Friday, February 6, 2009

Natural History Museum Visit

After speech therapy, the boys and I headed to the Natural History Museum to make good with our new Happy Hollow passes. The whole way there Aleks asked complicated questions about snakes and neanderthals. His barrage of query did not let up the whole time we were there either. I had to keep speed reading all the signs and labels to tell him about almost everything in the entire museum. It was a whole new experience.

What are these compasses?
Well, they're not compasses, they're sundials, though looking at them, they do appear to have compasses on them, presumably for pointing out which way to stand to tell the time. I didn't get so far as to explain that they were for telling time before he was on to the next thing.What are these? This in the solar system - the planets where we live. What is this on this one? Well that's Saturn. Saturn has rings which are really thin, like paper, I think, and are composed of rocks and dust and gasses.
How about this one? This is Jupiter. It's the biggest planet in our solar system.
What are these things? These are Jupiter's moons. Jupiter is named after a Roman God and these are his conquests. Except the moons are named after Greek mythology, so they would have been his conquests were he Zeus, which he's just the Roman equivalent of. Um... that may be more than a six-year-old cared to know. I think he was satisfied with, "These are Jupiter's moons."
What's this? The near-side of the moon in bronze.
This is the far side of the moon. Or as Pink Floyd called it, The Dark Side of the Moon.
The cobra was perfect as there had been lots of talk of cobras due to Indiana Jones.
The museum changed the lion display to showcase a leopard hunting a gazelle.
It's a pretty awesome display and the kids felt so too.
What's that? Those are Native Americans. Why are there rocks in that? They're building a boat and they need the rocks to hold it in place. I bet we could make a boat out of bark, do you think so?
Look! A mammoth! What's that one? That's a mammoth over there, this is a, um, it's a Mastodon. What's a mastodon? Well, it's a heavy metal band. It's also like an elephant only furry, so like a mammoth, but not woolly, just a little furry.
The dinosaur skeleton exhibits also changed as the T. Rex was added to the permanent collection. Now the Triceratops and the T. Rex square off.
Since we got there so late in the day, the Discovery Center was already closed, but we went to look at the Gems and Minerals gallery. I thought Aleks would dig it since he seemed really into checking out jewels last summer. He ended up not being too terribly fascinated by the semi-precious stones, but the amber with the insects stuck in it was interesting. We kept looking at different types of crystals for awhile. I found the wide variety of crystal forms fascinating.
The kidney ore looks like some prop from a sci-fi movie.

We spent a long time talking about plate tectonics and earthquakes and volcanoes in relation. Aleks was just an unending array of questions about everything, leaping wildly from subject to subject as things caught his fancy.

Just as we were coming to Space, Bastian, I swear, said "meteor" and pointed to these. Which are not in fact meteors, but which are mistaken for meteors and the plaque beneath them says "meteor." It was quite strange and he ran off for some interactive computer activity almost immediately, so I could ask no further questions.
On the way out, we put coins in the vortex as we always do. Just then we noticed a brain puzzler display in the special exhibit room. We had three minutes left in which we completed but one puzzler.

While walking to the car, the boys insisted on spending some time climbing the stegosaurus statue outside. The setting sun and clear skies provided nice light for picture taking, so I got a bunch...

Aleks was wearing his Obama button hat. A friend at Lego Club had one, so when the grandparents sent their campaign buttons, Aleks attached them to one of the Zissou hats.

I even took a few photos of me, since not many of those exist these days.
It had been warmer in the sun during the day, but the encroaching dusk dropped the temperature significantly.
Bastian was quite upset that Aleks and I walk faster than he does. I waited, but he whined
the whole
way over.

1 comment:

The Stewart's said...

Alex does a museum like Dave does museums - widely jumping from one exhibit to another.