Have Twins, Will Travel

Charles Haydn Planetarium

Boston, Mass – I have a love-hate relationship with Sesame Street. I have to admit that I loved the show when I was a kid. And I love that the twins will sit there and learn while being entertained. I hate that they are already pawns of our consumer culture, by which their so-called friends (aka, Elmo) are really just trying to get their money. But that’s a subject for a different post.

For Valentine’s Day (speaking of the consumer culture), Daddio and I decided to treat the twins to see One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure at the Charles Haydn Planetarium at the Museum of Science. How romantic, right?
In this 40-minute show, Big Bird and Elmo are joined by their friend Hu Hu Zhu, who is visiting from China. The three friends explore the night sky, and Hu Hu Zhu teaches them about the sun and moon, the Big Dipper and the North Star.
I later read that the show is targeted toward kids aged 4 to 6, so the twins were perhaps a little young for it. Twin V was definitely freaked out about being in the dark at first; but seeing Big Bird and Elmo on the giant screen calmed his fears.
Both boys were engaged throughout the show. When Elmo asked the viewers to sing along to “Twinkle, Twinkle” my boys were singing. And so were all the other kids in the theater. Elmo knows his audience.
The most exciting moment is when Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu board an imaginary rocket ship, which catapults through space in a flash of purple and goes hurtling toward the moon. The effect is similar to an IMAX film, in that we felt like we were moving through space too; and frankly, it seemed like we might crash. This was definitely scary, and there was some crying in the theater. For Twin V, it was like a bad accident: he was terrified to watch it, yet he couldn’t look away.
But it only lasted a moment. And then Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu reappeared, unscathed. And then they had a good ol’ time climbing in craters and kicking balls farther than they would ever be able to kick them back home on Sesame Street. So all was well.
When I asked the twins how they liked the show, the response was not overwhelmingly positive. They did not like those scary moments, and that’s what they remembered most. But the scariness was not a deal-breaker for them. It was all worth it for some quality time with Elmo and Big Bird. And the stars and planets too. Oh right, that too.