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There is a place where people wake up hungry in the morning and go to bed hungry at night. These people are our neighbors. The place they live is called Trenton.

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Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and the New Jersey State Museum Partner to Help Those in Need This Holiday Season

(TRENTON, NJ) – As part of an ongoing commitment to support the Trenton community, the New Jersey State Museum will be accepting non-perishable food donations to benefit the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen now through February 22, 2012. Food donations will be provided to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen to feed those individuals and families who find themselves struggling this holiday season. TheState Museum will be offering $1.00 off any laser or sky show at the Planetarium through February 22, 2012 to any visitors who participate in the food collection drive (limit one per visitor). Please note, glass jars will not be accepted.

“The State Museum is a place of learning and civic engagement,” said Anthony Gardner, Director of the New Jersey State Museum. “We are humbled by this opportunity to engage our visitors to help others in need this holiday season and beyond.”

"The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen is thrilled that the New Jersey State Museum will be supporting our programs this year. The food received through donations will go a long way in helping us provide the more than 3,600 meals we serve to the hungry of the Greater Trenton area each week," said Dennis C. Micai, Executive Director, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen was founded in the early 1980's by a small group of individuals from local churches and service organizations. Their goal was to feed the truly needy people of Trenton five days a week.

The food collection site will be located within the Museum’s Planetarium lobby.

The State Museum’s Planetarium is the largest planetarium facility in New Jersey, comfortably seating 150 visitors in specially designed reclining seats that transport audiences to astronomical destinations. Made possible by the generous support of the Prudential Foundation, through the Friends of the New Jersey State Museum, the state-of-the-art, full dome video system displays precision projection of more than 6,000 stars and immerses audiences within images covering the entire 360-degree inner dome. This cutting-edge digital technology allows Planetarium visitors to feel the sensation of zooming through the solar system and beyond.

The Planetarium offers the following laser and sky shows every weekend at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm (schedule to change January 14, 2012):

1pm Laser Nutcracker Spectacular 3D

This entertaining show captures the joyous spirit of the season with spectacular effects and brilliant laser light. In addition to the classical music from Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet, the program features numerous seasonal favorites including Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and more, all presented with dazzling visuals.

2 pm Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

Eighty million years ago, the American Midwest lay under a great inland sea where colossal creatures ruled the waves, from giraffe-necked Styxosaurus and sea birds with teeth to the “T. rex of the Ocean”, the 40-foot super-predator Tylosaurus. This National Geographic program immerses audiences in this unexplored world of the “other dinosaurs.” Meet up with a family of Dolichorhynchops as they swim through waters with prehistoric sharks and squids brought to life in our Planetarium’s full-dome immersive theater. Then see the real Plesiosaurs and Mosasaurs in our newest exhibition, Natural History Highlights, located in the Museum’s main gallery. Sea Monsters is recommended for ages 6 and up.

3pm Laser Nutcracker Spectacular 3D (see description above)

4 pm Passport to the Universe

As new scientific discoveries reveal answers to cosmic mysteries, we wonder how we fit into this vast universe. Taking audiences on a voyage of billions of light years, Passport to the Universe, produced by the American Museum of Natural History and narrated by Tom Hanks, is an incredible journey from our home planet to the edge of the universe. Audiences fly through the rings of Saturn, into the heart of the Orion Nebula and back to Earth through a black hole. Suitable for general audiences.

The New Jersey State Museum is located at 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. The main building and auditorium are open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 am – 4:45 pm, and Sunday, noon to 5:00 pm. The Museum is closed Mondays and all state holidays. On weekends, free parking is available in lots adjacent to and behind the Museum. Please visit www.trentonparking.com for a number of options for parking in downtown Trenton.

For more information, please visit its website at www.newjerseystatemuseum.org or call the Museum’s recorded information line at (609) 292-6464. The New Jersey State Museum is a division of the NJ Department of State.

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By LEE SEGLEM, Member of TASK Board of Trustees

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