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Maryland Science Center celebrates three decades this weekend

June 23, 2006|by LISA PREJEAN

If you travel to Baltimore's Inner Harbor tonight, you might feel prompted to phone home.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Maryland Science Center is showing "E.T." at dusk on a giant outside screen. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets or something to sit on.

The free screening is part of a weekend full of activities designed for science buffs of all ages.

The celebration of three decades on the waterfront continues Saturday with a character breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m., featuring mascots from the Baltimore Orioles and other regional teams. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children; and, for members, $7.50 for adults and $5 for children.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be face painting, balloon art, a performance by the band Milkshake, and there will be birthday cake. If you were born in 1976, Saturday is your lucky day. Admission to the exhibits is free to all those who share the same birth year as the center.

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Interactive exhibits focus on earth systems science, health and human body, space and astronomy, early childhood and physics, forensics and phenomena.

The TerraLink exhibit provides an opportunity to touch a tornado or to see your house from space. The WetLab allows visitors to do experiments, such as fingerprint analysis or extracting DNA from a plant. SpaceLink provides opportunities to watch launches of rockets, track satellites and build and drive a Mars rover.

In the Your Body section, visitors can feel what it is like to lie on a bed of nails or watch the thermal imagery of muscles during a bike ride.

Newton's Alley provides the opportunity to touch a cloud, see sound and play a stringless harp. (Instead of strings, the harp has lasers programmed to play various tones as they are "strummed.")

In Kids Room, children can send boats down the river channel, operate the fish cam in the submarine and dress like a turtle. Room to Grow provides an area for children younger than 2. They can play with big, soft blocks and crawl around squishy waterbeds.

Three films are being featured in the five-story IMAX Theater: "Deep Sea 3D," narrated by Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp, "Wild Safari 3D" and "Alaska."

By using computers and projectors, the Science on a Sphere shows present animated data on the outside of a sphere. Some of the topics include "Historical Sea Surface Temperatures," "Moon and Mars" and "Weather Prediction Models."

Science Live on the Demonstration Stage includes shows featuring chemical and combustion reactions, space technology, inertia and other topics.

The Crosby Ramsey Memorial Observatory has a computer-controlled telescope that allows guests to view planets, stars and other astronomical events. The observatory is open free to the public on Friday nights and to those with paid admission on Saturdays and Sundays.

In the Davis Planetarium, shows feature topics from the world of astronomy and space exploration.

"Rockwell's America" is a traveling exhibit featuring more than 100 covers of the Saturday Evening Post displayed in a unique interactive exhibit.




The center will host "Solstice '06 - The Science of Summer," its annual fundraising event Saturday night. Tickets are $100 per person.

For more information on the Maryland Science Center, go to www.marylandsciencecenter.org, or call 1-410-685-2370.




Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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