Stuffed Animal Sleepover at the BU Observatory!

Julie Kellndorfer | September 8, 2019

Hello! I’m Doggy the Beagle. I can’t wait to share with you all about the adventures that my stuffed animals friends and I had last week visiting the Boston University Observatory! This summer at the library, we learned LOTS about space. A trip to an observatory, a place where people can look at and study planets and stars, is just what we needed to explore the universe further. We were nervous to be away from home for a WHOLE night, but Ms. Julie took good care of us.



Here is a group picture of us at Ms. Julie’s house before we began our adventure. I didn’t know who to talk to first! Luckily, all the other stuffed animals were so nice that I made friends right away. Can you spot me in the crowd?



The observatory didn’t open until night time, so we decided to do some exploring while it was still light out. But first, we had to make sure Blueberry, Elephanty, and Elephanta got their favorite snacks, or else they would have been miserable company the entire trip! Elephanta is known for being able to eat 20 bags of cheese puffs, so one bag had to hold her over for the afternoon. Ms. Julie was only able to sneak one piece away from her!



Finally, we set off towards the observatory. It would have been a very long walk for our group, so we took the Green Line Train to the Boston University Central stop. Blue is a professional at riding the T, since he travels to shows Downtown so much, and managed to save seats for Snowy, Blueberry, Browno, and Hana. Browno had to take extra care not to lose (or sit on) his invisible glasses; thankfully, his best friend Blueberry helped him keep track of them!



When we got off at our stop, we headed straight to the Esplanade. It was such a beautiful day that we wanted to take a walk next to the Charles River and get a better view of the city. Jojo helped B climb a sturdy tree so they could both enjoy the skyline together. Can you see the John Hancock building in the distance? Hint: It’s the tall, glass building in the middle!



Next, we wanted to look around Boston University (BU)’s campus so that we would know where to go when we visited the observatory later that evening. Snowy and I had to take a breather in front of the Law and Theology buildings, since our legs are much shorter than Pooh’s and Tipper’s. 



In the meantime, Grandmother’s Bear, Elephant, Lady Gaga, B, Lollipop, and Licky managed to climb up next to the College of Arts and Sciences building to get their picture taken. This is the building where the BU Observatory is! The only tussle of the day was when Licky the Iguanadon kept trying to eat Lollipop!! But Lady Gaga came to her rescue, yelling to Licky that Lollipop was a bunny, not a piece of candy. Licky apologized and all was well again.


We all couldn’t wait to visit the Observatory, but still had some time left before it got dark. So we all stopped for a water break to keep us hydrated! Elephanty, Blueberry, Browno, Elephant, and Elephanta are all VERY serious about staying hydrated; their moms left strict instructions to remember our water breaks, and the rest of us were happy to take them too. 



At last it was time to head up to the Observatory! Endeavour, who is an excellent navigator, found us a map that told us to go to the 5th floor to access the roof. The observatory needs to be on the roof so that the other buildings don’t get in the way of the telescopes. A telescope is an instrument that makes distant objects appear larger, and therefore, nearer. Telescopes are what make it possible for us to see stars and galaxies that are BILLIONS of light-years away!



Lady Gaga, Foxy, Browno, and Bear got the first view of the night sky from the window in the observatory. It was a whole other world out there!



Blueberry, Cinder, and Lollipop were drawn to one of the smaller telescopes in the observatory first. The bigger the lens in the telescope, the farther you can see, so this telescope would have only shown us stars that live two billion light-years away. Hmmm… that sounds like pretty far away to me!



Here I am with Hossy and Licky on another small telescope! Can you see what this telescope is named? That’s right! It’s Marvin. Marvin helps the students who attend BU to see the planets in our solar system. Can you name all the planets in our solar system?



Blue, Tipper, and Panky found yet another telescope in a corner! Every Wednesday night, if the sky is clear, the BU Observatory hosts an Open Night where anyone can come up and look through their telescopes. We highly recommend you visit, but be warned! Their tickets go quickly, since they are always free! 


Endeavour, B, and Donky managed to find the oldest telescope in the room. This telescope is a seven inch refractor that is 112 years-old! That is WAYYY older than Endeavour, B, and Donky!  A refractor is another name for a telescope that uses lenses to make objects appear nearer. 



But Eeyore ended up finding the best telescope of all! This six-and-a-half inch refractor is even older than the brass telescope at 130 years-old! This is the telescope that lives in a special dome at the observatory, a separate building which helps direct the right amount of light into the telescope. 



Everyone lined up for a turn looking through the telescope. First Pooh, then Bear, then Blue Tutu; then Grandmother’s Bear, then Tootie, then Blueberry; then Jojo, then Hana, then Bamboo, and THEN Bunny. Ms. Julie had to hold us up in order to reach the eyepiece, but wow did we see a lot of stars, planets, and constellations (groups or clusters of stars)!


Ursa Major, also known as the Big Dipper


We saw theBig Dipper, which is the more common name for the constellation called Ursa Major. We also saw the star Polaris, which is also called the North Star; Polaris is part of the constellation called Ursa Minor, better known as the Little Dipper.


Earth’s Moon


These two pictures were taken by NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, through the Hubble Space Telescope, which is a telescope that lives in space!



After all that space exploring, we were all exhausted and couldn’t wait to go to bed. But we still had a few more things to check off our to-do list! First, Shelly, Tootie, and Elephant had to take a shower. Shelly and Tootie love the water, and Elephant just likes to be clean.




Bamboo, meanwhile, found a tasty snack on the windowsill. But oops! It was really Ms. Julie’s plant that was not intended for snacking! Bamboo apologized straight away, because she is a polite panda bear. 



In the other room, Browno, Blueberry, Elephanty, Elephanta, and Elephant were reading Always, a book that they ALWAYS read together before bed.   



Panky, Shelly, Bamboo, and Endeavour tried looking out the window at Ms. Julie’s to see if they could see any of the same stars we saw at the BU Observatory. But their view was blocked by the other apartment building! At least they had all gotten a good look at the stars through the telescopes.


Lady Gaga, Blue Tutu, Hana, Snowy, and Jojo, on the other hand, managed to find the one window with a view of the night sky. The view certainly wasn’t as good as the view from the rooftop of the observatory! They all couldn’t believe that the day had gone by so quickly.



Finally, we all gathered around while Ms. Julie read us a bedtime story. She read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, which was the perfect book to help us get settled down for the night.


She made sure to tuck us all in, although Cinder had a special blanket that he so nicely shared with Lollipop, Foxy, Snowy, Donky, and Hossy. We missed getting to snuggle with our families, but knew that when we woke up, it would be time to see them again. 



The next morning, we were ready to be picked up from the library. It was so fun to explore Boston and beyond with our new friends that all of us would do it again in a heartbeat. Ms. Julie even sent us home with our very own telescopes so that we could show our favorite people what we saw at the observatory. 


BU Open Night information:

NASA Solar System Exploration:

NASA Image and Video Library:

NASA Hubble Space Telescope:

Night sky simulator: