Susan Still Kilrain knows the importance of math and science education.
The Augusta native, who piloted two space shuttle flights, grew to love math at a time when many girls start to lose interest.
"I became interested in math and science in eighth grade. That's where they got me," said Mrs. Kilrain, who spoke Friday at Fort Discovery's second annual Discovery Party.
About 250 people attended the event, which kicked off the giving campaign.
"We want to bring awareness of what we do at the National Science Center and Fort Discovery," said Rich Slaby, the director of development.
Although they didn't like the idea of going to a "science museum" at first, Mrs. Kilrain said, the science center has become like Disneyland for her children, Quinn, 6, and Sean, 4, who recently visited. Mrs. Kilrain lives in Virginia Beach, Va., but her parents still live in the Augusta area.
"I think my son was mostly fascinated with the motorcycle and the motor. My daughter liked the pendulum swing and dinosaur exhibit. We spent hours here," she said.
The party was catered by Poppy Seeds and featured entertainment by Air Apparent and Crosstie Walkers..
"This is a time when adults who come can enjoy the displays," said Alan Smith, who attended with his wife, Helen.
They often take their three children to the science center, but he doesn't always get to see the exhibits.
Mr. Smith said he's in more of a crowd-control mode then, watching the children.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.