Monday, February 23, 2009

Let's get Scientific!

"When two science museums compete everybody is a winner...unless those evil HMNS bastards release uncontrollable zombie dinosaurs into the fray."
Advertisement seen in The Woodlands Mall

1st Floor vs. 2nd Floor

The mall near our house is, like most malls, a rather schizophrenic place. So it's not surprising that it has two separate, competing science museums. A few years ago The Woodland's Children's Museum opened it's doors up on the second floor. The Wethergirls and I spent many a gloomy, stormy Saturday playing with all their hand's on exhibits of dental hygiene, magnet magic, and live bugs.

Then about a year ago directly below the Children's Museum the Houston Museum of Natural History opened its auxillary Xploration Station suggesting a) natural scientists are not strong spellers and b) they are a pushy, antagonistic bunch set on muscling in on other's turf.

Also, those HMNS dudes/dudettes really know how to set up a museum! The Xploration Station rocks! The Children's Museum may as well just admit defeat and concede the territory.

Misseswether had picked up a museum membership to the XS right after it opened and has spent a lot of time there with the Wethergirls. But, seeing how it is indoors, I've never gone there. Saturday's original plans fell through (which was a good thing because they weren't my plans) and, since it was raining I decided to finally check the place out.


This wasn't some rinky-dink afterthought of cheesy exhibits. This was surprisingly large collection of everything a scientificy person could want! Dinosaurs, rocks, penguins, sharks, skulls, bugs, books, blocks, experiments, mazes, and movies filled thousands of square feet of floor space.

Undead zombie dinosaur!

Penguins with frikken lasers on their backs!

Giant, man-eating rocks!

What the stomach looks like of a giant, man-eating rock.

More undead zombie dinosaur! Plus a dark and mysterious mine...

...filled with amazing fluorescent rocks. I tried explaining to the Wethergirls about how high energy beams of ultraviolet light excite the electrons into jumping up to the outer orbitals of mineral's atoms and then when the electrons drop back into their normal orbitals a lower-energy photon is released which travels into our eye triggering nerve impulses to flow from the eye's cone receptors to the brain...but they just wanted me to spin them in circles to make all the pretty colors "whooshy".

So I spun them.

Books and Blocks

So, can your 3-yr old read?
Mine can't, but she's good at faking it.

Giant frog. Seriously, this thing was almost as big as Mambowether's head!

Many bugs. The museum workers never left me unattended with them so I can't tell you how they tasted. Sidenote: if you show up at a museum wearing clothes reminiscent of Indiana Jones the curators keep a real close eye on you, especially if you are also carrying a small bag of sand...

Freshly-molted praying mantis.


Including a skull of a two-headed calf! What a great museum!

We ended up spending over three hours there and still didn't see everything. A person could easily spend an hour just playing with the Critter-Cams. I had to drag the girls out to get them some food. Past experiences taught me girls + fun - blood sugar = disaster, so after many promises to bring them back I was able to get them to go home for lunch.

They pretended to be undead zombie dinosaurs attacking helpless peanut butter and jelly scientists as they ate. Yep, I'm an excellent parent!

Adventure! Excitement! Xploration!


Brad said...

Sonds like tons of fun. Me and mine went to the Children's Museum on Sunday. That's her favorite place to go that's not outdoors.

Wildcat said...

Wow. I didn't even know that place was in the mall. I have not been to that mall in 7 or 8 years. i'll have to take the kids there some time.


Packman said...

One of FBS' favorite places is the local children's museum, to which I dutifully bought a membership.

My mother, of course, had to outdo me and promptly bought a membership to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, which is now FBS' new favorite place. The full-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling kept him amuzed for an amazingly long time.

He also really liked the cafeteria, but that's a whole 'nother story!