To Missouri & Beyond: Space & Robots With Your Grandchild

Set out on an adventure of discovery in St. Louis, where you’ll build a robot, simulate a space mission, learn about constellations and inspire your grandchild to shoot for the stars!
Rating (5)
Program No. 21935RJ
7 days
Starts at
1,199 / ADULT
949 / CHILD

At a Glance

Become an engineer, an astronaut and a mad scientist all in one week as you and your grandchild take on a LEGO robot programming challenge, a mission into outer space and rocket blast-off! Meet and learn from brilliant scientists and teachers at the St. Louis Science Center — one of the top four in the country — the Challenger Space Center, McDonnell Planetarium and Boeing Headquarters. Zoom into space and up to the top of the Gateway arch. Learn how to find Mars in the sky, and come back down to earth as you crawl and climb through chimneys, bridges, airplanes and other reclaimed objects at the amazing, eclectic City Museum.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
A great deal of walking and standing will be required at field study locations. A minimum of 1-2 miles per day of walking will be required. Plan on getting on and off a bus several times each day.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Work together with your grandchild to program a robot using a LEGO Mindstorm kit.
  • Enjoy a simulated space mission at the Challenger Space Center, then build and launch your own rocket.
  • Spend a morning at City Museum — part playground, part fun-house, part architectural marvel — and take an afternoon ride to the top of the Gateway Arch.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-11. For a program for younger grandchildren (ages 6-8), check out "A Scientific World of Discovery With Your Younger Grandchild" (#22895).
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Fred Heidolph
Fred Heidolph is a lifelong resident of the St. Louis area. He attended the University of Missouri — St. Louis and majored in chemistry and physics. Fred’s passion for aviation led him to a fulfilling career at McDonnell Douglas, during which time he worked in the standards and calibration lab and was later promoted to a logistics engineer for the F-18 fighter program. During his tenure with McDonnell Douglas, he also earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 1989, after 11 years at McDonnell Douglas, Fred left the company to start a wholesale nursery tree business and became a stay-at-home dad for his five children. Today, Fred enjoys playing the clarinet in the St. Charles and O’Fallon municipal bands and occasionally playing for the St. Charles Community College music program. In addition, he teaches summer camp classes in physics and chemistry for St. Charles Community College and loves teaching children about science and aviation.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Fred Heidolph
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Page Jackson
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Who Were the Wright Brothers?
by James Buckley Jr.
An illustrated biography of aviation pioneers the Wright Brothers. Written for ages 8 to 12.
The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book
by Tom Robinson
Using common household items, kids can recreate dozens of fun and educational science experiments, covering fields from biology to chemistry and physics to outer space. Experiments answer questions such as: can you blow up a balloon without blowing into it? What is inside a coin? Can a magnet ever be "turned off"?
The Lego Mindstorms Ev3 Idea Book: 181 Simple Machines and Clever Contraptions
by Yoshihito Isogawa
For those with the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set, this guide explores creative ways to build amazing mechanisms and robots. Each suggested model includes a list of the required parts and colorful photos that allow the builder to recreate it without the need for lengthy step-by-step instructions. Models include steerable crawlers, ball shooters and grasping robotic arms, among others.
Moon Handbook St. Louis
by Brooke S. Foster
A no-nonsense practical guide in the Moon series, jam-packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history, flora and fauna and geology.
Images of America: St. Charles
by Don Graveman, Dianna Graveman
This Missouri city began humbly when a French Canadian fur trader built a cabin on the Missouri River in 1769. He named the settlement Les Petites Cotes (the little hills). St. Charles has seen much excitement over the years, including a visit by Lewis and Clark and a number of devastating natural disasters.
History of Flight Coloring Book
by A. G. Smith
Forty-seven illustrations inspired by the history of flight -- all ready for coloring! Includes the Spirit of St. Louis, the Concorde, space shuttles, the Wright Brothers’ craft and more. Each image is paired with a detailed caption.
Flight, 100 Years of Aviation
by R. G. Grant
A sweeping compendium of a century worth of experiments in flight, this big book features engaging text, rigorous attention to detail, miniature biographies of key figures and a comprehensive history of humanity's quest to become airborne. Produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
The Gateway Arch: A Biography
by Tracy Campbell
A St. Louis icon and a stunning memorial to westward expansion, the Arch triumphantly rises 630 feet over the city and attracts millions of tourist every year. Campbell reveals the history of the monument, dispelling myths and shining new light on the origins and meaning of the Arch.
Women Aviators
by Bernard Marck
From Amelia Earhart to Sally Ride, these remarkable women defied tradition and took to the air in planes, rockets and spaceships. With hundreds of archival photographs, these profiles capture the thrill and derring-do of early flight.
The Lego Mindstorms NXT Zoo!
by Fay Rhodes
A companion to the Lego Mindstorms robotics kit, this book teaches young and old inventors alike how to build a variety of animated animals, including a hopping frog, a walking camel and an eight-legged spider that walks forward and backward.
Into the Blue, American Writers on Aviation and Spaceflight
by Joseph J. Corn (Editor)
The dizzying story of America’s journey into the skies, told through the eyes of luminaries, writers and air flight pioneers. Corn draws together such gems of aviation history as a dispatch from Ernest Hemingway on a 1922 flight over France and Benjamin Franklin's impressions of the first hot air balloons.
The Lego Mindstorms Ev3 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots
by Laurens Valk
This is the beginner’s guide to building and programming robots using the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set. Valk teaches the basics to help newcomers build and program simple robots while experimenting with motors, sensors and EV3 programming.
National Geographic Kids Everything Robotics
by Jennifer Swanson
This heavily illustrated National Geographic book introduces kids to everything robotics, from the tiniest robo-bees to giant factory machines.
What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?
by Tim Foley (Illustrator), Judith St. George
An illustrated chapter book about the infamous journey that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.
How to Be a Space Explorer: Your Out-Of-This-World Adventure
by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet’s fun and engaging guide teaches young explorer everything they need to know about space travel, from zero gravity to solar system navigation. Features more than 300 photographs; perfect for any aspiring astronaut.
St. Charles (Then and Now)
by Jessica Dreyer, Vicki Berger Erwin
Settled in 1769, St. Charles is an example of historic preservation -- though by the 1960s many of the buildings had deteriorated and would have been demolished if not for the efforts of educated citizens who spurned a period of revitalization and restoration. Through photos, both old and new, readers will see the city of St. Charles as it was and is now.

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