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Omnimax Amazing Journeys: Great Migrations and Adventures into Amazing Caves

Rangos Omnimax Theatre  

Every winter, as the first cold front hits, do you think, "Boy, I'd like to hop a plane to Florida about now?" Well, chalk it up to instinct. About 350 species of migratory birds in North America, and thousands of other creatures around the globe take "vacations" to escape heat or the cold. Six of these incredible expeditions--from the tiny Monarch butterfly to the mammoth gray whale--are explored in Amazing Journeys: Great Migrations at the Rangos Omnimax Theater. It's pretty incredible what these creatures go through for a little fun in the sun.

The Monarch butterfly, weighing no more than a paper clip, travels 2,500 miles to Mexico to flee our winter's chill. Gray whales swim twice as far in the longest mammal migration on Earth--from their Arctic feeding grounds to summer in Mexico's warm lagoons. Thousands of migratory birds embark on trips so arduous they can lose from 10 to 50percent of their body weight en route, and East Africa's 600,000 zebra migrate more than 500 predator-filled miles to escape the drought-ridden Serengeti plains. 

In addition to showcasing some astonishing nature footage, Amazing Journeys explores hypotheses of how and why these animals migrate--do gray whales use a form of echolocation, like bats, to create underwater "maps?" Do birds have a "compass" in their brains? Maybe one day we'll have the answer to the biggest question of all: do birds earn frequent flyer miles? 

In another Omnimax film, Adventures into Amazing Caves you embark on a hair-raising descent into the Earth's depths with two experienced cavers--a microbiologist and a cave rescue specialist.  Hazel Barton and Nancy Holler Aulenbach lead you into a world few, if any, have every seen: a 6,000-foot, cathedral-like ice cave in Greenland; a flooded cenote (Mayan for "well") beneath the Yucatan Peninsula jungles; and the rugged, never-before-explored limestone caverns of the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. Barton seeks microorganisms that live in environments with no light and few nutrients in hopes they may point to new drugs or antibiotics to fight human diseases. Aulenbach studies how caves are formed and searches for ways to protect them for future geological, historical, and paleontological study. 

This is your opportunity to venture into a dark and dangerous world--brought to you big as life thanks to the Omnimax Theater's four-story-high screen. So grab a seat...and journey into the abyss. 
There’s more!  Go behind the scenes of these new Omnimax films at two unique events. On March 26, join a panel of experts from the Pittsburgh Zoo, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the National Aviary for a discussion on the incredible behavior of migratory creatures. The evening concludes with a private viewing of Amazing Journeys: Great Migrations and a reception with the panelists.  On April 7, Dr. Hazel Barton, the star of Adventures into Amazing Caves, drops by Carnegie Science Center to enlighten you about what went on underground, under water, and under ice—during the film's production. Stick around for the movie and a reception where you can chat with Dr. Barton.  Both lectures are 7 to 9:30 p.m. Price is $10, members/$12, nonmembers. Call 237-3335 for reservations/information. 


The SciTech Festival Returns

March 24 – 31

 The name may have changed, but the fun remains the same.  Last spring Carnegie Science Center held its first-ever Science Festival--an event showcasing Pittsburgh's science excellence. The week was a rousing success, but the event planners realized something was missing: input from the area's many technology companies. A little tweak to the title and lineup and the SciTech Festival emerged. An estimated 50,000 visitors will attend the festival from March 24 to31--the only event of it's kind in the United States. We could fill the whole magazine with information on the 90 components that showcases engineering, medicine, science, and technology for all ages and interests, but we hope you'll settle for this teaser:

·        The Carnegie Mellon University Technologies' display features robots that explore other planets, wearable computers, and telescopes that see to the farthest galaxies.*

·        Science for Tots has cartoons, storytelling, a Pajama Jamming' concert, and activities.

·        At Scientific Storyteller, Catherine Hughes, from the Boston Museum of Science, presents stories and songs about dragons, dinosaurs, and bats.

·        Joe Woos, Pittsburgh Children's Museum resident cartoonist and storyteller, demonstrates the science of cartoons at Cartoon Science.

·        Descend on Indoor Kite Flying to meet Fly Pittsburgh Kite Club engineers and learn about kite design.

·        See Joe Lyon, President of Pittsburgh Jugglers Association, juggle eggs, machetes, and bowling balls at Juggle Science.

·        Take an hour-long walking tour of the city with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation at Science in the Streets. 

·        And don't miss the family stargazing workshops, visits from some National Aviary residents, and demonstrations/workshops with featured guest Dr. Ed Sobey, author of 14 children's science books.

Hey, the SciTech Festival is so big even George Westinghouse is coming! (Okay, it's really actor Edward Neiss.)  Most events will be held at Carnegie Science Center, but other Pittsburgh venues will have programs as well. Call 237-3335 for a complete schedule. 







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