31 October 2011

Hairy Dinos and their Fossilized Poop: Visiting the Lawrence Hall of Science

An eleven-day school vacation in the end of October is never easy... for the parents. Are we done yet?

I'm hanging in there!

Two more days. 

I feel like my brain is mush. The difficulty lies primarily in stringing together two coherent thoughts in a single sitting with four belligerent bossy active kids demanding my attention. We did luck out on the weather this past week, though, which saved my mommy-hide hugely. We got out of the house and did super fun stuff like visit the zoo, throw a football around, explore the Wild West, and take on the...

We pulled up to this place and were greeted by the sight of 7... yes, SEVEN... school buses. I instantly thought of the movie Madagascar, because almost everything that happens to me triggers some quote-index directly linked to kids' movies. Friday. Field-trip Day. Total mob-scene. 

Once the hundreds of field-trippers went inside, we had the outside attractions all to ourselves...more or less.

I know you're wondering...

After climbing around on the double-helix for a long time, 
they decided to play Whale Rider...

...and Whale Walker...

We rode the whale and climbed the DNA for a good 30 minutes or so, and then we braved entry. The changing exhibit this season is a dinosaur extravaganza. We were greeted by a life-sized Triceratops and her baby...

And there was a mini dino-dig where kids could practice their paleontological skills...

I cannot remember what sort of dino bones these were supposed to be. 
The matrix is not sand or gravel but a sort of chipped rubber... 
probably a lot easier to clean up and doesn't get in eyes or hair when thrown.

And who can guess what this is?
If you guessed...
then you're right!

Even juvenile T-Rexes were scary...

...but unlike their adult counterparts, they were also most likey hairy!

We seemed to be about an exhibit or two behind the field-trippers, which worked out well. I did get to watch some of the stragglers misbehave, as stragglers stereotypically are wont to do, and it took a lot of self-control to not do what the chaperones were supposed to be doing. But I held back.

We saw allllllll the dino stuff and then headed outside. 

This is my kids' favorite part of this place... because it involves water. It is a demonstration watershed management display. The kids use the white plastic rectangles to dam up parts of the waterflow. They can see how to divert water, how to increase flow through certain channels, what happens you make a dam... and get wet.

Another water-related first... no one went in this time. 

And probably because it is located a stone's throw a major fault, 
there are some really cool earthquake demonstrations
this was the only one that was visible because it wasn't teeming with kids

Back inside, Baby X loved this 'impressions' board...

And this is the thing I thought was the coolest...
You aim the open end of the drum, whack it with that big mallet, and the soundwaves strike those pieces of hanging fabric. They ripple and flutter. If you get the waves aimed just right, they pop a huge ripply circle in the floating banner. The visual is pretty spectacular.

We were there for about 2 hours. The older three kids had a blast. We had ditched Miss C at preschool for the day so even I got to have fun. (She is a fun kid, but I need to be constantly vigilant and deal with her flipping out tantrums when things do not go her way... she is two, after all). But it did feel good to get home, eat lunch and lay on the sofa. I needed to rest up for Sunday... and Preparing for the Rapture III!

It's coming ;-)


  1. your kids are so lucky -- sounds like the best 11-day vacation ever!

    I read your link to the rapture II -- I didn't know you were a fellow date-fueler! how's that working for you?

  2. You know what?

    ....never mind, I've got nothing.

  3. Love science museums. Such a geek! :) Lots of cool stuff!

  4. Your fossilized poop story reminded me of a class I took in college. I took a ton of geology classes, and one these classes involved the study of fossils. One day in lab we were asked to identify some coprolite. Our instructions were to tell what we thought the fossil was and the reason. Well, one of my labmates correctly identified the "what" and as for the why, wrote "because it is pinched at both ends." Ha-ha!


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