One of the most spectacular sights in the East Bay , Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, 510/336-7300, www.chabotspace.org , Wed.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., adults $13, seniors/students $10, youth $9) makes science and space super cool. Set up in the Oakland Hills, the Chabot complex includes observatories, the planetarium, the museum, and the Megadome theater, all available to the public. (Most Bay Area observatory telescopes are private.)
Unlike the other area science museums that focus most on life on earth, Chabot focuses on the life of earth and of the universe. You and your family can create your own solar system in an interactive exhibit, “ride” a space shuttle in the Megadome, and check out Saturn’s rings through the telescopes. If your visit runs long, grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee at the on-site Celestial Café.