Friday, December 10, 2010

Field Trip Friday: The Carnegie Museum of Natural History

A few weeks ago we spent a wonderful morning in Oakland with the kids at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, taking in the massive fossils of Diplodocus, Tyrannosaurus rex, and their buddies from the Mesozoic Era. This was the first Field trip Friday that Daddy was able to come along on, and it's altogether possible that he had more fun than the kids. The incredible size of these beasts is really quite amazing... it's fun to imagine what it must have been like when they pounded across the Earth.

Sam, our resident animal lover, was entranced. He raced from one giant skeleton to the next, exclaiming (loudly) over each one in turn. His favorite, of course, was the Mastodon, the ancestor of his beloved elephant. We spent lots (and lots) of time running back to the Mastodon and marveling (loudly) at the size of his tusks.

Chloe is our little observer. She enjoys things more fully when she has spent a lot of time learning about them before she's presented with them in all their glory. In that way, she's so much like me. I think she was a little confused, trying to figure out the purpose of looking at giant sets of bones belonging to animals that no longer exist, and haven't for some time. "Where is their skin?" she asked me as we walked into the first room. Before we go again we're going to spend time reading library books and looking at the museum's website so that she can focus on one or two particular exhibits and go armed with information about them. We've found that when we do this her learning experience is much more meaningful to her.

Max is our irrepressible Huck Finn, always on the lookout for the next foray into toddler adventure. After about five minutes of checking out bones, he demanded to know where the "Dino Playground" was and precisely when we would be going there. I'm not sure where he got the idea that the museum housed a wonderful playground full of dinos and slides, but he continued demanding that we take him to this imaginary place until we were finally able to change the subject by presenting him with pizza and chocolate pudding in the museum cafeteria.

By far the kids' favorite part of the morning was playing in the Bonehunter's Quarry, an interactive exhibit for kids in which they are given goggles and tools and allowed to "dig" for fossils like the paleontologists. It was a relief after so many "Don't touch!" reminders to be able to let the kids dig and pound to their hearts' content.

"Any of our days God touches are transformed with the light and joy of His presence."
Phillip Keller

Until the next adventure...

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