We came. We saw. We were star struck. If you’re a parent looking for a fun family adventure, you really need to explore the night sky with Big Bird and his friends in One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure at the Adler Planetarium. Created as part of a global partnership between the Adler, Sesame Workshop, the Beijing Planetarium and a host of scientific and non-profit organizations, One World, One Sky is now being presented in Chicago by the Motorola Foundation. What a treat it is for all (yes, even you crusty old grown-ups)!
Based on the popular children’s show Sesame Street, One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure features Big Bird, Elmo and their friend from China, Hu Hu Zhu, and is aimed at children ages 4-6. The planetarium show—on an all-digital, 360º screen more than 50 feet in diameter—is presented at the Adler in English, Spanish and Mandarin (visit www.adlerplanetarium.org for details on Spanish and Mandarin screenings).
“People of all ages are fascinated by the night sky,” said Adler Planetarium President Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., PhD. “This global partnership enabled us to introduce basic science concepts to young children with the loveable Sesame Street characters that they know and trust. By building a solid educational foundation early, and creating positive attitudes towards science and other cultures, this experience will encourage children and their families to explore, ask questions and continue valuable learning at home.”
One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure begins on Sesame Street when Elmo’s friend, Hu Hu Zhu, visits from China. Together, Big Bird, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu locate the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Moon in the night sky. Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu want to learn more about the Moon, so Big Bird suggests that they travel to the Moon by—yes, you guessed it!--using their imagination. Once on the Moon, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu quickly learn that the Moon has a very different environment than Earth. They discover there is no air on the Moon and learn that without air there can be no trees, animals, flowers or, to their disappointment, flying kites or playing soccer. Realizing this makes them homesick, so they use their imagination to take them back to Sesame Street.
“Sesame Street brings children images of the world beyond their own and now One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure will take that one step further, bridging kids across nations through a common bond in learning about the sky together,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “This groundbreaking project will bring a unique opportunity for children and families to experience the fun of astronomy with the help of their friends from our Sesame family in the U.S. and China.”
After the show, we caught up with the Mattice family visiting from Baraboo, Wisconsin and asked how they enjoyed One World, One Sky. Of course, the family spokesperson, Amara, 3 ½, was delighted with the show and the trademark Sesame Street hijinks. She liked seeing the Earth from outer space the best because she currently watches a TV show about China and already knew how to say “hello” in Chinese! Amara’s mom, Lynette, a second grade teacher, was favorably impressed with the perspective the program gave to the concept of sharing the sky. And her dad, Shawn, a science teacher, was pleased that even though the information was age-appropriate, real terminology was presented—not “dumbed-down” for the children. Not surprisingly, they considered the Adler Planetarium the highlight of their trip to Chicago.
The fun continues at the Adler with One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure-themed activities and events for the whole family including Far Out Friday on November 7, 2008. Both will feature free activities including Create Your Own Constellation, Fun in the Sun and Night and Day-themed demonstrations that simulate the Earth’s rotation. Visit www.adlerplanetarium.org for Far Out Friday ticket prices and to confirm activities and times.
One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure is presented daily in the Definiti Space Theater. The Adler Planetarium is located at 1300 South Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s beautiful Museum Campus. Visit www.adlerplanetarium.org or call (312) 922-STAR for details.
Photos courtesy of Adler Planetarium