Did you know that rechargeable batteries are a result of the space program? Ditto for cordless drills and hand vacuums. Learn all about it at Star Station One, happening Saturday at the NASA Glenn Visitors Center, where moon rocks, space suits, and an Apollo command module are among the items on view.
It all wows the kids, but more and more adults are talking space too. That might be thanks to the proposed $1 billion increase to NASA's budget over the next five years, or maybe to the top-dollar photo shoots beaming back exotic images from Mars. Star Station One is a community outreach program designed to connect the money-guzzling International Space Station with the people who fund it.
"It costs every taxpayer about $9 a year to develop and maintain it," says Monica Boyd, NASA's educational program manager. The cash goes toward microgravity and combustion research, which can lead to medical and environmental breakthroughs. "Cures for many illnesses, including cancer, may come about," she says. Star Station One is at the NASA Glenn Visitors Center (21000 Brookpark Road) at 11a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Call 216-433-2000 for more info. -- Nadia Michel
Pig dodges slaughterhouse; kids rejoice.
E.B. White's classic Charlotte's Web is about a nurturing black widow spider and her naive pig pal, Wilbur. To him, "everything is new and wonderful," says Sandy Kosovich Peck, director of the Yarnell Youth Theatre Company's production opening Friday at the Fine Arts Association. "[Charlotte] is the mother figure who takes Wilbur under her wing and saves him from the slaughter." The show, which features 36 kids between ages 6 and 17, uses a script that stays pretty close to White's original story and includes many of the critters the pair meets along the way. "It is not dumbed down," Peck says. "It's about the cycle of life, but it's also about friendship that can be between anyone and any creatures." Charlotte's Web is at the Fine Arts Association's Corning Auditorium (38660 Mentor Avenue in Willoughby) Friday through March 14. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10 and $12. Call 440-951-6637 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Pharaohs & Phriends
Get the real story behind the ancient Egyptians.
There may not be opportunities to walk like Egyptians at Saturday's Adventures With Sandy program, but there will be a whole lot to learn about ancient Mesopotamians. Host Sandy Menon uses clothing, music, artifacts, and folk tales to show what life was like in Egypt and Africa back in the day. In the process, kids learn lessons about history, tolerance, and dietary habits of different cultures. "You can't assume that we all eat macaroni and cheese," Menon rightly points out. The Adventure happens from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Public Library's Berea branch, 7 Berea Commons in Berea. Admission is free, but registration is required; call 440-234-5475. -- Diane Sofranec
Horn of Plenty
The Bashful Bassoon will overcome its shyness when the Cleveland Orchestra's bassoonist, Phillip Austin, shows kids why the long, black instrument with the wooden reed was one of Frank Zappa's favorites. "It has a medieval aroma," Zappa once said. "Some people crave baseball, but I can understand why a person could get excited about playing the bassoon." Go nuts at 10 and 11 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Severance Hall, 11011 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $6; call 216-231-7300. -- Cris Glaser