Friday, October 11, 2013

Greensboro Science Center

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The boys, Madi, and I went to the Greensboro Science Center today.  This was our first trip to this museum/zoo/aquarium.  It was kindof a combination of the NC Zoo, The Museum of Life and Science in Durham, the Natural Sciences Museum in Raleigh, and the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.  Wow!  We really enjoyed our day!

 By far, the newly opened SCIQUARIUM was the kids' favorite part.  Johnny and Madi were fascinated by the stingray 'touching area' at the Hands-On Harbor.  Joey loved the dome that allowed kids to be 'inside' the otter habitat.  We all enjoyed the Fishing Cat which we initially thought was an ocelot.  And it was super exciting to see the penguins swimming about with their little name tags.

We also thoroughly enjoyed the zoo area outside.  The tigers tried to mate while we were watching:-)  The wolves were active.  We got to see gibbons which are a near extinct species that we'd never seen before.  The kids were excited about the petting zoo too.  It was a casual 90 minute stroll on a cloudy but lovely fall day.

I was impressed that we were allowed to carry in a small fabric cooler wtih no harassment and that there were plenty of picnic tables in the zoo area to eat at.  The museum has a Fresh Market Cafe, but there was no pressure to eat there.

For some reason today, the kids were not very interested in geology or palentology today.  The older part of the museum has a very nice display of glowing rocks, fossils, and dinosaur bones, but I guess at this point, my kids have seen one dinosaur too many.

The only con to our visit was all the school groups there in the morning.  Just a bit crowded and sometimes large groups make any museum hard to navigate.  For any museum, I think it's worth seeing how many field trip groups are planning to visit on the day you're going.  Lesson learned although I think we would have gone anyway.

 We got in for half price today at about $6 a person.  The museum coordinates with our NC Zoo membership.  Cool.  The museum also has it's own membership which I'm sure is a good deal if you live closeby.  As it was, between a tank of gas and admission, our visit was a tad pricey even with bringing in our own food.

As we left, the kids were saying how much they'd like to go back.  I'm sure we will some day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Future Scientists

The boys and I went to the Nature Research Center, part of the Museum of Natural Sciences, in Raleigh on Tuesday.  They have several lab areas in the building where the kids can do hands-on activities.  In this lab, the students get to do various experiments.  Pictured, they are trying to decide if liquid A in the red container or liquid B in the blue container is iodine.  One is, and the other is just purple water.  They are told that iodine will turn cornstarch purple.  To do the experiment, they used a fancy mixer to mix cornstarch and water in two small vials.  Then they added liquid A to one vial and liquid B to the other.  Next, a centrifuge was used to separate the cornstarch from the water again.  Vial B still looked all purple, but in vial A just the cornstartch was purple indicating that liquid A was iodine.  Pretty cool!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Minecraft Creeper

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Let's face it, Joey is a Minecraft addict.  He talks about it at breakfast, on the drive home from school, and before bed.  Geez.  I do wish he was that excited about something more useful in life, but he's soon to be 11, and Minecraft is what excites him right now.  I don't know all the lingo, but I do know who the Creeper is.  Hey, why do these kids love this game of poor quality pixelated images?  I digress.  With Halloween coming up, I decided to help Joey make a Minecraft costume, and he chose the Creeper.  We found  a Kleenex box at Wal-Mart that was roughly a square.  I trimmed it down on the open end as needed.  Unfortuntely, it was about 13.75 inches wide and deep.  The Creeper has an 8X8 grid.  I decided to put a .75 inch border of black around the edges and then use 1.5x1.5 inch squares.  I tried to explain the math to Joey.  He did get that there were 64 squares per side.  I used my Creative Memories small paper cutter to make the squares, and Joey laid them out on a template and then affixed them to the box.  We used double sided tape and glue dots.  So far, we have done 2 sides.  3 more (including the top) to go.  We will be done in plenty of time for Halloween.  I'd love to get him a Minecraft foam Sword, but at $25 on Amazon, I think we'll be trying to make that too!

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This is a screen shot of Joey's Minecraft world.  He changed his skin to a Halloween theme today and was all the talk about it.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

M is for Mom And Maryann

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Taken for Donna's Alphabet Challenge for the letter M.  M is for Mom and Maryann at our house.  Donnie took these shots at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park on Thursday.  The kids always enjoy playing on this playground and in particular on the m-shaped play structure.

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Neither the SX40 HS or my iPhone took a very sharp picture.  Wishing I had put the camera into auto face detect mode for both shots.  The iPhone does that automatically.  Didn't seem to help much.  I guess the focus was just difficult for these shots with all the trees in the background.