Carnegie Science Center visit blends education and entertainment

Patrick Hosken | Staff Writer

Week Nine at Chautauqua Institution typically is when things start winding down, with campers at Boys’ and Girls’ Club trading in their boondoggle for books, college kids spending their hard-earned summer money on textbooks, and the like.

This year, Chautauqua is bringing out the robots to entice people to stay.

Beginning Sunday, staff members from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center will host different family-oriented events around the grounds throughout the week. Some of the science events will be open to the public, while others will be specifically Club and Children’s School activities.

The week kicks off with a “Science in the Streets” event at 4:30 p.m. Sunday on Bestor Plaza. Staff members will set up different science activity stations, including one focusing on the sense of touch and another where participants can create bookmarks that feature their birthdays written in binary code.

The second “Science in the Streets” event will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday on Bestor Plaza and features stations for participants to build their own circuits and partake in a mission that requires them to follow oral commands.

Both “Science in the Streets” events are open to the public.

On Tuesday, the “Rockin’ Robots World Tour” event will take the stage at 6:45 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. Featuring Quasi, a small animatronic robot, the show is family-oriented and open to the public.

Throughout the week, Carnegie staffers will wow Club campers with the ProBot, a robotic car that responds to commands; dazzle them with an illuminating light show; and educate them with smaller, informative programs like “Bug Blast!” and “Animal Tracking.”

Jack Voelker, director of recreation and youth services, said that though the Chautauqua audience thins out in Week Nine, the Carnegie programs provide ways for children to stay entertained and educated.

“The types of activities we work toward work better in small groups and give the kids a good first-hand experience with this very talented staff from Carnegie,” Voelker said. “It makes the week special just when we need it to be special.”

The Carnegie Science Center has been visiting Chautauqua with interactive scientific events since 1993, an opportunity made possible by the Charles Edison Fund out of Newark, N.J.