Pacific Science Center IMAX closes Sunday for renovations that include the latest IMAX technology

If you’re planning to catch an IMAX movie at PacSci in early 2015, do so before the weekend ends or wait until May 2015 for the latest and greatest IMAX technology. The Boeing IMAX Theatre will close after the final showing of Interstellar this Sunday night for major renovations to the 15 year-old theatre. The newly renovated Paccar IMAX Theatre will remain open for documentaries and feature films.

The Boeing IMAX Theater has hosted over 5.3 million viewers in its lifespan, and in four months it’ll thrill new and repeat guests again. The renovations planned will make PacSci the first science center in the country to showcase IMAX’s next-generation digital laser projection technology.

According to PacSci, the upgrades include “a new, custom-designed, laser-powered, digital projector enabling us to show movies with enhanced picture quality. This will be the world’s most advanced digital projection system designed specifically for giant IMAX screens. Plus, the renovated theater will boast a new screen, new seats, and a powerful new immersive sound system, with speakers surrounding you (even above you).”

The fancy new state-of-the-art theatre is expected to reopen in May 2015, just in time for summer blockbusters and more. If you want to catch a flick this weekend, you can purchase tickets online.

Key Arena sign and Pacific Science Center arches will go dark for Earth Hour tonight

Earth Hour is today, Saturday, March 23rd, and the city will be observing the hour between 8:30pm and 9:30pm tonight. The city will turn off the lights at several facilities across the city, including City Hall, and the Seattle Center will observe the hour as well: the large neon sign atop KeyArena and the Pacific Science Center arches will go dark for the hour.

According to Mayor Mike McGinn: “Earth Hour is a good reminder about the little things that everyone can do to help fight climate change.”

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2006. What happens during Earth Hour? People across the globe turn off non-essential lights for an hour to  raise awareness about climate change. The annual event has grown to hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries who turn off their lights for an hour.

In other parts of the city, Seattle City Light will turn off the historic City Light sign at the South Service Center, and the Office of Arts & Culture is partnering with the Seattle Art Museum to turn off Hammering Man.

You can participate in Earth Hour too, just turn off non-essential lights between 8:30pm and 9:30pm tonight.

Pacific Science Center Wins 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Pacific Science Center is a local treasure, and now it’s been recognized nationally – the Institute of Museum and Library Services has named the Pacific Science Center as a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

According to the Institute, the National Medal is “the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.”

Medal winners are selected from nationwide nominees that demonstrate “innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach”. The winners this year include a range of libraries, two museums, a park conservancy, and our own Pacific Science Center. The National Medal will be presented in Washington, D.C. next Wednesday, November 14.

According to Susan Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services:

“This year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients demonstrate the many ways libraries and museums build strong communities and provide opportunities for individual success.”

Congratulations to the Pacific Science Center!

Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG challenge underway

Today is your chance to donate to Queen Anne charities and have your money go further.

The Seattle Foundation is hosting the “GiveBIG” challenge from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. to support a long list of charities around town, a great many of which are based right here in Queen Anne, including the American Cancer Society – Great West Division, ArtsFund, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Forgotten Children’s Fund, Friends of KEXP, GreenStage, Hilltop Children’s Center, KCTS Television, Northwest Folklife, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pacific Science Center, Pottery Northwest, Queen Anne Helpline, Seattle Center Foundation, Seattle Children’s Home, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, SIFF, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Puget Sound Affiliate, Whim W’Him and more.

The money donated to charities through GiveBIG will be “stretched” by $500,000. Here is how the “stretch pool” and match works:

Credit card donations made during this time period will be counted as GiveBIG donations and used to calculate distribution of the stretch pool. The amount of a nonprofit organization’s share of the stretch pool will be based on the percentage of donations the nonprofit receives of the total online contributions made through on June 23. In other words, distribution of the stretch pool will be pro-rated. If X organization receives 1% of the donations through our site on GiveBIG, they will receive 1% of the stretch pool dollars.

Here is the long list of charities that are participating. There will also be a Golden Ticket given away every hour. Donors will be chosen at random to have more money donated to the charity they chose to support. Most tickets are worth $1,000 but the one-time extra special Golden Ticket is worth $5,000.

Upcoming neighborhood forums on transportation

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien is hosting two upcoming community forums on transportation. These neighborhood discussions are being co-hosted by the Pacific Science Center, Seattle City Council and Streets For All Seattle.

These discussions are part of a series of events that gather community input on different aspects of the City Council’s priority issue of carbon neutrality.

Interesting in taking part? Check out details on both events here:

  • Tuesday, March 29, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – Lake City, Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517  35th Avenue NE, Seattle

Featured Speakers:
Ref Lindmark, King County Metro Transit
Kari Watkins, OneBusAway & UW Civil Engineering
Notable community representative

  • Tuesday, April 12, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – Central District, Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 S. Jackson St., Seattle

Featured Speakers:
Mark Hallenbeck, Director of the Washington State
Transportation Center at UW (TRAC)
Jennifer Wieland, Seattle Dept. of Transportation
Transit blogger Carla Saulter, a.k.a. “Bus Chick”

The forum will provide a light dinner and refreshments for attendees. There will also be educational activities provided by the Science Center’s Science on Wheels program for children 5 years old and up whose  parents and guardians are attending the forum.

Although the event is free, space is limited. Those who plan to attend are asked to reserve their place by calling (206) 443-2896 or visiting

Pacific Science Center wins international award

Last week the Pacific Science Center won the Association of Science and Technology Centers’ (ASTC) Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience in a large institution (.pdf). The Center won the award, known as an “Edgie,” for the National Science Foundation funded Portal to the Public project, which fosters interactions between scientists, guests, and educators.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Abernathy via Flickr).

“This award recognizes the importance and value of providing an experience for our guests where they get to have face-to-face conversations with scientists regarding current research in science and technology,” said Pacific Science Center’s senior vice president for Strategic Programs Dennis Schatz in a statement. “It is also testimony to the great partnership we developed with science centers across the country that made Portal to the Public a success and deserving of winning an Edgie.”

The non-profit Pacific Science Center created the Portal to the Public Initiative in 2007, earning a three-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to initiate the first Portal to the Public project.

Get into the Pacific Science Center free

On the first Monday of every month (now through April) the Pacific Science Center is offering free general admission to the first 1,000 people through the doors. The free general admission includes the main exhibits only (separately ticketed shows like IMAX and the planetarium will require paid admission). The Science Center is able to offer free admission due to the support of the Fred Meyer Fund, which also funds field-trip assistance for schools visiting the center.

Tonight at the Pacific Science Center Science Café: Unlocking the Secrets of Dark Chocolate

Theo Classic BarsThere’s going to be a sweet discussion at the Pacific Science Center’s monthly Science Café tonight, revolving around “Unlocking the Secrets of Dark Chocolate.” Dr. Andy McShea, the Chief Operating Officer at Seattle’s own Theo Chocolate will be leading the talk.

Like always, the Science Café will begin at 7:30 p.m. at TS McHugh’s, located at 21 Mercer Street in Lower Queen Anne.

(Photo courtesy of Brad Mohr via his Flickr page.)

Pacific Science Center gets $1.1 million from NASA

Last week the Pacific Science Center received a sizable grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in the amount of $1.1 million to be used to develop a new education outreach program focusing on the earth and space sciences called NASA Now. The goal: To inspire young adults to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The five-year grant will help expand the Science Center’s efforts to engage diverse audiences and make valuable science learning experiences available to everyone, especially those who would otherwise not have access to such opportunities.

“Being selected by NASA for this award is gratifying for so many reasons,” said Bryce Seidl, president and CEO for Pacific Science Center said in a press release last week. “This grant allows us to reach underserved audiences, takes advantage of our existing Discovery Corps program, links to other partners like the UW and aligns so well with the science outreach objectives of NASA.”

The Science Center was among nine informal education providers chosen by NASA to receive its 2010 Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums, a still young program put in place by Congress back in 2008. Through the grant, PSC will create the NASA Now program, emphasizing three aspects of its development:

  1. Updating the PSC planetarium with a state-of-the-art digital projector system
  2. Adding a second portable digital projector to the PSC Science on Wheels Space Odyssey program to expand outreach offerings to schools and communities and incorporate more up-to-date scientific research and discoveries (NASA Now will also subsidize the cost of this program delivery for schools that have a large percentage of students participating in free/reduced-price lunch programs)
  3. Creating the Track for Earth and Space Science Achievement (TESSA) program, which supports the exploration of earth and space science careers for teens who will be engaged alongside undergraduates studying astronomy

TESSA’s participating youth will help write content for Pacific Science Center’s planetarium shows, assist in delivering programming, update our exhibit floor with current space science information and receive mentoring opportunities with the University of Washington Pre-MAP (Pre-Major in Astronomy Program).

“Science centers and planetariums contribute significantly to engaging people of all ages in science, technology, engineering and math,” James Stofan, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education said in a press release. “NASA wants to give the informal education community access to a variety of agency staff and resources while offering professional development opportunities for informal science educators and encouraging the formation of collaborative partnerships.”

QA Science Café hosts free talk on the “Great Windstorms of the Pacific Northwest” Tuesday

KCTS and the Pacific Science Center are hosting a free talk on the “Great Windstorms of the Pacific Northwest” with Cliff Mass, writer if the Cliff Mass Weather Blog, at the Queen Anne Science Café on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. The discussion is being held at T.S. McHugh’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, located at 21 Mercer St.

Who says talking about the weather is boring? Dr. Cliff Mass, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, joins the Queen Anne Science Cafe to discuss major storms that have pummeled the Pacific Northwest, some equivalent to category 2 or 3 hurricanes.

Dr. Mass studies weather with the Mesoscale Analysis and Forecasting Group. He received his BA in physics from Cornell and his PhD in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington. He is the author of Weather of the Pacific Northwest, and he blogs about weather at

KCTS 9, the Pacific Science Center and Science on Tap present free monthly Science Café discussions on the first Tuesday of each month in an effort to bridge the gap between the world of science and the community in a casual, laid back, social way. See a schedule of upcoming Science Café events here.

This event perfectly coincides with our own changing weather patterns here in Seattle. Just this morning the Seattle division of the American Red Cross sent out a press release urging residents in the Pacific Northwest to prepare for strong winds and potential power outages (not uncommon here in Queen Anne). See the full press release below:

American Red Cross Urges Preparations for Strong Winds and Potential Power Outages

SEATTLE, May 3, 2010 – With a spring storm bringing wind gusts of up to 50 mph and scattered power outages throughout Western Washington today, the American Red Cross reminds individuals and families to stay safe and be prepared.

“Spring weather is unpredictable,” said Susan Pelaez, Director of Preparedness and Community Engagement. “We are seeing communities dealing with the effects of Mother Nature across the country today, and Washington is no exception. We want to help Puget Sound communities to be safe and prepared for whatever comes their way.”

Tips from the Red Cross on preparing for high winds and possible power outages:

Prepare for High Winds

  • Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.
  • During the storm, draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

Top Safety Tips for a Power Outage

  • Assemble essential supplies, including: flashlight, batteries, portable radio, at least one gallon of water, and a small supply of food.
  • Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 9-1-1 for information – only call to report a life-threatening emergency.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system.
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out. Leave one light on so you know when the power comes back on.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
  • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Stay focused on the risks of smoke and carbon monoxide. Buy a carbon monoxide alarm if you do not already have one. They are available at most hardware stores. If you have one, check the battery to make sure it is working. If the alarm sounds: get to fresh air by going outside. Contact the fire department before you go back inside your home.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information about emergency preparedness or Red Cross Chapters in Washington State, please visit or

Beth Jusino
Interactive Communications and Outreach Coordinator

American Red Cross
Serving King & Kitsap Counties
Voice: (206) 709-4509
(360) 377-3761 x13805