Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Springs and Sprockets

The boys and I took our monthly trip to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham today. The main reason for going this time was to see the Holiday Springs and Sprockets exhibit. Regulars to my blog may remember that the boys and I first encountered Steve Gerberich and this exhibit last year. Joey fell in love with the machines and gadgets and came home drawing what he'd seen and coming up with his own machines. So, it was a must for us to go back and see this year's exhibit.

Let me say, that I was really impressed! We rounded the corner to room with the display and saw this wonderful train taking up a good part of the room. Johnny is still so into trains. His face lit up. He was thrilled. Joey was also fascinated by the machines again. I think he made the most comments on the candy cane factory machine (I'm sorry, I didn't write down the exact name and neglected to take pictures of the exhibit signs.) I took many pictures even bringing in my tripod so that I could make use of available light instead of using a flash. I really like some of the things I was able to capture. What you can't get from the pictures is all the movement going on, the delight of the children experiencing the exhibit, and all the sounds as the various move. It's quite a clatter. So, enjoy my pics, but then go visit in person if you can. The exhibit is open until 1/3/10.

Because of the rain and low temps today, we actually spent most of our visit indoors. That's pretty unusual to us. But, I'm very pleased to say that we were perfectly entertained doing inside things today. We spent a lot of time playing on the spinning table. I don't know what else to call it, but there's a disc even with the table surface that spins and you can try your hand at manuevering wooden wheels, tops, and balls across the spinning service. We were able to get wheels to 'ride' without the rest of the car. Way cool! We also spent time at what I'm going to call the Google Earth table. Wow! It's a round table that tilts and spins left and right. I was able to zoom in on downtown Raleigh and make out some of the Capital buildings. Wow! This new attraction was a hit with both the kids and their adults. The boys were getting frustrated with me because I wanted to play with the table too:-)

Both boys visited the Science Lab today where we learned about the various types of skin, fur, and feathers that animals use to stay warm in the winter. Unlike humans who have to put on sweaters and jackets, animals have built in warming systems. This lab invovled the use of microscopes. We even got to test out a higher powered USB connected computer one! The kids also made a coat for their 'animal' and participated in an experiment to see if their 'coat' would keep their animal warm. In other words, how fast would hot water get cold in a canister protected by their coat.

All fun stuff!

We saw the Chick-fil-A cow which is always a hit with the boys.

We even made it outside for a an hour midday and walked the Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind loop. We said hi to Ranger Greg and looked at tadpoles stranded on the wetlands shore by the swell of water that followed the recent heavy rains.

Most exciting of all during our outside time, though, was running into aniaml trainer Erin by Max the steer. She let the boys help give Max his hay. Johnny was giggling so loud as Max ate from him pile that it would have really warmed your heart if you heard it. Joey was pretty excited about the experience to, and always comes away from visiting with the animals thinking that he wants to work with them when he grows up. Cute. Thanks, Erin!

Like I said, many things to do at the museum summer or winter, outside or inside, and now is a particularly good time to visit with the Holiday Springs and Sprockets exhibit in town.

The best pics that I took today are here on Picasa and here on SmugMug.

One last note. We had hoped that Madi would be able to come with us today, but sadly she's got the cold crud that's going around and wasn't up to coming. Hopefully next trip. We missed her.