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Kids Become Rocket Makers At Stardome

Thursday 10 March 2005


Kids can design, make and launch their very own rocket at the Stardome Observatory these school holidays.

Part of the Stardome’s school holiday programme, the new Rocket Workshops are open to kids aged five to 13, as well as parents and caregivers.

“The kids work in groups. They’re given all the materials, tools and assistance they need to make a rocket, and then they go for it,” says Stardome Presenter Leigh Findlay.

“We get all kinds of rockets, of all sizes and shapes. From a standard Apollo-type rocket, to Dr Zeus, Batman, even a Barbie rocket! A lot of them are really impressive.”

At the end of each workshop, the rockets are launched on a special purpose-built launching pad, so the rocket builders actually get see their rockets in the air.

The programme is totally safe for kids as it is completely supervised. Leigh says parents and caregivers are welcome to get involved to, and usually do. “In the pilot classes we held over Christmas, the mums and dads who came along got just as involved as the kids.”

“It can get quite addictive, we’ve got quite a few kids coming back already to have another go. New Zealand children are really good at it too, they’re building world-class rockets.

“In a few years time, we’d like to hold New Zealand’s first rocket building championship like those held overseas, and maybe even compete in an international championship.”

The Rocket Workshops are being held weekdays from Monday 18 April to Friday 29 April from 1 – 3.30pm as part of the Stardome’s School Holiday programme.

Also on at 10.30am each day of the school holidays is ‘Big’, a show about the universe held in the Stardome’s Planetarium, an all-sky, 360 degree panoramic theatre.

Says Leigh: “’Big’ is a fantastic show because whatever age you are, from 4 to 99, you get into it.”

And at 11.30am each day is ‘B.V. Rockets’, a practical class aimed at teaching kids how to make basic rockets, using vinegar and baking soda.

“I don’t usually like telling people that B.V. stands for baking soda and vinegar as they think the rockets won’t be spectacular, but they really are”.

Leigh says the Stardome’s School Holiday programme is suitable for ages five to 13 years.

However there is also a special show for three to four year olds called ‘The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket’ on Wednesday 20 and 27 April at 10am.

Space is limited, so bookings are essential. Cost is $6 for kids and $9 for adults for The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket, Big and B.V. Rockets, and $8 for kids and $10 for adults for a Rocket Workshop.

To make a booking or for further information, contact Jasmine on tel (09) 624 1246.

The Stardome Observatory is located in One Tree Hill Domain in Auckland. For further information on the Stardome Observatory, visit


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