Science Center Surrounds You With Stars In VR

Science Center Surrounds You With Stars In VR
November 4, 2018

‘Fistful of Stars” gives the experience of being “inside” the Orion Nebula.


So fall, with its rain, darker days and gray skies, is upon us.


That makes it a great time of year to experience some of the indoor activities that you back-burnered during summer.


One suggested stop is the relatively new virtual reality microtheater at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.


Unlike the center’s well-known, large IMAX theater, this theater is small, seating just 10 people at a time.


Visits are included in the price of admission to the science center.


But here’s a tip, especially if you have kids or visitors in tow to whom you’ve promised the virtual reality experience and you’re going on a weekend: Arrive at the science center close to when it opens. Once you’ve gotten your admission tickets, pick up the separate tickets that show the exact time you should show up for the virtual reality theater.


They generally get snapped up early in the day, said Diana Johns, the science center’s vice president of exhibits.


They’re available at the center’s information desk or at the microtheater near the center’s butterfly exhibit.


The VR movie now showing, “Fistful of Stars,” gives people the experience of seemingly being inside the Orion Nebula, experiencing the birth of a star and seeing images of space taken by the Hubble telescope.


The six-minute movie is recommended for ages 5 and older.


“It’s new technology,” Johns said. “As a science center, that’s part of our job — getting it in front of the public.”


The science center wants to provide the public a virtual reality experience beyond those found in apps and games on mobile phones, she said.


“Fistful of Stars” is just one of the virtual reality experiences that’s available. Another is “Life of Us,” which allows people to experience 1 billion years of evolution at one of four computer stations. Separate, free, timed tickets are required for this, too. It’s recommended for viewers 7 and older.


Kids typically respond immediately to the opportunity to experience virtual reality, Johns said. “What I’m interested in is getting the parents and adults to try it.”


There’s plenty more to see at the science center, including the science playground, describing the workings of gyroscopes and electric motors; explanations of Puget Sound tides, currents and estuaries; the tropical butterfly house with free-flying butterflies; and Science on a Sphere, which uses computers to show the workings of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans on a sphere 6 feet in diameter.


There’s no extra charge for these activities. There is for others, such as the IMAX and laser theaters.


Those looking for a snack or meal afterward have the options of chowing down at the science center cafe, choosing from the variety of restaurants at the Seattle Center Armory, or strolling to other nearby eateries off-site.


Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or


If you go

What: Pacific Science Center

Where: 200 Second Ave. N., Seattle

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays.

Tickets: Included in general admission prices, but you need an additional time-stamped ticket available at the center for entry.

More: 206-557-6420 or

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