Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Museum mania

This morning the girls and I were having breakfast together just as Daddy was getting ready to head out the door.

"Hooray! No school!" I cheered. "What should we do today?"

"We can go to the pool if it gets hot," Rachel suggested.

"I'm not sure it's going to get hot today," I said. Fall weather is here already—today's high was forecast to be 73°F, which seems comparatively chilly. But all you have to do is look at the weather in Canada for 73° to look nice and balmy—it snowed in Pincher Creek today.

"There's the ML and S," Andrew said.

"The Museum of Life and Science?" Rachel said almost immediately. "Let's do that!"

"How'd you figure that out?" Andrew asked her.

"Because BYU means Brigham Young University," she said, rolling her eyes as if it should be obvious.

We can no longer spell to keep things secret. Now we can't use acronyms. What's left?!

My friend Emily pointed out that we could use pig latin. That will hold the kids off from decoding our secret conversations for a while. Perhaps it will even give use enough time to master a shared second language (our language skills don't have a lot of overlap, unfortunately).

So, Andrew left for school and the kids and I started to get ready for a day at the museum.

Rachel felt like it's been a long time since she'd last been there (and it has been), so she got to pick where to go first. She chose the dinosaur walk.

The park was relatively uncrowded today so the kids mostly got to do whatever they wanted to do without having to wait for turns or sharing or anything. Not that there's anything wrong with waiting turns or sharing. Sometimes it's just nice to do more doing and less waiting, that's all.

We spent quite a lot of time digging for fossils.

These two pictures are nearly identical but I can't help posting them both. Benjamin's faces kill me!

Here's Rachel showing off one of her fossils. "This is a fossilized shell, Mom. Seriously."

Here is Miriam straining under the weight of an overloaded sifting pan. She wanted to take all of these rocks home with us. I told her she could pick out a couple of nice fossils to take home—she selected two of her very favourite ones and carried them for about five minutes before tossing them on one of the museum's trails. "What?" she asked when I asked her why she threw her fossils away. "I just don't want them anymore."

Here's Benjamin showing off one of the rocks he found:

This is a pretty common face for Benjamin to pull. It's his "Whaddya mean __________?" face. In this case, it's his "Whaddya mean 'no throwing rocks'?" face.

Here is Benjamin getting serious with the shovel:

Benjamin probably would have been happy to sit in the fossil pit all day, but the girls had other ideas.

Rachel was hoping to see the bears (we didn't; they were in their cave or something) and Miriam wanted to show Rachel the new water station by the wetlands.

Rachel was excited to see the tadpole station since her class has been studying frogs.

Benjamin found the water to be almost as entertaining as the rocks (the table was a little too high for him, unfortunately, so he could only play while I was standing there holding him up).

We probably could have stayed there all day, too, though the girls had their hearts set on playing in the mist, so off we went again. We stopped by the lemurs before making another long stop at the boats so that I could nurse Benjamin and we could have a snack and the girls could play. Usually the sailboats are a hot item but today we were the only ones there!

The girls found sailing to be a little difficult (as did I), though they each managed to get a boat to go across the water and back.

I was happy when they retired to the small sail boats because that meant I could actually sit down for a minute.

I love this picture:

After getting their sleeves drenched at the sail boats, Miriam and Rachel were ready to get everything else drenched in the mists!

Those two girls ran around in the mists until they were soaked to the bone. Benjamin was a little less sure of the mist, though he did wander in a time or two.

Mostly he hung out with me, playing with wood chips on the sidelines.

They were so cold by the time they were finished that they were begging to visit the butterfly house in order to warm up. The butterfly house is a funny place because they keep it at 80°F, with 80% humidity year round. So sometimes it feels really warm and stuffy (on a crisp autumnal day like today) and sometimes it feels cool and refreshing (like the days in summer when it's over 80° and we have higher than 80% humidity). Today was definitely a day where the butterfly house was guaranteed to feel warm, so away we went.

The kids got sidetracked by the insectarium where we watched some hissing cockroaches molt. We also spent quite a long time watching the poison dart frogs, who had just been fed, hop around and catch their dinner.

Later, while we were watching the bees, Benjamin crawled off and found a book of butterflies, which reminded us why we were there in the first place.

We made it to the butterfly house just in time—they were getting to release the new butterflies! We've never been there for one of the butterfly releases so we didn't know exactly what to expect. It turned out being a lot more fun than I expected. They had all the newly emerged butterflies in a net/cage and gave a little lecture about the butterfly house and things.

When the lecturer said, "So come back and visit us when it's 20 degrees outside and you'll think the butterfly house feels nice!" I kind of blinked. I don't think it ever got to be 20 degrees outside last winter. Andrew and I talked it over and decided that perhaps he was using a bit of hyperbole—like when Robert Munsch says, "It was ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty below!" I mean, sure, it gets that cold...but it's really pretty rare.

Anyway, after a short lecture, we were each turned into a launch pad for a butterfly in honour of our state being "first in flight." Miriam was rather excited about her butterfly, at least at first.

Rachel was rather disappointed because her butterfly was an early bloomer and took off almost the minute it was placed on her hand. Mine would've liked to come home with us, I'm sure.

Because the butterfly house wasn't terribly busy, Rachel ended up getting a new butterfly to hold on her hand, which made her feel a bit better.

I know this picture is almost the same as the one before, but just look at Miriam's face. She's getting pretty sick of holding that butterfly and is wondering when it's going to fly away.

I reminded her that she had a butterfly on her arm and that she should look happy about it.

Benjamin was so distracted by all the butterflies—they were everywhere—that he could hardly decide where to focus. He was also rather exhausted by this point in the that might've also accounted for his inability to focus on anything.

Here's Rachel "smiling" for the camera.

Rachel was actually excited about holding a butterfly, but you can't tell from the pictures. Miriam, on the other hand, was feeling rather impatient to get rid of her butterfly. But you also can't tell that from the pictures.

When it started climbing up her arm like this, Miriam got really nervous about it.

"It's only a butterfly," were the words I tried to soothe her with. "It's not after little girls, just flowers."

"But my dress has flowers on it!" she moaned, as if her fate was sealed.

Death by butterflies. That's a new one.

Finally, here's one of Rachel looking almost happy about holding her butterfly:

And here's one that Miriam took of me after she went to one of the workers and asked them to make her butterfly fly away.

Here we are checking for hitch-hiking butterflies (since it's a federal crime to release the exotic butterflies into the wild).

I was so beat by this point in the day—we'd been at the museum for four hours—and I thought the kids would have been ready to go home, but instead they opted to spend some time at the playground, so we did.

Rachel's a crazy climber. She got up on this pillar all by herself!

On our way to the parking lot! I was so happy to leave—I was exhausted from carting all our supplies and pushing the stroller—but we still had a bit of a walk ahead of us since I always park in the overflow parking lot (because I'm usually one of few cars in the lot and that's my favourite way to park).

When we got home Rachel settled down on the couch with a book, Miriam took the blocks into her bedroom for some quiet time, and Benjamin (who took his nap in the car) and I went outside and did a bit of yard work. And when Daddy came home, he made dinner for us because he's awesome like that!

1 comment:

  1. My sister inlaw, as a small child, went into the butterfly house at the zoo with a hat covered in big fake flowers, she was swarmed. She is now terrified of butterflies. Which is somewhat hilarious to me. But I'm sure she could comiserate with Miriam.