Morehead Planetarium and Science Center's latest creation doesn't focus on the stars, but "Take Flight" points them into the skies.
"Take Flight," which premiered at the Chapel Hill planetarium in March, focuses on the four forces of flight - lift, weight, thrust and drag. Drawn as stick figures, Wilbur and Orville Wright introduce the audience to the people whose work help make flight today possible.
You hear from Leonardo da Vinci with his flying machine. There are the Wright brothers, of course, who made the first successful flight right here in North Carolina. The film also shines a spotlight on Bessie Coleman, the first woman of African American and Native American descent to earn an aviation pilot's license; Amelia Earhart, who flew across the Atlantic Ocean; and Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier.
With stories, graphics and descriptions, the film offers a high-level introduction to how planes actually lift off, stay in the air and land everyday. Of course, there's some humor along the way, thanks to silly moments between the Wright brothers. At one point, Orville gets sucked into a tablet.
But those moments of comedy help move the story along, keeping kids interested in the educational storyline, which is, after all, what the movie is all about. (NASA helped provide funding for the project).
The fast-moving film packs a lot of information in just about 25 minutes. It kept the attention of both my kindergartner and fifth grader. We'd see it again. Morehead recommends it for ages 8 to 13 and their families. Like all shows at Morehead, it's followed by a mini star show where you'll learn about constellations, galaxies and other astronomy topics - so you'll still get to enjoy a traditional planetarium experience if you go.
Planetarium shows are $7.68 for adults and $6.51 for children, students and senior citizens. You can add additional shows to your same-day ticket for $3.26 each. Morehead also offers free Science Live shows - demonstrations of a variety of science-related topics (and they are lots of fun!). Morehead's hours varies throughout the year. It's typically open on weekends throughout much of the year and Tuesdays through Sundays in the summer.