Monday, December 1, 2008

Boston--Day Two...The Museum of Science

Today everyone but Matt slept till 9:00! (Hooray for hotel drapes, which make any hour of the day seem like midnight when closed! Matt had to get up early for his meeting; otherwise I am sure he would have been right there with us.) We got dressed and headed down to Starbucks, our traditional place for breakfast (and grand coffee!) where we had egg sandwiches and coffee cake. Then we headed out to the Green Line T to get to the Museum of Science. I'd misremembered that we could go there on just one train; I thought I'd remembered it being on the red line, but when the concierge told me it was on the green line, we decided to do it. The kids are enjoying the trains and I like saving the money on parking.

A small aside about the museums. While I love going to museums, I have a hard time with repetition, and although we are only in Boston once a year, the museums here had gotten somewhat tedious for me. It seemed that everything stayed the same year after year, and I had started to feel a well-worn path developing. We didn't go with Matt on this trip last year; so I was hoping that the breach would improve my feelings at going. I am very happy to report that at least at the Museum of Science, a lot has changed, so I didn't feel bored at all.

Another change for us was that we didn't bring a stroller! First time we have gone into a museum without a stroller since 1995, I might add! We simply stuffed our coats into a locker and went. And we had a glorious time. Some highlights:

The Omni theater show about dinosaurs was a huge hit! We have never gone into one of those shows because I was afraid to spend a ton of money and then have a small child terrified of the intensity. Because I got a membership to the museum, we had two free passes, which meant we only had to buy 3 children's tickets, so we went for it, and I did not regret it. The show was breathtaking and informative--it was a combination of information about paleontology and archaeology, with scenes of dinosaur life thrown in--and with scenes of the Gobi desert and the American Southwest, it was visually stunning. We all were sad to see it end.

We saw a chick actually hatch from an egg! This was the first time we'd seen the process completely (ironic since we have chickens of our own!) Our library hatches chicks every spring, but we don't ever get to see more than maybe a beak chipping at the eggshell. This was full-on, egg cracking, chick sliding out, panting on its back, having to garner its strength to stand up action! We also watched the white topped tamarins for a while--they are so cute it started the kids talking about monkeys as pets---um, yeah, they can forget THAT!

There was a wonderful exhibit on mythical creatures--dragons, mermaids and unicorns. I was a bit taken aback when we got to the entrance of the exhibit and were immediately accosted by a photographer...they were taking photos in front of a green screen that when printed made it look like a dragon was wrapped around you (and of course, you could purchase the package they had neatly bagged with a 5x7, 4x6, 8 wallets, a key chain and a magnet for a mere $20, but since we are members we would get 10% off....uh, no thanks!) The exhibit itself was fascinating and the kids especially loved the computer where they could create their own dragon and release it onto the screen to play with all the other dragons...

Julia's favorite was the butterfly garden, a greenhouse full of live butterflies. We saw many different varieties, and they landed on us at will, especially Julia who was dressed in pink from head to toe and looked like a flower! Emma was not as happy in there because they had to keep it hot for the butterflies (85 degrees, according to the guide) and she was wearing a velvet outfit! So after a while she sat on a bench near a small jet of cool air and watched as Julia and Ben exclaimed over each and every butterfly. We got to watch them eat fruit, sip from flowers and even from puddles of water on the floor. They ranged from the size of a quarter to the size of a large man's hand, and one owl butterfly (so named because of the spots on its wings that mimic an owl's eyes to keep it safe from predation) took a half hour ride on my purse! I don't know what he found so interesting--it is a brown leather purse, so not colorful like a flower, and with nothing to eat unless he could smell the gum residing inside!

We spent a great deal of time in an exhibit about the senses. Emma really liked a game where you squeezed plastic squirt bottles (like the ones ketchup is in at a diner) and put pictures of the scent near the bottle. She was very good at it, too--although I think the one they thought was grass scented smelled much more like flowers. I played the advanced level game, which combined three scents in one, and did pretty well, though the third scent sometimes eluded me. In general, there was always a very overpowering scent (like chocolate or coconut) which made it hard to identify the other two. Emma and Ben also enjoyed a game where they sat on opposite sides of a curtain and one would build a block tower and direct the other to build the same one, and then they'd check to see how close they were. I am proud to say that their rapport and listening skills made them get it correct every time!

And, of course, no visit to the Museum of Science would be complete without a trip to the children's playroom--though I am a bit sad to report that my kids are growing a bit too old for this place that we used to spend no less than an hour in each visit. They enjoyed watching a black chipmunk in the tunnel tank, and Julia, Ben and Emma played a pretend game of bees for a while (there is a giant plastic hive complete with cubbies to sit in and bee jackets to dress in, as well as pollen to collect and little bee puppets to play with) but since Rachel was bored there she convinced the kids that they really wanted to go see the chicks and monkeys!

So when we were tired and the museum was closing anyway, we headed to the gift shop, where we bought some postcards, small souvenirs for Rachel and Julia's good friends, a rocket model for Ben and silver frog necklaces with crystals on them for me and the girls--Rachel and Julia got green ones and Emma and I chose pink. They will be a sweet reminder of a lovely visit to the museum. We rode the T back to Copley in the middle of rush hour, met Matt and went to Legal Seafoods with some friends from the office, so all in all it was a wonderful day. More tomorrow!

--Jen

1 comment:

Dara said...

Ok, this was the first blog of yours i read. what a great critique! we love the butterfly garden. i am so sorry once again our "visit" was cut so short!! Next time you're in boston, you must spend some time at our house. we can go to Boston College (across the street from us) and the kids can play on the football field.