Tag Archives: hands-on science

Tribble time!

We rarely exchange your typical ties and sweaters during the holiday season, but lean instead towards gifts that some might consider a bit geek-ish. I was reminded recently, after learning that something called “Star Trek Live” is headed to the Valley, of the year Lizabeth gave her dad a Tribble.

Tribbles are fictional furry creatures that first appeared in a 1967 episode of the original “Star Trek” television series. I’m told they’re gentle and do a little purring thing, but I’m less qualified than my hubby and daughter Lizabeth to address such things. I’m more of a “Tigger” kind of a gal.

Our other daughter Jennifer admits to being in my camp on this one. “I only try and learn about Star Trek so I can understand my sister,” she tells me. I’m an only child so I find this approach to sistering rather intriguing. Maybe we should both head out Sunday to see the ”Starfeet Academy” show at Mesa Arts Center.

Performers from the science meets live theater production of Star Trek Live: Starfleet Academy coming soon to Mesa

“Star Trek Live: Starfleet Academy” is described by its presenters, Mad Science Productions, as “an interactive adventure.” Think “cutting-edge special effects, audience interaction and on-screen appearances from Captain Kirk and Spock.”

School “Star Trek Live” shows are scheduled for Mon, Nov. 21 and Tues., Nov 22 – and there’s even a 69-page teacher guide available online. It’s a cross between serious science and fun activities like crossword puzzles, but my favorite piece deals with rockets (mostly because my own kids had such a great time making and launching rockets at Desert View Learning Center).

Nowadays we’re keeping an eye on what several cast members from the original “Star Trek” television series are up to. George Takei (“Sulu”) is working to bring a new musical titled “Allegiance” to the Broadway stage, planning first for a premiere and run in San Diego. Where are those darn “beam me up” machines when you need them?

Leonard Nimoy (“Spock”) is still working with that whole logical/illogical thing as he explores the vast realms of poetry and photography. Nimoy’s poetry is part of an exhibition you can enjoy at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson through Dec. 23. It’s titled “Celebrity Poets” and also pays tributes to works by Suzanne Somers, Viggo Mortensen, Leonard Cohen, Tupac Shakur and others.

The most dedicated “Star Trek” fans among us have already added dates for 2012 “Comicon” events to their calendars. For folks in Phoenix, it’s “Phoenix Comicon,” coming to the Phoenix Convention Center over Memorial Day weekend (May 24-27).

Be sure to look for me if you go — I’ll be the woman with a Tribble in tow.

– Lynn

Coming up: “Occupy Bella”

Vegas has a children’s museum?

This mural greets visitors as they first enter the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in downtown Las Vegas…

Interactive museum exhibits make learning fire and water safety fun…

Hands-on exploration is encouraged throughout the museum…

The museum’s mini-city teaches children about using energy wisely…

Several museum exhibits feature a healthy eating and good nutrition theme…

Museum exhibits encourage children to explore community life…

Several exhibits focus on performing arts like theater and music…

The museum is filled with artwork created by visiting children and families…

Science-related exhibits include this tornado and a hurricane wind simulator…

Several exhibits show practical applications of math and science…

The museum is full of activities that families can enjoy together…

A demonstration area looks like the set of a television cooking show…

You had to know there would be neon somewhere in a Las Vegas museum…

The museum has areas for mechanical science, medical science and more…

Every now and then parents actually let their children try something first…

Visit the museum online to learn about plans to move/expand on the strip…

– Lynn

Coming up: Photo tour of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Bird brain

There’s a giant tree that towers near a set of north-facing windows in my son’s room on the second floor of our Scottsdale home. A cat tower sits nearby so the family cat, Pinky, can take in the view — which often includes birds flitting between branches.

We often enjoy the sound of birds in the morning as we eat breakfast in a kitchen nook with a large bay window that gives us a bird’s eye view of citrus, pine and assorted desert trees. Sometimes hummingbirds land on nearby plants — but typically they prefer the garden in front of our house.

Our garden — filled at the moment with brightly colored poppies and geraniums — sits under windows for other rooms, making it easy for everyone in the family to watch birds with some regularity. We’re not seasoned bird watchers, but we do enjoy watching families of quail — especially babies lined up behind older birds — as they duck in and out of bushes and shady plants.

One day Christopher and I were looking for something to do. He’s never been much of a sitter, which means television and Nintendo-type gizmos have never held much appeal. Usually we try and get outdoors or at least explore something with an artistic or animal twist of some sort.

We settled on the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix – which features both indoor exhibits and outdoor habitats that are fun for folks of all ages to explore. We took lots of photos that day so we could put together the following slide show to give you a feel for the Center, which you’ll enjoy a whole lot more if you head out exploring with your own kiddos and camera.

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My favorite bird experience by far took place when Christopher was in elementary school. We lived on a quiet street in a house that looked a bit like something out of “Hansel and Gretel” — but with a mahogany-colored, ivy-covered facade rather than sides covered in striped hard candies or red licorice.

Christopher’s room was at the back of the house, far from the front and back doors. Still, a tiny baby quail found its way into Christopher’s room one day. We spotted it near a denim beanbag chair that nowadays serves as napping central for Pinky.

The bird ran inside Christopher’s closet when we tried to get a closer look. Thank goodness it never made its way to Christopher’s large LEGO table, where it surely would have been lost among pint-size construction trucks and pizza chefs.

We all knew better than to touch the baby bird, but we needed to get it to safety. We called an organization that does bird rescue — and they gave us very detailed instructions on how to get the baby quail from our house to their rescue center.

I don’t remember the name of the group we called, but I’m glad we found them. And I’m proud that my three young children knew better than to try and pet the baby bird or keep it as a pet.

Most of us don’t have bird on the brain all that often. But just in case you run into a similar situation of your own one day, why not take the time now to get the name and number for an animal rescue organization like “Liberty Wildlife” on your bulletin board or in your favorite organizing gadget.

Somewhere out there is a mommy quail who thanks you.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about an initiative of the National Audubon Society called “Pennies for the Planet.” It’s a fun way for kids to support wildlife conservation projects including boosting habitats for Monarch butterflies in Arizona.

Coming up: More outdoor art adventures