Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best Gift

Every year when prompted for gift ideas, we ask for memberships for local museums for our family. I love these gifts. One of my favorites is our membership to the Arizona Science Center. This little membership card gives us access to many museums nationwide. We used our membership last year during our trip to the midwest and coastal plains visiting a children's museum, natural history museums and another science museum. This year we used it during our recent trip to California.

The first use was at the La Habra Children's Museum. This fun little hands-on museum is located in an old train depot. There are many rooms filled with items to explore. The path to the entrance was lined with dinosaur prints on the ground as well as a few to climb.
 Benton was pleased to find a carousel inside and rode it for as long as he could. Nearby his brother and sister played in an bus mock-up. Eamon pretended to be a crazy driver, while we pretended to fly off our seats or jump onto the swiftly moving vehicle.

An art room was next. Aine spent quite a bit of time in this room studying the works of art and creating her own. While she created, Eamon was drawn to the train display. He has consistently expressed an interest in locomotives. It was a test, but he waited patiently for the 10 minute train cool-down between one minute runs.
 The animal room proved to be exciting for all three kiddos. The coolest past was that you were able to touch the taxidermy. This was so exciting for Benton who showed a bit of trepidation when he touched the ferocious, bounding lion. Eamon thought the antlers were cool experimenting with them as his own headgear.
A room with a stage and a plethora of dress-up garb was next. I think this was Aine's favorite room. She performed several song and dance numbers. Her costume changes were fantastic, and she know wants her own pair of high heels. Eamon worked the sound booth and then joined her acting out a play. It was truly hysterical.

The final spot was full of a tree house, trucks, puppets and building materials. Eamon built a large house and then took turns with Benton building boxes in which to hide. Eamon performed a puppet show, and Aine read a few books in the lofty tree house.

We left only when they announced closing time. The kids had so much fun; they wanted to return the next day.

The second time we used our membership's reciprocity feature was during our visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The trip to the museum was a bit arduous as we had to deal with LA traffic. The first portion of the exploration was a bit tough due to hungry bellies and too much time in the car. We stopped and ate our lunch in the open gallery area, and were recharged.

We were fortunate to view the new Dino Hall exhibit. It was chock fun of dinosaur bones and information. The coolest was a set of three T Rex skeletons. The kiddos were quite impressed, but the part that really amazed them was on the top floor.
 On the upper floor is a room with true paleontologists working. We watched two working on various dinosaur fossils. It was very interesting to see the tools in action. The kiddos wondered about the masks they wore and the loud machinery.
The upper floor also had a hands on children's area. Aine spent quite a bit of time assembling a dinosaur skeleton. Benton used the telescope to find birds and squirrels on the museum complex lawn. (yes, I did tell him to turn it around for better viewing).

This was another great trip due to our museum membership. The kiddos preferred the first museum. I think the combination of a long drive and hungry bellies overshadowed the dinosaurs.


  1. The children's museum looks like so much fun (but both are great spots). I want to go now!

  2. My kiddos definitely preferred that one too.

  3. What a wonderful post!!! I LOVE all the pictures!!! The first museum sounds incredible!!! We're going to our first children's museum on Wednesday... I hope Gus has as much fun as his cousins did at their museum!!!

  4. I love museum days!!
    I miss our natural history museum... they're bulding a new building, and it will be huge and gorgeous when it's done... Hopefully in November! :) I can't wait.