What better place to celebrate the winter solstice than at an observatory, and what better way to do it than with holiday-themed music, stories, and, of course, hot cider? This Saturday, the beloved, local literary event The Octopus takes over Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland) for an evening of family-friendly lit-nerd fun, including musical performances by The Hot Toddies; a participatory reading of several original solstice plays, written by octopus founder Rebecca Grove; carols, storytelling, and crafts aplenty; a live video feed of the solstice sunrise piped in from Ireland; and access to Chabot’s super-powerful telescopes, all the better to gape at the setting sun and, later, the stars, with.
Explore the redwoods from twilight to moonlight on a one to two mile hike to Redwood Peak. After the hike, stay and view the night sky through the center's telescopes (weather permitting) or tour the Telescope Makers Workshop.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to give back to your community and help those less fortunate, start 2014 off by heading to the New Year’s Eve Benefit Gala at the Hilton Oakland Airport (1 Hegenberger Rd., Oakland). Proceeds from the festivities will go toward Love Never Fails, a local faith-based organization that works to protect East Bay children from sex trafficking. The evening’s program will include dinner, a one-woman play by poet Regina Y. Evans, and a dance performance by Aisha Whitmore-Love, Reagan Griffith-Aragones, and Natalie Seon. Then enjoy some drinks and dance the night away to the tunes of the Reed Fromer Band, content in the knowledge that you are “partying with a purpose.”
Hike through the redwoods from twilight to moonlight on an easy 2-3 mile hike. After the hike, stay and view the beginnings of the Quadrantids meteor shower and learn about where meteors come from. Explore other amazing objects in the night sky through the center's telescopes (weather permitting) or tour the Telescope Makers Workshop.