Mesa Community College Planetarium

I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for cool, cheap things to do with my family.
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I thought I’d share my latest find. It’s the Mesa Community College Planetarium. The first Friday of every month MCC usually hosts a free astronomy night. Yes, you heard me right – free!

Each month a different movie (about 30 minutes long) is projected on the planetarium dome. The free tickets are available on a first come first serve basis. The planetarium holds around 50 people and we only waited about 10 minutes until the next showing. The movie we saw was about the history of astronomical telescopes. It was amazing to be wrapped up in the night sky! I love it when education is fascinating; my kids loved it too.

While we were waiting we talked to a few of the MCC students and instructors outside. One of them gave me a moon stress ball and my kids were jealous. We were also able to look in a special telescope that allowed us to get a good look at the sun without damaging our eyes. With this telescope, we saw a few solar flares.

After the movie, we checked out a few MCC student demonstrations. We watched them play with dry ice and bubbles, and watched them use electricity to make a pickle glow. I wish I would have heard the explanation on that one – and plugged my nose. Fried pickles smell gross.

Our favorite demonstration was the particle accelerator. Now this isn’t some fancy atom splitter; it’s a couple of homemade potato guns aimed at opposite ends of a plastic case, hurling jaw breakers at each other. Split jaw breakers are very cool!

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The evening’s entertainment was well worth the price, and the gas to get there. So if you are looking for something fun to do with your family and it happens to be the first Friday of the month, enjoy a stellar night with your family. I heard you can also contact Dr. Kevin Healy and arrange for a private viewing of one of the movies for your group of 10 or more.  Wouldn’t this be an awesome Boy Scout activity, or maybe a birthday party…?

If you liked learning about this family friendly Arizona destination, be sure to check out these others!

Organ Stop Pizza

Superstition Mountain Museum

Arizona Science Center

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One of my favorite things is to see one of my older children initiate playing with the younger children.