Mining museum reschedules Picnic-n-Planes

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Every year the Western Museum of Mining & Industry invites the public to bring a picnic lunch out to its grounds to watch the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flying overhead for the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation.

Because of the Sequester the Thunderbirds aren't flying this year and the museum has rescheduled and renamed its picnic invitation.

The annual event scheduled on May 4 was called Picnic-n-Planes but now it will be the “Disappointed We Can't See The T-Birds Picnic!” and will be on May 29.

Brad Poulson, the museum's programs and communications director writes in an email: “Are you sad because you can't watch the Thunderbirds fly at this year's Air Force Academy graduation? We are too!

“But since that's not going to happen this year, we decided to host a picnic to ease your disappointment. Instead of the cutting-edge technology of modern flight, bring a picnic lunch and come to the museum to see the technology of the Industrial Revolution!

“Hear the shrill whistle of our 1928 Osgood Steam Shovel. Watch the compressed air locomotive speed down the track and learn how it replaced the donkey in hauling mountains of ore. Afterwards, make sure you bring enough carrots in your picnic lunch to share with our donkeys, Nugget and Chism, in their playpen.”

This day-long event includes tours of the facilities and the operation of the outside equipment. Tours start at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are included with paid admission. Admission $8-$4.

Just a little more than a week later there will be another reason to visit the museum, the 50th Annual Pikes Peak Gem & Mineral Show - “Out of the Heavens!” The show will run from June 7-9. On Friday and Saturday the hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Sunday the show is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The show, which is a partnership between the museum and the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society, will center on an extraterrestrial rock that crashed through a home in Canon City in 1973, tearing a 6-inch hole in the home's garage roof and gouging out a 2-inch hole in the garage floor. To go along with the show's theme, there will also be a special exhibit on meteorites from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

The show will include Keep-What-You-Find gold panning lessons from the Gold Prospectors of Colorado; crystal, gem and jewelry exhibits and vendors; tours of the museums working engines, steam shovel and the 1890s Stamp Mill Gold & Silver Refinery. Admission is $5 for ages 13 and older; children younger than 13 are free.

Call 719-488-0880 for further information about either of these two events.

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