Some St. Louis family attractions are re-opening with limited capacity and enhanced safety protocols for visitors and staff. Read more about family attraction re-openings and safety guidelines here. We invite our readers to enjoy virtual events and socially distanced events highlighted in our Things To Do calendar. Public health experts recommend that when you do go out, follow public health guidelines: wear masks (now required in St. Louis City and County), practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. To learn why social distancing is important and effective in lessening the spread of COVID-19, hear from Dr. Alexis Elward, Chief Medical Officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

New Planetarium Show Allows Visually-Impaired Kids to (Literally) Touch the Stars

The Saint Louis Science Center has debuted a new star show designed specifically for children who are blind or have low vision. “Feeling the Stars,” adapted from the existing show “The Little Star That Could,” gives individuals with visual impairment an accessible and immersive experience in the James S. McDonnell Planetarium.

“I believe everyone should have the opportunity to fall in love with the stars and the universe,” said Anna Green, Planetarium staff member, who created the show as part of her course work for a master’s degree in Museum Studies. Green’s project became a reality through a grant to the Saint Louis Science Center from The Lighthouse for the Blind/LHB Industries.

 “We were looking for a project to serve those in our community who are blind and visually impaired that we could work on with Lighthouse,” said Frieda Smith, Science Center Senior Director of Programs. “Anna’s project was the perfect one to launch our new collaboration.”

“Feeling the Stars” is adapted from “The Little Star That Could,” a popular educational show originated by the Saint Louis Science Center more than 25 years ago and has been syndicated to more than 60 planetariums around the world. Green said it was the first star show she saw as a child. “I loved it so much and I never forgot it.”

“The Little Star That Could” is a story about a young star on a search for planets to form his own solar system.The story teaches children basic information about stars, galaxies and solar systems.

Green adapted the story for visitors who are visually impaired by making it a hands-on experience. With assistance from Science Center volunteer Deb Bush, who is visually impaired, Green developed a special Braille storybook with raised images from the show and tactile sky charts so visitors who are blind or have low vision can “watch” as “The Little Star That Could” is shown in the Planetarium. Green even designed and made plush toys representing the various star characters in the story to enhance the visitors’ sensory experience.

Because visitors who are visually impaired will hear but not see the Zeiss star projector, Green wanted them to understand what was going on around them. She had a tactile model built so that visitors can use their fingertips to explore the Planetarium’s StarBay and Zeiss Universarium IX Projector. 

The model, 24 inches in diameter, is located on the main floor of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium. It has a miniature scale model of the Zeiss projector and a tactile “night sky” so participants can feel the stars and patterns of constellations.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity, which would normally seem unavailable to guests who may be visually challenged,” said Bert Vescolani, President and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center. “We have made adaptations to our Discovery Room and to other galleries, and we’re planning more ways to make the Science Center more meaningful to all our visitors.”

Visitors wishing to experience Feeling the Stars can make arrangements by calling 314-289-4424 (reservations) at the Saint Louis Science Center. There is no additional fee, other than the basic cost of a ticket to a Planetarium star show. For more information about the Planetarium, visit www.slsc.org/planetarium

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Things to Do

Explore Purina Farms: Fur Friday

Purina Farms is bringing the best of the farm to your home every week! You can virtually explore Purina Farms through videos featuring the animals, dog trainers and others who work there, as well as the pets who work and play at Purina Farms every day. Each day of the week features videos on a variety of topics including animal connections, training tips and responsible pet care advice for kids. 

 

 

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Storytelling in the Museum from the Missouri History Museum
Friday, July 10, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020

Storytelling in the Museum is now offered virtually on Zoom from the Missouri History Museum! Tune in every Friday at 10:30 a.m. for engaging stories with themes like Believe Project Storytelling with Black Authors of Children's Literature, Make Music, Trip to the Zoom, I Scream for Ice Cream, Let's Dance and Hello Beach.

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Magic At Home with The Magic House

The Magic House is bringing innovative, hands-on learning to you at home with its #MagicAtHome series of interactive, instructional online presentations. The Magic At Home series of activities includes lots of fun projects that you can make at home with common materials. The easy-to-follow directions mean your kids can make paper sculpture, do shaving cream marble painting, create make-your-own flowers, go "fishin," make TP roll animals, make salad spin art and more.

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Open Gym at Miss Kelly's Gym
Friday, July 10, 2020
Thursday, July 16, 2020

Kids can work on existing gym skills, learn new skills or just play around during Open Gym at Miss Kelly's Gym. Space is limited to 10 kids per session. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

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