Port Arthur museum explores the future with some family fun

Published 10:23 am Monday, July 11, 2016

To infinity and beyond was the theme of Saturday’s Family Fun Day as the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur hosted their regular free event for families one and all in the Golden Triangle.

“Whenever we have a new exhibit to show, we host a Family Fun Day for it,” said Education Coordinator for the Gulf Coast Museum, Stephanie Harren, of the museum’s new NASA exhibit.

Harren would go on to explain the value of such free events as a unique opportunity for people who wouldn’t normally come into the museum as something instead that “would help them come in for the first time.”

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The allure of a free entry fee and fun activities for children, however, would not be the only attractions in her eyes.

“It gives kids the chance to see different things with their families and learn new things,” Harren said. “It may even help some children learn about new things that they really care for.”

And that spark of interest for learning was something that the museum’s patrons also seemed to share and hoped to impart to their children.

“It’s the history—something to teach our kids and tell them where they come from,” said Ruben Davalos, a proud father and husband who had taken his family to the museum. “We’re from the area, but haven’t been down here in a while,” Davalos said, speaking of what brought them to the family event.

Though for Davalos himself, it wasn’t necessarily the space theme that commanded his attention, but something else. “It’s the wildlife,” he said, in response to what his favorite aspect of the museum was.

“It’s the various music personalities and sports figures,” answered Tom Hargrove, Beaumont resident and grandfather, who had taken his granddaughter to the museum for the NASA exhibit. “She’s really interested in space.”

Although the myriad draws of the Gulf Coast Museum weren’t just limited to the museum’s sundry patrons, as even their staff had kind words for the event and place.

“I get to meet new people and make new friends,” Taylor Babino, a volunteer who has been helping the museum for three years, said. “I get to teach new things to new kids.”

The Family Fun Day’s theme was “Rocket to the Moon” and had a diverse range of activities for the kids including: portable planetarium shows, space crafts, games, and a free screening of Disney’s Wall-E.

In addition, the museum staff had constructed a fun and informative “Hollywood or NASA” tapestry in the space exhibit whereby interested patrons could investigate whether or not certain science fiction tropes like teleportation and wormhole travel were possible in the real world—and whether or not they could be accomplished with our current level of science and technology.

The event, of course, was free to all and was enjoyed by several families.