The ROW Experience: Kids!

We’ve always had kids as visitors to Rancho Obi-Wan, even long before we were organized as a non-profit Star Wars museum in 2011: neighborhood kids, kids who are related to friends and neighbors and school kids on authorized class outings with their teachers and a few parents as chaperones.

It has never surprised me that often the teacher and some of the chaperones were huge Star Wars fans, sometimes even more than their kids. The kids tours usually last an hour to 90 minutes, or about half the time of our regular tours. All visitors start outdoors and get a chance to meet and sometimes play with the dogs, cats and even the chickens (there were goats too one year). We talk to the teachers in advance and ask if there’s any way we can tie in the tour and what we’re showing with what they learning in school: real world science, art, creative careers in film or video games, etc.

One of the first class tours was on a very hot summer day, with all the lights and air conditioning running full blast. There were about 20 kids (we learned quickly to cut that number by around 50%) and five adults. We had gotten to what was then the back of the barn and the boys all ran to the pinball/video game arcade and the girls—and I don’t mean to be sexist about this—moved as a group to the clothing area. And then it happened: Blackout! The circuits were pulling too much power and had overheated. Everyone remained calm as the Emergency Exit lights popped on and I was able to “trick” the circuit breakers into giving us another half hour of power…before it went dark again.

Steve Sansweet is owner and Executive Chairman of Rancho Obi-Wan, former Head of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm and contributor to, and previously the longest-running Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles.