I've been a long-time fan of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center's Science Live! series.
These programs are on the schedule throughout the year - on the weekends during the school year and Tuesdays through Sundays during the summer. And, best of all for families looking for free activities, there is never any charge to attend. In fact, they are among the 41 featured activities on this summer's list of free summer fun.
There are three shows, which rotate daily at Morehead, which is on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.
"All Systems Go" is all about how the body works. Here are the kinds of topics that it tackles, according to the description: "What does it mean to be alive? What do our skin and hair look like when magnified? Why do our muscles get sore during exercise? How fast does our brain work? How much energy does our body use each day?"
In "Magnificent Matter," which I took my kids to last week, we learned about the three states of matter, non-Newtonian Fluids and even saw a little fire.
"Phenomenal Physics" explores physics in an approachable and fun way. It answers questions such as, "How heavy is the air around us?" and "What can one nail do that nine hundred can’t?"
In all of them, said Whit McMillan, science programs manager, "we try to make science fun."
And, they really do. The leaders, usually Carolina students, take visitors through a fast-paced, just over 30-minute session that includes lots of experiments and plenty of opportunities for kids to get involved. The programs are designed for kids ages 5 and up, but McMillan said they can tailor the program to whoever is in the audience.
Before or after the shows, you can catch a planetarium show, if you like. We watched "Black Holes: Journey into the Unknown," which was a fascinating look at what we know about black holes. Tickets to the planetarium shows are $7.68 for adults and $6.51 for kids.
But, if you're looking for free fun, you can just pop into a Science Live! show.
I chatted with McMillan last week for a Facebook Live video where he demonstrated several experiments that are featured in Science Live! shows. The video is attached at the top of this article.