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Summer Games

Back By Popular Demand

by M.A. Jackson

The Olympic-style March Games at UPMC Sports Works were so popular that visitors and competitors alike demanded a replay. UPMC Sports Works staff is more than happy to oblige.

So on Friday, July 12 and 19, from 6 to 10 p.m., UPMC Sports Works will hold "Summer Games."  Here's your chance to compete against other visitors to see who's the best of the best at running, climbing, pitching, and a whole lot more. Vendors, experts, and special guests will be on hand to make the day even more exciting.

UPMC Sports Works, a $5 million exhibit in the blue building across the street from the Carnegie Science Center, opened last year to rave reviews. The 40,000-square-foot exhibit features more than 40 exhibits and 70-plus interactive experiences--including a special area for kids age three to seven. You can hang glide over the Grand Canyon, teeter along a balance beam, try virtual bobsledding and mountain biking, design a roller coaster, rock climb, ride a unicycle 15 feet in the air,have a virtual "race" against Olympic track star Jackie Joyner Kersee, and test your arm in the major-league pitching cage. Just about every sport imaginable is represented. And let's not forget the sports memorabilia exhibits and concession stand.

            With all those sports, an Olympic-type competition seemed natural --and ended up enhancing the whole exhibit.

"It was mostly kids who played the games while the parents watched," says Leslie Vincen, Science Center manager of marketing and communications. "The March Games gave people a focus they wouldn't normally have. Instead of just wandering from exhibit to exhibit, they were on a mission to get points and win a prize."

        Prizes? Yep, UPMC Sports Works Olympians can win valuable prizes. While Vincen refused to elaborate, she did say mysteriously, "They're valuable." Hmm…perhaps something round and shiny in bronze, silver and gold?

Twins Day                   

Double takes and double vision will occur all over the Carnegie Science Center on Twins Day, Sunday, July 7 (double 7, get it?). Event organizers hope to lure 500 sets of twins and triplets to the science center for a day of look-a-like and not-so-alike contests. Visitors to the science center will act as judges, comparing pictures (submitted in advance to B94 radio) and real life twins/triplets in the categories of Best and Least Resemblance. A talent show will begin at 3 p.m., and, once again, visitors will serve as the judges. Twins and triplets will compete in three categories--age 3 to 6; age 7 to 16; and age 16 and older. We can only hope Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen won't attend: after all, who can compete against THAT kind of talent?        

            Prizes will also be given for the youngest and oldest twins/triplets in attendance as well as those who traveled the furthest to participate. B94

Radio DJ Bubba will broadcast from the science center from 2 to 4 p.m.  The event is sponsored by Shop 'n Save, Borders Books & Music, and Kings Family Restaurants.

What Do You Want to Be…                                               

Ask a bunch of kids what they want to be when they grow up and you're bound to get a variety of interesting responses. Exactly how do you choose what to be when there are so many cool career paths to travel?

            On Saturday, August 10, the "What You Want to Be When You Grow Up" Day at the Carnegie Science Center can help confused young people narrow it down a bit. The day, aimed at children age 2 to 10, includes appearances by real-life police officers, firefighters, veterinarians, dentists, and a host of other professions. Children can ask questions and learn a little about the myriad possibilities that await them. Those who think they already know what they want to be are encouraged to come in costume.

            The event is part of the science center's Busytown exhibit, a 5,000-square-foot display based on Richard Scarry's popular children's books--and filled with his most beloved characters, including Lowly Worm and Bananas Gorilla. Scarry was known for exploring and explaining what people do--from teachers to pilots, and Busytown expands on Scarry's books with a grocery store, factory, shipyard, power plant, and construction modules for children to explore, play with, and learn from.

The hands-on, open-ended environment of Busytown helps children understand the world around them. Scattered throughout the exhibit are guides offering strategies that parents can use to encourage learning--both at the exhibit and at home. Busytown runs through Sept. 8.

Busytown is sponsored by Shop 'N Save and Busytown…[There may be a third sponsor secured. We will know by 4/29].

Summer’s Shooting Stars

By John Radzilowicz

It’s time for the annual summer arrival of the Perseid Meteor Shower! These “shooting stars of August” generally put on the best performance of the year among meteor showers.

Meteors, or “shooting stars,” are swift flashes of light that can dash across the sky on any night of the year. These flashes are not caused by stars, but by tiny sand grain sized pieces of rock that collide with Earth’s atmosphere. These pieces of space dust are moving at tens of thousands of miles per hour as they plunge into the air. At these speeds, they are quickly vaporized, creating a beautiful flash of light.

Occasionally, Earth encounters large amounts of this space debris, usually left behind by passing comets. At such times, the number of meteors seen can increase dramatically. We call these events meteor showers. Each August we plunge through the trail of material left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, and meteors seem to pour from the area of the sky that contains the constellation Perseus.  The Perseid Meteor Shower has been known to deliver more than a meteor a minute under clear and dark skies.

Viewing the Perseids is simple. No special equipment is needed. You’ll want to be able to see as much of the sky as you can, so open spaces and dark hilltops would be good locations for viewing. The meteors will seem to come from the northeastern sky where Perseus is located, but the meteors spread out over the sky and you may see them in any area.

Best viewing times are between midnight and dawn on the nights of August 11th and 12th. Those times will let you see the peak of the shower, but it is also possible to see some of the meteors at earlier times of night and for nearly a week before and after the peak.





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