Most kids have been out of school for weeks but we’ve got until next Thursday at 11:50 before our kids are free. There’s a teacher that has it down to the hour and I think most of the kids are with her in that they are done. Done. Done. Done. Once they have their freedom, though, the next question will be “What are we going to do today?” and if you’re a Mom, you are already dreading that first rainy spell when you have no answer. That’s when you need to search out your local science museum and spend a day having fun and learning, just don’t let them know that last part.
The Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts recently hosted a free family preview day for their newest exhibit called Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries. It had been awhile since I’d taken my girls down to the museum, so we packed up the family and drove into the city first thing on Saturday morning.
My first grader had just finished a dinosaur unit in school and could not wait to see what this was all about, but my third grader was already acting like a jaded teenager who was so beyond dinosaurs. I was a bit nervous about how it would all go, but within minutes, I discovered dinosaurs really are cool no matter your age.
There were plenty of full-size skeletons to gape at including one made out of metal that was a source of fascination for everyone. At the other end of the spectrum was a teeny, tiny T-Rex hooked up to a sort of treadmill so you could see how these guys actually moved. Pushing a button would slow him down or speed him up and gave a great sense of how these huge creatures lumbered around the planet.
The best part of the entire exhibit though, was something that reminded me of my grade-school book report days and the many dioramas I created inside empty shoe boxes. Okay, this was a bit bigger, stretching from floor to ceiling and holding a large group of people but still, dioramas are the stuff of my childhood and this was a darn cool one.
It had sound effects so suddenly you weren’t standing in a museum, you were in a forest with insects and birds and dinosaurs roaring in the distance. Prehistoric birds flew around tree trunks that disappeared into the ceiling and if you crouched down you could see into long gone lakes filled with fish and lizards. My kids loved discovering all the details in the amazing display and so did I.
After finishing with the dinos, we headed out into the museum to explore the permanent exhibits. The kids ran out of energy and the museum was ready to close before we finished because there was just so much to investigate. Now, you might think this is a bad thing, missing out on some really great stuff, but I think it’s a very good thing. This means the Museum of Science can sit at the top of my list for that first rainy summer day. Consider adding a science museum to your list, and get ready to explore!