Balloon Drops For The Family

Are you and your kids getting cabin fever?  Consider celebrating the New Year’s holiday with a balloon drop on Wednesday afternoon.  There are two places that ring in 2009 as it arrives around the globe, and you’ll have to decide which place fits the bill.

Where Balloons Drop

Your balloon drop choices are Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center and Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science – so ask your kids whether they prefer an all-space visit or more earthly discoveries.  With tikes under seven years old, head straight to Berkeley since the Chabot drops (for them) are sold out.

What’s at Chabot Space & Science Center:

Chabot has scheduled balloons at 1 pm and 4 pm, so plan on arriving at least 15 minutes before the festivities begin.  There’s  room for kids 7-12, when the balloons fall in the Rotunda.  While there, you can tour all the space age exhibits and visit the planetarium too.  Or screen a movie later at the dome theater.

More info: Chabot is open from 10 am – 5 pm, and located at 10000 Skyline Dr, Oakland (map).  Tickets cost $3/kid for the balloon event.  Admissions run another $13/adult, $10/student or senior, $9/ages 3-12 and include the planetarium.  Dome movies cost $7/adult or $6/kid.  Questions, call 510-336-7373.

What’s at the Lawrence Hall of Science:

Along with the balloons, Lawrence Hall will let kids make noise makers (and noise) and other crafty things between noon and 2 pm.  Through their Science On a Sphere, it’s easy to pinpoint who’s celebrating the new year.  There’s a planetarium here, plus more earthly exhibits like a walk-in wind tunnel.

More info:   Lawrence Hall is open from 10 am – 5 pm, and located on Centennial Dr, Berkeley (map, directions).  Admissions include the balloon event, and run $11/adult, $9/student or senior, $6/ages 3-6.  Planetarium shows cost another $3/adult or $2.50/others.  Questions, call 510-642-5132.

Some 15 Police Cars In Hot Pursuit

This just in… some police action to top off the year!  Over in the North Hills, there were Oakland police hotly pursuing robbers.  While this is par for the course in places like LA, we have learned about a chase that just took place on Rt 24 instead.

Hats off to Jim Dexter for this report:

A capture of armed robbers by overwhelming OPD force occurred starting at 1:20 p.m. today.  I was trying to travel to the Caldecott Tunnel, and had started to turn on the 13/24 east ramp when many OPD vehicles came rushing by.  At least 15 OPD vehicles arrived at the top of the ramp, officers exited their vehicles with guns drawn.  The east-bound traffic on 24 was completely halted.  I was told by one officer that the suspects were robbery related, and that there was at least one rifle in the vehicle.

When I looked around for more info or details, there’s nothing to be found yet.  I’m sure this news will garner a mention or two by the TV stations or press later.  Anyone else around to witness this underway?

Update:   Inside Bay Area posted Police stopping suspected robbery vehicle halt traffic on Highway 24.  According to staff reports, “at least three men were detained at gunpoint by police.”