ESCONDIDO — Children were able to explore and let their minds wander at this year’s Family Space Night at the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum on Nov. 16.
Attendees learned about the invisible forces of static electricity, created space slime, and viewed the planets and stars through a real telescope. Those were just a few of the displays typically available at the annual event.
The museum closes every year at night for the program and this year’s event sold out with more than 400 people attending.
Whitney Raser, the museum’s director of education, said many children at the event are just getting a taste of science.
“I think kids really get to let their imaginations run wild, which is really where they get to experiment and discover,” Raser said.
However, there were a handful of children dressed as astronauts, like 6-year-old Rayna White. Her mother, Robyn White, said she’s been admiring astronauts the past few years.
“We read a book one day about being an astronaut and ever since then she’s been obsessed with space, gravity and the fact that you can be in a different place,” Robyn White said. “You are just floating. She knows all her planets. She’s never changed.”
Raffella Gallone’s two children dressed as astronauts too.
“They are fascinated by the stars,” Gallone said. “It sparks their imagination. They are passionate about traveling and spaceships and I thought they would really enjoy coming here tonight.”
The event focused on space exploration while most exhibits throughout the year circle around S.T.R.E.A.M.
“There’s no pressure for them to do well like when you are in a classroom,” marketing coordinator Kathleen Sandoval said. “It’s a little more exciting. Space has always been something that the kids have always loved.”
One of the most popular stations included the virtual reality technology where children can wear a screen and interact with a 3D world. The San Diego Air & Space Museum also provided a booth where small handmade craters and rockets were made.
“What better way to learn about space — where the discoveries are endless and where the universe is endless,” Raser said. “I think this is a great entry point for kids who are interested in science and technology and engineering and the different ways it’s used in space. It just gets kids excited.”
White said it is exciting for children who might be finding a new future. Although, her daughter has found a path, her son hasn’t and Family Space Night could open his eyes to something new.
“Women are in space,” White said. “They just had a whole woman crew. I showed her. I think it’s amazing. Anything for our children that we can try to figure out what their passion is and drive is … she might be an engineer, she might be a mathematician, who knows. But I’m here to support her dreams.”
Since the museum serves many Title 1 schools in the San Diego county area, a discounted price for admission for adults and children receiving government nutritional supplements, known as WIC, is available. The next Family Space Night is scheduled for July 11, 2020.