Thursday, August 18, 2011

Exploring the Boston Museum of Science

For this week's Exploration (a.k.a. Science) Day, I planned an exciting field trip to the Museum of Science in Boston. Armed with a map of the exhibits, reserved library pass, and a willing Grammy to navigate the crazy streets of Boston, we were ready to learn.

The adventure didn't start out so well. First, it took half an hour to install Lydia's car seat in my mom's new car. Once we were finally loaded up, we began the hour long ride to Boston. It wasn't until we were nearly all the way there that I realized I had forgotten to pick up the library pass! We had come too far to turn around now, but without the coupon pass, I knew admission would be outrageous. To add to the excitement, the museum parking garage was full, so my mom dropped the children and me off at the door while she followed directions to park two blocks away.

In the meantime, I asked the two employees at the Information Booth if there was any way they could call my library and get the pass information over the phone. The answer was no. I checked out regular admission prices, and sure enough, just for two adults and two children over 3, we were looking at spending $80 - not exactly the $20 I had planned to shell out with my library pass! I went to the ticket counter and asked my question of the agent there. She said it might be possible; I would have to go over to the Membership Desk. I pulled my three camo-clad children away from swinging on the bars and we hiked toward the membership desk. The woman working there again told me no, there was nothing they could do; they needed the physical coupon in order to give me the discounted price. I was unsure what to do when the man behind the counter spoke up. If my library would agree to mail them the pass, they could let me in. My cell phone was (of course) dying, but the man was kind enough to call the library himself, and thankfully some obliging librarian agreed to mail the pass to the museum. Thank you Lord! With a coupon in hand, we went back to the ticketing line (which was now quite long), quickly confirmed with my mom that yes, we could get in, so she could go ahead and park, and I purchased our $20 worth of general admission. We sat down to eat our packed lunch in the atrium, and by the time we were finished, Grammy met us there, and we were ready to finally explore the museum.

Knowing that the museum is huge, I had spent some time researching online and asking a friend's opinion about the best exhibits to see. I knew we would be steering clear of the Human Evolution and Human Body exhibits, and my boys already know - since we are firm believers in a young earth - to dismiss anything that claimed to be millions of years old. With so many exhibits to see, we also didn't find it necessary to add on the optional Omni Theater, Planetarium, or Butterfly Garden tickets. However, we did make sure to see one of the free Live Animal Shows. The children got to get close to a toad, uromastyx lizard, ball python, rats, and a pretty cute porcupine, and had the opportunity to ask the experts all their questions.

Watching the Live Animal Show

After that, we explored A Bird's World (with lots of pretend birds in glass cases) before checking out the fascinating Audiokinetic Sculpture and other neat displays. We just talked about water wheels last week!

Making scary faces at the petrified wood from Arizona:

We thought we would take a quick walk through Natural Mysteries, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip, with all kinds of treasures tucked in drawers for the children to find. Hayden loved this computer game that identifies skulls. Here he is with the deer skull - we thought hunter Daddy would be proud!

Lydia and me (and baby belly!) with the big "stuffed animals." That was once a real tiger!

Moving on to the Dinosaurs, we got to stand next to the remains of a real triceratops!
Lydia and Hayden both enjoyed pressing buttons on the various computer games, while Donny was more interested in the actual information, such as how big dinosaurs were compared to humans.

After a quick walk past the train and boat models in Machines and Transportation, we grabbed a snack and moved on to the Discovery Center. Intended for children under age 8, this was like a miniature version of the big museum, reminiscent of our small local children's museum. All three children remained engrossed for a good hour in imaginative play, sorting rocks, assembling and identifying animal skeletons, and even playing dress-up with some animal costumes.

Here are Hayden and Lydia being geologists - Donny was too busy classifying rocks to pose for a picture!

Next, we went To The least in our imaginations. Here everyone is ready for takeoff in the spaceship!

It could have been a full trip without ever setting foot on the third floor, but we ventured up there to play around in Science in the Park, which probably would have been a lot more fun if it hadn't been jam-packed with older children. My little ones had more fun at the empty Investigate! exhibit next door, where they got to use paintbrushes to uncover hidden artifacts. Ironically, we just did a similar activity a few weeks ago when we pretended to be archeologists and dug up artifacts hidden by the lake at Grammy's. A few of the buried items there, however, were never found!

By the time we had checked out the bizarre paintings and optical illusions in Seeing is Deceiving, the announcement came that the museum would be closing in 15 minutes. I was amazed that we ended up spending about 6 hours in the museum, without anyone getting bored. While Donny demonstrated the most fascination with various subjects, Hayden and even Lydia remained engaged the whole time. As we walked the two blocks back to my mom's car, the boys recounted their favorite parts of the museum, while Lydia, after a long day of scientific discovery, fell asleep in Grammy's arms. Despite the rough start to the day, our field trip to the Museum of Science turned out to be a worthwhile adventure, as we discovered all kinds of fascinating things about the amazing world God made!

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:16-17

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