Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sisyphus, Orchids and John Wayne

 Wednesday we visited the Myriad Botanical Gardens and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. There was also a brief walk around Bricktown for lunch, because we were right there, and why not?

At the Botanical Gardens the kids enjoyed the (free) outdoor Children's Garden as much or more than the huge Crystal Bridge greenhouse. It was lovely, but if I had known that's what the tickets were for, I think we might have just enjoyed walking around the outside paths and looked up tropical and desert plants when we got back home.

The Children's Garden was less garden and more playground, but as you can imagine, that was just fine with the kiddos. If we'd wanted a little extra culture, we could have hung around and listened to a Shakespeare in the Park production that was getting ready to start in the outdoor amphitheater. I thought maybe we were already pushing it with culture for the day, so we kept on walking.

We drove over to Bricktown for lunch, and were delighted to see that Wednesdays are $5 lunch day at the Spaghetti Warehouse. When you've been eating at museum cafes for a few days, a $5 lunch sounds like an amazing deal.

We walked along the canal for a bit, pausing to get a couple of very important pictures- you know, the kind of pictures that every third tourist probably takes. Specifically, this one:

In case you can't tell, the kids are trying to help this man roll a big stone ball up a metal incline. They didn't succeed. We did have a nice lady offer to get my picture with them, so there is now one more piece of photographic proof that I was along for the trip.

We ended our Wednesday with a trip to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which I (perhaps stubbornly) insist on calling the Cowboy Hall of Fame. I got it in my head as kid, and I just can't change it now. I think that means I'm getting old.

They have built a wild west town, Prosperity Junction, there in the museum, complete with low lighting and sound effects. The flash from my camera makes these pictures look an average room, but the mood was actually much more like an evening outside when a thunderstorm is about to roll in from the west.

There were about 15 separate buildings, from a railroad station, to a mercantile, to a saddle shop. We pretended to learn in the school, listened to Mim read a 'sermon" in the church, and had a poker/go fish game in the saloon. The kids really entered into the spirit of the place. Zaya pretended to purchase from or otherwise transact business with the imaginary people in every locale.

We also visited an interactive room with costumes, saddles and a little log cabin. Zaya is holding his "six-shooters" that he bought in Prosperity Junction. Why? I have no idea. He also pretended to shoot Indians, which is certainly not something he learned from me. We decided to make it pumas. It's not politically correct, but at least it's not genocide.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let's All Do Science

Tuesday we visited the Science museum, which was the favorite destination of both children. This was partly because we were one of very, very few families who decided to spend the day playing at the museum. I love being able to take our field trips whenever we want to do so. There were no lines for the more popular exhibits, and plenty of opportunities to participate at the shows and demonstrations.

The Segway, which was Miriam's favorite exhibit/ride, had no lines. They could just run over and ride the course whenever they felt like it. I think they each rode it five times. Luckily they don't realize that Segways are commercially available, so I haven't had to deal with any begging. (They are still commercially available, aren't they? Seems like there was something...")

Mim loved the Sand Art wheels. They spin, and you can design the sand in patterns. She spent a significant amount of time doing this. I don't mind so much, except all the "Mommy, look!" moments made me feel a little dizzy.
We took some time to go through the "Whodunit" exhibit and solved a murder using clues like fingerprints, DNA, and eyewitness reports. Yes, it was a little strange to see my children closely inspecting a corpse in an alley and then watching his autopsy in a nearby "lab".

They rode on a flight simulator, did a practice "crashdown" in the Apollo pod, climbed on a treehouse and in a "geometry playground", waited for a geyser, heard a bottle full of liquid nitrogen explode, felt an earthquake, made toroid rings in water and out of water vapor, and on and on and on. We were there seven minutes after they opened, and left fifteen minutes before they closed, and they would happily return if I didn't have our days packed for the rest of the week.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Watch Your Fingers

I took the kids to Oklahoma City for a week of field trips, and we started at the zoo on Monday. This was to avoid hearing, "Mom, when are we going to the zoo?" all week. We made a point to visit every special exhibit, which meant we walked, and walked, and walked...

We paid about as much for a quick snack for the giraffes as we did for our lunch. (Not quite, but close) It was worth it, though, to see this guy. Who knew the male's horns were so incredibly knobbly? I sure didn't. Both kids fed the giraffe, but Zaya got what he insists on calling his "sample of giraffe spit." It sounds like each kid was given a vial to take home, but he's referring to a particularly enthusiastic lick.

Mim particularly can't seem to resist all the bronze animals. I have pictures of her at all ages with these animals, so that in itself ought to make an interesting post someday when I get back to my own computer. There are many more pictures of her hugging, riding on or in some way participating with bronze animals, but here are a couple
This one looks like Mim has made friends with the lions, and Zaya has turned them into his evil minions. I don't know where the poses came from...

Not sure what she's holding....carrot? stick?
I guess the gorilla's snack looked tasty.

We went to "Stingray Bay" and  paid our little pound of flesh to pet stingrays. The kids really enjoyed it, right up to the moment when a stingray mistook Mim's cute little finger for a bit of shrimp. The very sweet lady next to her assured her that stingray's don't actually have teeth; it's just a bony plate. That didn't actually help much, but then she told her that they call them "kisses" instead of "bites", and that she herself (the zoo worker) had been "kissed" just a few minutes before by a stingray as well. Mim muttered a few things like, "Sure didn't feel like a kiss," but she otherwise recovered quickly.

We went to see the Lorikeets, but Mommy didn't pay for the little cup of "nectar" that must be made from the very best flowers that grow only in one tiny part of the Rift Valley if it's really worth what they're charging. (And anyway, we had just fed the giraffes the most expensive salad I've seen.) They each got a bird to sit on their finger for a while, and Mim got a little nip. She must be pretty tasty. It's a good thing the lion cage was farther back.
I think Zaya looks like he's just conjured this Lorikeet out of thin air. Presto ! Change-o!

This is the time of year when the Monarchs are passing through Oklahoma on their way down to the big family reunion in Mexico. We spent a while with official zoo-sanctioned nets in the butterfly garden, trying to help them catch and tag a few. We saw a lot of Golden Fritillaries and Skippers, but weren't able to bag a Monarch. Except these two. I got to take them back home with me.
Grandma T had joined us at the zoo by this time, and we enjoyed visiting with her for the last couple hours of our day. We figured we walked about five miles on the little roads and paths of the zoo. Now, on to the rest of the City!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Snacking, Peruvian Style

Mim decided that she wanted an Incan snack today. I do not know why, so don't ask. We were sitting by the creek, watching crawdads and wondering about the snake she saw yesterday. Do water moccasins live in the left-over puddles of run-off creeks? Were those fast-moving shadows minnows, tadpoles or crawdads? (The answer was C.)

She suddenly said, "Mom, I want a snack."

"OK, what would you like?"

"I'd like something Incan."

" what?"

"I don't know. What did the Incans eat?"

So she wasn't hungry for a particular food, she was hungry for something that might've been eaten by a specific ancient civilization. I'm not clear how one gets a craving for a time period/ culture, but I suppose I've found myself in the mood for Mexican or Chinese food.

 I told her fruit was always good for an "ancient snack", but that wasn't what she wanted, so we looked up "Inca food" in Google. We also researched "snakes southern Missouri" while we were at it, because I wanted to know that my daughter wasn't trying to make friends with a cottonmouth. (She's not. It's a slider.)

We eventually settled on popcorn and quinoa, since we didn't have any guinea pig or llama in the house. I don't think we could've found any at Wal-mart either, so the choice was fairly obvious, but it's always more acceptable if Mim feels like she got to decide.

She and Zaya have both now had their Incan snack, scattering various bits of grain around my kitchen in the process. I'm not sure if that was a learning experience or not, but they've both had a good healthy snack anyway, which is something.

Now to start school. Who wants to do math when there are Incan snacks to consume and water-life to watch?