Monday, February 27, 2012

The Science of Fun

A little while back we decided to take the family to The Museum of Science and Technology. We weren't sure if it would hold the children's interest, but thankfully the loved it! Growing up I always looked forward to visiting this museum in particular. It was the one where you could push buttons, look through a periscope, and of course, walk through the crazy kitchen. It also had a big rocket on the front lawn! For a kid, that was a major seller. So was exploring all the trains and imagining that, at night, they chugged around the museum all on their own. It was lots of fun and I was eager to share these experiences with my own kids.

There have been a lot of changes since I was a youngster, but all the favorites are still there. Miss. A loved looking at all the old trains. She was amazed at how much bigger they are in person. I told her they were old steam trains, for the most part, and one day if we were lucky we might get to ride in one. "Like Thomas?" I wonder how many times that question has been asked here? Probably more times a day than I can count.  We explored them inside and out. Even Baby K seemed interested in everything. Of course Mom and Dad compared it all to what we remembered when we were young. Yep, those trains are still huge! 

One of the things I noticed that had changed, and for the better, was that at each of the exhibits there were elements that would appeal to kids too. Of course every little scientist is going to enjoy tearing through the crazy kitchen, but some of the other exhibits may not hold their attention for too long. So I was really happy to see that children were being thought of when designing some of the other more "adult" aspects of the museum.  There were hands on elements to everything at the there. Lots of make believe from paddling a canoe to driving mining equipment and even dressing up and getting your photo taken with an antique camera.  All these things and many more in addition to the childhood favorites we remember.

Miss. A and I putting together a canoe puzzle. Be quick! If you're not fast enough it resets.

 No matter which route you took, you would find yourself it the children’s section about halfway through your trip. This was a great opportunity for the kids to get out and have some free play time. They can only be on their best behavior for so long before they get a little edgy. Here they could explore the crazy kitchen, play with blocks or dress up. Baby K loved playing with the puppets. There were also other fun exhibits that seemed geared toward allowing the little ones some hands on exploration. Playing music and watching the sounds waves on a screen above, riding on a snowmobile, and one thing I remember from my past was there with a slight modification. In my day we watched a ball baring slowly circle a hole, gaining speed, and then disappearing down it like down a drain. That's still there, only now you insert a coin and watch it disappear. Curses! Oh well, I hope they like rolling pennies because I bet that's all they get.

After we pried Miss. A away from the crazy kitchen, we continued on. We saw vintage cars, learned about the Earth and Moon, played with machines that made light bulbs glow and drove a big mining truck! There was a space ship to explore, mission control to man and holograms to amaze little eyes. We literally spent the whole day there and we STILL had more to look at, but alas it was close to dinner time and we had to leave. We'll just have to go back again. Oh, twist our rubber arms!

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