This year we are completing our Key to STEM and as such we wanted to complete some interest badges that matched. At our first camp the girls decided that they wanted to complete the "Exploring Space" interest badge.
We are very fortunate to be in a city where there is a University Observatory. York has free public viewing nights on Wednesdays and with a phone call and a couple of emails back and forth we were able to set up a private tour for the girls as well as a space presentation.
The observatory tours are run by current York University students in the astronomy department. Our student tour guides were very knowledgeable and were happy to answer question after question about black holes, stars, suns and planets.
After the girls had some of their questions answered we went to see the telescopes. We got to see two different telescopes, a 40cm and a 60cm telescope. The girls thought they were really interesting! Our tour guides talked about how the rood of the observatory buildings are shaped the way they are and showed the girls how they rotate to look at different parts of space. Unfortunately it was raining quite hard the night we went for our tour so we couldn't actually use the telescopes but we did get to see some really interesting pictures that have been taken by the telescopes at York.
If you live in Toronto or near a university with an observatory I highly recommend you give them a call and ask about a tour. Our kids had a blast and learned a lot!