In my quest for new and fun things to do with my young boys, I came across the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. It’s located in the hills about Oakland, nestled among huge redwood trees! I wasn’t sure if my children would be too young to enjoy a science center, but I knew they do cater to children and my curiosity was peeked to see what they have to offer.
Unexpectedly, my kids had a blast, from the moment we walked into the first room, they quickly took to the exhibits, standing in the black light – learning about “nebulae,” to gazing into telescopes and getting their first peek into outer space. The thing about museums or centers like this, is that while there’s always lots of signage with instructions and info – that my young sons can’t read yet, everything is hands on. And, even if they don’t quite understand the universe, it’s not a bad idea to introduce these things early, and just let them explore!
We visited on Wednesday morning in early June, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. There was at least one school field trip group there, but the place is big enough that we still felt like we had our run of the center.
There was also a fun “discovery” room, where school group are not allowed. My boys gave their hand at building with huge lego blocks and spent some time with hard hats piecing together wood construction pieces too.
One of their favorite attractions was this huge scream box where you could stand inside and just let it ALL out! Scream at the very top of your lungs and watch the sound waves on the screen while your “screaming” photo is captured.
Other highlights of this Bay Area summer stop were the astronaut and space station exhibits – I was surprised to hear my (2 year old) younger son use the term astronaut and show me that he already was familiar with astronauts!
Overall, it was a fun ride. We spent little more than 2 hours there, capping our visit off with a movie in the planetarium. It was a cartoonish video about kids who journey to outer space in a cardboard rocketship…and we visited all the planets!