Head over to the Mayborn Science Theater planetarium at Central Texas College in Killeen for thrilling star shows and laser light spectaculars featuring music from legendary artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, Lady Gaga, Alice Cooper and more.
The theater, which first opened in August 2003, has undergone a million-dollar, full-scale digital upgrade to its 60-foot dome-shaped screen, more than twice the size of traditional movie theater screens. Laser light shows include 3D graphics and 15,000 watts of sound.
This month’s show lineup on Saturdays includes:
11 a.m. — Cowboy Astronomer with poet and humorist Baxter Black narrating a variety of mythological stories and star lore.
Noon — This is Our Sky, an introduction to the heavens and all the things we can see, along with such things as weather; the motion of the sun, moon and stars; the Earth’s tilt; seasons of the year; constellations, and phases of the moon.
1:30 p.m. — Space Park 360: Infinity, an amusement park with rides placed throughout the solar system.
2:30 p.m. — Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast, detailing the final mission of Rusty Rocket, who is retiring after decades of teaching rocket physics. With one mission left, Rusty takes the rocket rookies and his audience on an introductory tour of the solar system.
4 p.m. — Laser Tribute, featuring music from such luminaries as Michael Jackson, John Lennon, James Brown, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley and more.
5 p.m. — The Hot and Energetic Universe, highlighting the natural phenomena related to high-energy astrophysics. This includes probing hot gas in clusters of galaxies and supermassive black holes within galaxies.
Weekday matinees are each Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 each. One of the newest weekday shows is “Whales Super Highway,” which follows humpback and blue pygmy whales on their 6,500-kilometer migrations down the coast of Western Australia to the freezing waters of Antarctica and back again.
Laser Friday is June 25 and features four light shows. At 6 p.m. is “iPop,” combining tracks from some of music’s hottest artists with futuristic beams of high-energy light — an indoor version of fireworks. Featured artists include Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Justin Bieber, Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.
At 7 p.m. is “Laser Guitar Hero,” featuring favorite artists from the popular video game such as Rush, Alice Cooper, Nine Inch Nails, Bloc Party and more.
The band Genesis is featured at 8:30 p.m. in “Laser Genesis.” This show includes some of the biggest hits by the band and solo hits by its members such as “Invisible Touch,” “Sledgehammer,” “Land of Confusion,” Sussudio,” “In the Air Tonight” and others.
At 9 p.m., “Laser Hip Hop 2008” features music from the Beastie Boys, Kanye West, Timbaland, Cherish and more. Some songs in this show contain language not suitable for children.
Warren’s Sky Tour is June 26 at 5 p.m. It offers a tour of the stars and constellations visible in the summer night sky. The tour preempts the regularly scheduled 5 p.m. show. For complete show descriptions, directions, membership information and more, visit starsatnight.org.
Meanwhile, back home in Killeen-Fort Hood, BLORA (Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Area), at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, offers a number of family activities including such things as camping sites, picnic pavilions, hiking, sightseeing, bird watching, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, paintball, a 53-foot outdoor climbing wall and an archery range. Admission for military patrons is $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle.
The Recreation Equipment Checkout Center, located within the garrison 14 miles southwest of BLORA, is available to authorized Family and MWR patrons, and offers such equipment rentals as kayaks, canoes, wakeboards, skis, knee boards, tubes, camping equipment, pop-ups/travel trailers, accessories and more. Visit hood.armymwr.com for more information.
Fort Hood’s Apache Arts and Crafts Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for those interested in do-it-yourself projects, including picture frames, ceramics and ceramics birthday parties for kids. Also offered at the center, 761st Tank Battalion and 62nd Street, Building 2337, is screen-printing, embroidery and a wood shop.
The center has a Resiliency through Art program that offers a quiet area with art materials for soldiers to create “whatever comes to mind.” It is available free of charge to all active-duty soldiers during the week until 5 p.m. Soldiers may take their work with them or leave it at the center to be displayed for others to see. For more information, contact MWR.