Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Harvard Museum of Natural History

Doesn't the title of this post make us sound a little "hoyty" and maybe a little "toyte"? Well although it sound like a very educated, serious place, we had a blast. Whats better than seeing a ton of real (stuffed) animals, the hugest rock (and mineral) collection I've ever seen, having a large staff of enthusiastic volunteers anxious to answer any question you (on your children) can think of, and having a billion hands on activities to go with it? Maybe doing all these things for a mere $4.00 per person (babies don't count as people). The libraries in Cambridge offer passes to a lot of the wonderful things to do around here. The passes allow you to go for a reduced price (often free)! So Saturday we decided to put our adventurous pants on and hit the museum.

Getting out of the house is always an ordeal, but eventually (after folding, sorting and putting away around 6 loads of laundry, cleaning the apartment, picking up the library pass, and dropping off a pair of Casey's shoes to be repaired) we made it.

Lucky for us it was an absolutely beautiful day (Bennett really didn't need that hat, but whatever).

We played outside in a nearby area for a while before going in. The squares the children are standing on look down into a building that is located under all the buildings and lawn we were playing on.

As usual we found a few treasures, several we were not aloud to keep (a hub cap and several miscellaneous pieces of garbage), and a few we were (a screw driver, a giant threaded piece of steal (pictured above), and even some boot leather from the shoe repair shop. Maya tried to sneak away with a little scrap of shoe leather and Casey told her she needed to return it (Elmer's don't steal). She took it back and the nice man told her she was a good kid, and he gave each of the kids a piece of shoe leather).

The little guy had a good time even though he was restrained.

Bennett had fun too, he just likes to sport a serious face.

Maya, on the other hand, doesn't own a serious face.

There was so much to see. The museum was having a special exhibit called 'Earth Rocks', and there was a huge room full of cases filled with every rock you can imagine. Some of the favorites were a 1600 lb. Amethyst (it was HUGE), diamond, and of course GOLD.

All the Geode and crystal type rocks were really cool. They looked like our rock candy (the one that turned out, not so much like the ones that failed).

I think each of the kids are thinking about starting their very own rock collection (just what we need around here, ANOTHER collection cluttering the place up).

This was a really cool exhibit of glass flowers. It was really amazing to thing every plant represented was a glass copy of the real plant.

Porter ran up to me and said "This place gives me the creeps", but I loved it.

Bennett may have been a little bored with it (I like to tell myself it's just because we made him skip his nap to come -he may be a scientist yet).

Are these two more human or more animal? I see a strong resemblance to the animals. I know little sis would much prefer being a Dino to being a human.

The kids got to grind up minerals to make their own paint. If you look above Maya you can see they had samples of what several of the different minerals looked like as paint. They even had gold paint!

I need to get me one of those grinding bowls.

Here they are being distracted from their paintings by the millions of other exciting things to see. I believe they were looking at a display of stuffed birds.

We forgot the baby carries (and it was not very stroller accessible), so daddy carried Chubs around for the day. He was adequately rewarded with kisses.

Bennett kept pointing to the placks, like he was leading a tour and telling us "If you just look here, you'll see that this specimen lived during the late Jurassic period."

The tour guide and his group of, less than enthusiastic, tourists.

There were lots of fossils to look at. This big slab had several sets of dinosaur foot prints. Porter told me that he thought the smaller set of foot prints was running from the bigger set, and probably got eaten.

The kids got to make their own fossils in a test tube. It was pretty fascinating stuff.

Bennett liked the little story corner where he just lounged around a looked at the story books.

Porter and the Rhino. I didn't get a picture of it, but when we first walked into the area, where all the animals were, Porter came running up to me acting all scared because there was a large cat display where there were tigers making growley faces.

Miles conked out on us (giving dad's arms a break), but look at that handsome Daddy. I sure love that guy.

Maya and the peacock. If you look close you can see some of the big cats behind her.

Bennett was "(s)'cared of the goat"

It may look like he is getting braver, but he's actually banging on the glass with his fossil test tube.

Digging for treasures. We stayed at this area for a long time, the kids had a blast. Also in this section a man showed us how to pan for gold (Porter wanted to try it out, but had to settle for sifting fun stuff out of the sand pool). This area also included a display about the conductive property of copper and the kids got to complete a circuit (using different object containing copper) to make a light bulb turn on.

This picture of Benny cracked me up! We were sitting in a little lecture hall where they were telling us about Volcano's. We were getting a little information before going outside to see a volcano experiment.

First they put mentos in a coke bottle and showed the kids how it shoots way up into the air. Then they had those huge trash cans filled with water, and dropped a bottle of liquid nitrogen into it, then they quickly dumped in a bucket of grass seeds and moved back. The nitrogen exploded sending grass seed and water raining down on everyone. Then they did the experiment again instead of pouring in grass seed, they poured in a bucket of candy. When it exploded we felt like we were in the land of Chew-and-Swallow, and commenced collecting food from the ground.

Porter and Maya were the first kids to cross the line and start scavenging for candy.

Here they are showing off their stash of goodies. We may pass on pinatas from now on and opt for a candy Volcano!


Karen said...

What a fun day at the museum. I loved catching up on your blog! Wish we lived closer!!! Miss you guys!

Kathy said...

What fun! Next week I will be there having fun with you guys. If we get all of our work done maybe we could do a fun museum (but not leaves and rocks). Love you guys

Sarah Harward said...

SO COOL! I don't have anything else to say, but SO COOL!! (oh, and I wish I was there too!)

Elaine said...

What a fun day. I want to make a candy volcano. I love that picture of Bennett looking bored when your'e at the lecture hall. Next time I come visit I'll bring you your own 'mineral grinder' all the way from Zambia!

Jims said...

Haha, these pictures are great. I hope I get to come visit you in Boston this summer!

Angela said...

Candy Volcano! Museum! Benji would be in heaven right there with your kids. Wish we could visit.

Peggy and Jeff said...

My goodness that looks like the funest day in the whole world!! I want to see the candy volcano rain candy down on everyone! I wish we could be there and have Bennett give us our own guided coooooool!