Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heroes and Villains at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham

The kids and I went to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham today for their special Heroes and Villains event. If you like Star Wars, want to know how they choreograph light saber scenes, and are interested in the sound and visual effects that go into making movies like Star Wars, this event is for you!

The highlight for the kids was posing with various Star Wars characters like Darth Vader and Princess Leia. I think I managed to get their picture with all the characters at the event today. None of the kids were scared of the characters, and all the characters did a great job encouraging the kids to come visit and standing for picture after picture to the delight of all the kids.

We did all of the typical things we do when we visit the museum too. The kids enjoyed the playground area and caboose. We visited with our farmyard friends. The museum had put up new color signage in the farmyard stating the name, weight, and type of animal, etc. Nice! We walked the Catch the Wind/Explore the Wild loop. To my delight, I got to take very up close pictures of a great blue heron and of a green heron. I even caught both of them going under for fish and coming up with a small fish in their mouths. I was so thrilled about the pictures I was able to take of these cooperative birds today!

I worked on taking picutures that convey movement today too. I was able to capture some great movement in the 'music' room by not turning on my flash. Also, on the train, I was able to catch the kids still but movement 'out the window'. The forest leaves made a lovely splash of moving green light.

Looks like there are going to be some spooky events in October, so I look forward to going back again with the kids real soon.

The best of today's pics are here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What I Learned

The family went to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh today. We've been to this museum many times over the past years...even before the boys were born to see the dinosaur fossils when the museum was in the old location. What surprised me today was that I thought I'd seen everything but I still learned several things.

So, what I learned...

1. NC has the most types of fungus in North America. Think mushrooms.

2. It's natural for butterflies to land on green leaves if they are laying eggs vs. eating. It's also natural for butterflies, especially males, to land on the ground to look for minerals and sodium.

3. Bees have pollen pouches on their legs, and they return to the hive with the pouches full so they can deposit the pollen. We saw this in action in the Discovery Room.

4. More bricks are made in NC than any other state in the country. Thank the red clay.

5. That different species of Whelk have shell openings on the left or right.

6. Chocolate tastes good. Oh, that's right, I already knew that. But, Chocolate - The Exhibition is visiting the museum right now.

The rest of the pics are here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Noah's Landing

The boys and I went to Noah's Landing today. This place is only a few miles form my house, but if my friend Andrea hadn't mentioned it to me, I never would have known about it. We had such a fantastic time, that I wanted to definitely blog about it to get the word out.

You can look at the best pics from today here.

They were having a special event this weekend, so there was BBQ, bluegrass music, and the NC Wildlife Rescue Center from Sandford was setup with some of their rescue birds. Plus, they had their usual, but far from ordinary, animals too!

My highlight was the birds from the rescue center. I keep looking for hawks an owls in the wild for great pics, and here they were for me to see up close and personal. All of them are rescues. They wouldn't fair well in the wild, so I think it's great that we get to enjoy them and learn from them in person.

Joey's highlight was the hedgehog. Think Sonic:-) He could not get enough of petting and trying to hold those guys. Joey was really into everything animal. He touched the alligator and opossum. He asked questions. He was gentle. The volunteer staff really seemed to enjoy his enthusiasm.

Johnny seemed to really love the horses and rabbits and doggies in and around the property. Feeding carrots and gently petting were his favorites.

There was a bounce house that the boys went crazy in when no one else was in with them. Joey also made a snowman craft with beans and a suncatcher craft with a CD and glitter. Imagine Joey and glue and glitter:-)

We also saw a skunk, sloth, tortoise, porcupine, pig and more. And, we touched most of them! How cool was that?!?

We'll go back for sure, and if you get a chance, take a drive over and see for yourself. It looks like they have their next special event on Halloween weekend. Great to go when extra volunteers are onsite for lots of hands-on learning.

Andrea, thanks for the tip! Made our weekend...