Monday, July 21, 2008

A day at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science

Mondays are John's day off and we usually try to plan for an excursion of some sort. Today we decided to go down to the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science since the kids enjoyed it so much the last time we went and since they also had new exhibits and IMAX movies to see. We first went over to the Nature building where the Ice Age and Oceans exhibits were along with the fossil lab and many dinosaur skeletons, bones and fossils. Just as learning about art history helps you to appreciate priceless works of art in an art museum, so our recent learnings about dinosaurs gave the kids a much greater appreciation and wide-eyed wonder for all of the exhibits we saw today. It was really hard to keep the kids from running from one thing to another or yelling at the top of their lungs when they recognized something. It was a lot of fun.

Here is Christopher standing in front of the woolly Mammoth skeleton (Ice Age Exhibit) that was found in the Trinity River here in Dallas.

Here are Sarah and Christopher standing in front of a Mosasaurus skeleton (Oceans Exhibit). Christopher will be quick to correct you if you call this a dinosaur shark. It is NOT a dinosaur; it's a swimming lizard.

After we were finished at the Nature building, we headed back over to the Science building to see the Roving Mars IMAX movie, which was incredible. It really made you appreciate all the time, work, and painstakingly detailed research that went into making and testing the Mars Rover before it even left the earth. You even felt like jumping up and cheering along with the people in the video at NASA when the Rover successfully landed on Mars and started sending the first pictures of Mars ever. Very impressive and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

After the movie and scarfing down a packed lunch, we then explored the Science building exhibits.

Here, the kids were able to be a paleontologist for a day in a big sand pit that had several dinosaur bones scattered throughout. The pits are filled with paleontologist tools such as shovels and brushes to excavate the bones and measuring tape to examine them (see Christopher measuring a bone above). Funny, there were no hammers, picks or chisels...

Sarah carefully sweeps the sand off of this giant femur. Sarah's T-Rex t-shirt was on backwards, but she assured me that she liked it that way.

Above the sand pits stood this enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and the Quetzalcoatlus flying overhead. Sarah's favorite dinosaur is the T-Rex, so you can imagine how excited she was to see this up close. I pointed to it and asked her, "Sarah, do you know which dinosaur skeleton this is?" She looked up and started to say, "I don't kno..." and then gasped before proclaiming, "It's a T-Rex dinosaur!! Chri-o-fer! Wook! It's a T-Rex!!" I asked Christopher afterwards if the Quetzalcoatlus was a flying reptile or a Pterosaur, to which he said, "Mommy, they're the same thing." Oh...

This is a Triceratops skull that was sitting just on the edge of one of the sand pits. To get a sense of the size of this thing, you can see Christopher's head poking up just behind it.

I was resistant to let her in the sand pit, but Hannah was just dying to get out of the stroller. She could have cared less about the dinosaur bones but she had a blast since this was just a super-sized sand box to her.

I was hoping to avoid going downstairs to the children's museum, but unfortunately Sarah remembered riding the tractors the last time we came and insisted we do it again.

Here Sarah is dressed up like a fireman (or fire woman). They also have an area where the kids can dress up like bugs and crawl through an ant hill tunnel.

Firemen Christopher and Sarah at the wheel and Hannah in the background.

We were there from about 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Needless to say, we were thoroughly exhausted from such a fun-filled day and the kids were in bed well before 8:00 p.m.

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