuttle repairs by putting wing nuts and bolts together while wearing yellow gloves in buckets of water.

In another room, there was a table full of otherworldly landscapes -- one that looked like pure fire and another reddish, Martian-like landscape -- that kids would identify as, say, the sun, or Mars.

But if a landscape was too difficult, staff gave the children a clue, which taught them a little bit about the planets in the solar system.

After learning a bit about the planets, kids played a game by rolling an over-sized dice with the first letter of one of the planets and whichever one they got -- say E for Earth -- they would take a badminton birdie -- or shooting star -- and toss it at a bucket representing the planet.

In one highly specialized area -- the Celebration Room -- future rocket scientists built replica rockets out of straws and tape, testing their designs outside.

And while Space Day finished Saturday, the "Sun, Earth, Universe Exhibit" isn't blasting off somewhere else anytime soon.

"The exhibit is going to be here for a while," Garcia said. "It will be here at least through the year, if not longer."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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