While wolves, the planet Mars and barbecue experts may not have much in common, all three subjects will be turning heads this spring at events in the Santa Maria Valley.
Meet the Live Wolves Related to Game of Thrones on April 21
Earth Day Weekend will be extra special at the Natural History Museum of Santa Maria as the museum is unveiling a fresh look with a grand re-opening on April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., including a visit from the live wolves, Cael, Damu, Tracer and Renegade, who are connected with the hit television series Game of Thrones. The wolves are helping promote Project Wildsong, a wildlife preservation program. The museum’s Earth Day Celebration & Spring Boutique will also offer a magic show; refreshments; performances by the Righetti High School Choir; the Sierra Club; Los Padres ForestWatch; and a variety of local vendors who are donating a portion of their proceeds to the museum. “We’re really proud of what our organization has been able to accomplish since it is 100 percent run by volunteers and offers free entrance to all,” said Virginia Perry Souza, one of the museum’s charter members. She explained that even the most humble donors played a big role through the museum’s “Penny Project,” which collected one million pennies in order to fund the refurbishment. She added that the local Kiwanis group conducted the carpentry renovation while Home Depot donated labor and materials. The museum is known for its extensive collection of Central Coast taxidermied animals; a native garden; Chumash exhibits and more.
Second-Annual Santa Maria Barbecue Festival is Bigger and Better
Witness a barbecue competition reminiscent of an Old West “quick draw” as barbecue professionals compete for the “Branding Iron” award while amateurs square off for the “Best Backyard Cook” at the second annual Santa Maria Barbecue Festival Brews and Cues event on April 21 at Pioneer Park from noon to 5 p.m. Join with local celebrity judges in sampling barbecue fare and voting for your favorite “cuers” while enjoying desserts; an Italian ice truck; a variety of beverages; and beer from more than 20 craft breweries. Picnic beneath the oak trees or recreate in the adjacent softball field while live music, a kids’ corner and specialty merchandise vendors are all within reach. Lodging packages are available through a variety of hotels including the Candlewood Suites Santa Maria; Historic Santa Maria Inn; Motel 6 Santa Maria; and the Radisson Hotel Santa Maria. “Benefitting Santa Maria’s Kiwanis for Kids program, this event really emphasizes our region’s authentic ‘Santa Maria Style,’ camaraderie and family atmosphere that so many of us have grown up with,” says Jaime Flores, the event organizer.
NASA’s Next Mission to Mars at Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum
Scientists and engineers from NASA are presenting their new Mars space project at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum on May 2 – 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., just days before the actual spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5. Called the “InSight Roadshow,” this Nasa tour is stopping at cities along the earthquake-prone California coast to explain how the robotic lander will study Mars’ deep interior using seismology and other geophysical measurements. Visitors to the museum can look forward to family-friendly science activities such as a “Make Your Own Marsquake” demonstration that invites you to create your own “quake” by jumping and then viewing the seismometer results on a screen. InSight is the first mission to study the deep interior of Mars using an ultra-sensitive seismometer, a heat-flow probe and other instruments that will reveal the planet’s level of warmth and geological activity as well as details about its orbit and clues to planet evolution. InSight is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.