Saturday, August 08, 2009

Maryland Science Center

Went to the Maryland Science Center today. That was pretty much was an all day activity.

We ended up getting a year long pass since the cost was only about double the cost to get in. Plus it allows access to any of the various science museums (of which there is one in Richmond). While we were waiting on Ginger to get the passes, the kids played with these dishes. There are two of them spaced on opposites of a large room. If you talk into it the sound is bounced and reflected to the other dish (a highly sophisticated tin cans connected by string basically). It was actually pretty impressive how clear you could hear someone even over top of all the other noises in the room.

The whole point of getting there early was to see one of the planetarium shows (one about the sun). Admittance into the planetarium shows is included in the entry fee, and this particular show about the sun is only done once a week or something whereas the other shows they do daily and various times during the day. We did go see another show later in the day about the sky, but I sort of slept through most of that one.

Outside the planetarium is a room with a globe that has images projected onto from four corners around the room. It shows various aspects of Earth in various states.

Over by the restrooms they have a blacklight area. Which looks a lot cooler in person that it does in pictures.

This was an exhibit that described various types of cells in the body and it used shadows you created on the screen as navigation input. I think it took us about three minutes before we managed to crash it. The sad thing is we came back by later in the day and it was still in this state. I looked around for a power cord or something to reboot it, but I'm guess the actual box is in a separate secured area.

We met up with Ken and Amanda there also. Once they arrived the kids immediately wanted to go to the kids "hands on" area. The nice thing about this area is there are a lot of activities the kids can do, and it's all in a secure where the kids can't leave without an adult, so that meant nap time!

Even though Ginger got that picture of me I never actually really fell asleep. Although I'll admit it wasn't from lack of trying. Something about that many kids running around all screaming and making noise sort of makes sleeping difficult (although I gave it the old college try).

We ate lunch in the food court area (we brought food for Catherine in case you were wondering). The entire time during lunch we kept hearing noises coming from somewhere above us (the above floors had an open balcony looking over the food court). These were not noises I would call pleasant. But after lunch Catherine and Amanda went outside where there was a bubble demonstration and the kids did that for a while.

After that we went up to the second floor where we found the source of the strange noises we heard at lunch. It was an exhibit that described the various digestive processes. In addition each digestive activity had a can they could touch which would play a sound bite of said digestive process (vomiting, burping, etc). All the various kids would literally sit there and replay these sounds over and over again (this is what we had been hearing below during lunch). Take a wild guess which one Quinn kept pressing.

Next up was a visit to the water lab. This was an area that let the kids do some scientific type mixing of chemicals and what not. In this particular instance they were combining stuff to make something akin to silly putty. If we go back again we might have to spend more time in this lab as there were three or four other experiments that they could do that we didn't try.

In the area outside the water lab there was a section that had pictures of optical illusions. You know the ones where if you look at it differently you can see two different pictures or something. Or ones that showed how object's relative sizes could appear to be affected by surroundings. Most of them were pretty easy to figure out, but I never did figure out what I was suppose to be seeing in this one above. Anyone want to clue me in on what I was suppose to be seeing?

Next the kids visited the dinosaur area. Catherine absolutely loved "digging" for the dinosaur fossils. Whereas Quinn initially was interested, but immediately got bored and moved on to something else.

The something else was a tornado simulation machine in the next room.

After all was said and done we left and stopped by a Rita's ice that happens to be just down the pier from the museum. Unfortunately we stood in line for what fely like 20 minutes before getting to the front to realize their mixing machine was broken and they had no Mistos and no Blendinis. So on the way home Ginger used the iPhone to locate another Rita's on the way and we took a small detour to indulge our Rita cravings. By the time we finally got home it was well after dark, so it really was a full day.

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