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Conway Star-Studded Adventure for the Whole Family


We’ve been learning about astronomy with our preschoolers lately. They love looking at the stars from our backyard and finding the Big Dipper each night. We recently spent an afternoon at our local library, checking out a stack of books about the solar system, stars, and telescopes to prepare the kids for our field trip to the moon and back. Well, Conway.

Studying stars UCA Observatory

We packed up our kids on a Wednesday evening and took the hour drive back to our alma mater to let our little ones look through the big, fancy 14-inch aperture LX200R GPS telescope.

picture 3

When we pulled onto UCA’s campus, all those feelings of nostalgia and college days came rushing back. My husband and I got engaged on UCA’s campus and spent our first three years of married life going to school together there. My husband was able to show our kids the very spot that he asked me to be his wife. If you’ve been on UCA’s campus you might recognize that spot. Yep, we got engaged by the football field and we had a “scoreboard” engagement.

Ten years later, we are back with three kids in tow showing them where we went to class, hung out, what buildings we spent the most time in and taking them to look at the stars.

I had never been to an observatory before so I didn’t really know what to expect.  To get to the observatory we climbed the stairs to the little dome room with a big slit in the ceiling for the telescope to look through.

UCA Observatory

The ceiling is operated on gears so the astronomer just had to hit a button for the ceiling to turn for the opening to be facing a different part of the sky.

Our kids thought this was the coolest thing. Our three-year-old wanted to know why we couldn’t push a button and our ceiling at home spin around and open up. The astronomer would then program the telescope to point to an exact location to show us something in the infinity and beyond (yes… I know- I have little kids – sorry for the Buzz Lightyear reference).

Our four-year-old daughter was fascinated. She has been talking for days now about how she got to see the stars and Mars. Our three-year-old tries to tell everyone at Wal-Mart that he saw a “connlayton”, translation from three-year-old talk, constellation.

The astronomer gave our kids a star map as we were leaving and they’ve been carrying it around showing everyone where the Big Dipper is.

kids studying space

The observatory is open to the public the third Wednesday night of the month (if the sky is clear) for a couple of hours after dark.

Our next topic of study is sea creatures. Anyone know of a place we can take them scuba diving in Arkansas? Or a great resource here in Arkansas to take them?


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Arkansas Women Blogger member Amanda Farris is a wife to her super hero hunk of a husband and a mother to 3 little kiddos. She is a teacher/coach who hung up her coaching whistle after she got promoted to motherhood. She is a runner who loves all things sports and outdoors. She loves long coffee chats with her husband,fresh flowers on her table, and hosting game nights. Her friends would call her a "gatherer of people" who loves building genuine community. She's just Living the Adventure!. You can find her occasionally blogging at amandafarris.org.

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