North Fork Kids: Visit the Long Island Science Center

(Credit: Vera Chinese)

Kieran Smith, 6, of Massapequa visited the Long Island Science Center in Riverhead on Saturday. He received free admission for dressing like Luke Skywalker. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

A six-year-old Luke Skywalker brandished his lightsaber as he hopped from exhibit to exhibit inside the halls of the Long Island Science Center Saturday, taking in all mankind has learned about space to date.

The young Jedi, or rather little Kieran Smith of Massapequa dressed as the Star Wars hero, might not yet completely understand the workings of our universe, but the models and images of space captivated his attention at the museum that afternoon.

“He likes the light sabers and the space ships,” explained Kieran’s father, Tom Smith. “He was checking out the space ships we have and the space ships we want.”

Kids were able to design a solar system using stickers, make a rotating star finder and learn about the galaxy’s workings at the Long Island Science Center’s Sci-fi day Saturday, May 31. The event coincided with Star Wars month, so-named because May 4 has become an unofficial day to celebrate the epic films. (Fans greet each other by saying “May the fourth be with you” that day. Say it aloud if it still doesn’t make sense to you.)

Anyone dressed as a Star Wars character was granted free admission to the Riverhead museum.

The vastness of the universe and our place in it was at the core of Saturday’s exhibit.

For instance, our sun is indiscernible in an aerial view of the Milky Way galaxy, one museum display reminds us. “It would be like trying to pick out your porch light on a satellite photo of the USA at night,” it reads.

Tapping into their interest in one of the most beloved films of all time is just one way the West Main Street museum helps foster a lifelong love of science in youngsters.

“We tried to keep it as hands-on and as playful as possible,” said LISC educator Courtney Owen. “It’s very much geared toward children”

At the very least it kept youngsters like Aiden Reither, 9, of Aquebogue, who is drawn to Anakin Skywalker’s transformation in “The Revenge of the Sith,” busy for an afternoon.

“The planets,” he said when asked what interests him most about space. “There are 62 moons for Saturn.”

“It’s so powerful,” added his mother Katie.

The center is running a space exploration camp the week of July 7. For more info on that and other weekly camps, including dino week and a budding biologists session, visit www.lisciencecenter.org.

The Long Island Science center, located at 11 West Main Street in Riverhead, is open 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays during the school year. It is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in July and August.

Admission is $5 per person.