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June 26, 1997|NONA YATES

On July 4, the NASA Pathfinder spacecraft will touch down on Mars, and the Planetary Society, through a link with JPL, will project the live images of the Red Planet as they are sent to Earth onto a giant 25-foot screen as part of "Planetfest '97."

Astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, as well as science fiction author Larry Niven, Planetary Society President Bruce Murray and many others will be on hand for the festival of space exploration at the Pasadena Convention Center July 4 through 6.

There will be hands-on activities for children, programs in Spanish, science and science fiction presentations, exhibit halls and educators' workshops throughout the three-day event. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or call (818) 793-5100 or (800) 969-MARS. The society's Web site is at

Science for Families

* The Griffith Observatory will also be marking the Pathfinder landing with "Destination Mars," a new multimedia planetarium program. Call (213) 664-1191. The Observatory Web site is at

* The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has a roster of summer events for children and adults. Children ages 3 to 13 can take part in "Adventures in Nature," with science classes ranging from fossils to bugs to dinosaurs and much more. Adults, meanwhile, can learn about mummification from leading Egyptologists. Call (213) 763-3534. On the Internet,

* Kidspace Museum in Pasadena will have fun and educational classes for children this summer, including a special Science Week, beginning July 7 with workshops about comets, planets and light and color. Call (818) 449-9143.

* Families with children from 2 months to 8 years can learn about wildlife and the environment in local walks sponsored by Nursery Nature Walks this summer. Walks in Topanga, Eaton Canyon and Griffith Park are some of the planned events for July. Call (310) 364-3591.

* The Los Angeles Zoo has special Wild Weekends planned through the summer months with musical entertainment, puppet shows and bird and animal shows for kids. Call (213) 666-4090 or visit their Web site at

* For families interested in the sea, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro is offering a full slate of Science at the Seashore workshops for preschool and school-aged children to learn marine science with hands-on activities, including examining live animals, exploring coastal habitats and using scientific tools such as microscopes. Call (310) 548-7562.

* Families will have the chance to meet live animals from Wildlife on Wheels and hear the amusing tale of a detective lizard searching for a missing chameleon at area libraries and bookstores throughout July. Call (818) 951-3656.

* Tyke Hikes, nature walks and Summer Science Camps are some of the activities children and their families can enjoy at the Madrona Marsh Preserve this summer. Call the Friends of the Madrona Marsh at (310) 32MARSH.

* Summer sea camps, and a Family Science Series that includes educational workshops, a snorkeling cruise to Catalina and a bioluminescence night cruise are among the offerings of the Orange County Marine Institute this summer. Call (714) 496-2274.

* In a drier environment, the Palm Springs Desert Museum summer camps offer children in three age groups, from 5 to 13 years old, opportunities to learn about the plants and animals of the harsh desert environment. Call (760) 325-7186, Ext. 117.

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