Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Day At The Museum

I took the kids to the MOST in Syracuse today (the Museum of Science and Technology, that is).  We've been there a couple times before - the kids love it for all the fun, hands-on activities.  It was a good diversion and reward after a very long, stressful week.

I love the salt water aquarium there - I could sit and watch it for hours.  Our kids also love seeing the Toothpick City.  If you haven't seen it, it's amazing - completely constructed by one man over a number of years.  It's composed solely of world landmark buildings, constructed entirely out of toothpicks, and it's BIG.  I can't begin to imagine the amount of work that went into it.

My favorite part of the museum is the large perpetual motion machine.  Our son and I could watch it for hours.  It's quite large, and lots of fun to get "lost" in.  It even has some interactive mechanisms, so you can affect what happens to some of the dozens of balls that continually move through the machine.  The helix tower on top rotates at an angle, so the pool balls inside actually appear to move counter to gravity, up the spiral, at times.

I love the reconstructed apothecary shop at the museum.  It's only open on Saturday afternoons, so I had to content myself today with looking through the windows.  I would love to read every single bottle, jar, and container label - I find that kind of historical minutiae endlessly interesting.

Our daughter loves the geology activities, the exploration tunnels, and the huge multi-story playground - think like a McD's playland, but many times bigger.  This one is about 40 feet tall, and includes a "shooting range" for soft foam balls, a three-story slide, and enough tunnels for a habitrail metropolis.   There were dozens of other activities - plasma balls, pulleys, an Archimedes screw, a flight simulator, models and activities about all the major human body systems, a waterfall, amazing photographs of microscopic details of plants, animals, and minerals, a large gift shop, butterflies, magnetism, radio technology, and on and on.  The kids even talked me into riding the motion simulator, which took us on a trip with the world's worst driver, who crashed into everything.  Our son loved it - crashes and accidents are one of his favorite things to simulate with his toy cars, and he loves to watch automotive crash tests on YouTube.

We had a fun day, and it was good to have the kids out for an activity that didn't end in frustration and arguing, but instead with questions and comments about what they'd seen, and laughter - and an optical illusion we had to drive around the block to solve.  What's wrong with this picture of the Jefferson Clinton Hotel in Syracuse?

This was taken from our parking spot, right out the car window.  Our son pointed it out to me.  WHERE is the left side of the building??  We couldn't see from our angle, so we decided to drive around the block to get "the rest of the story."  It turns out this old building is shaped like a thick U, with one end tapering to a very sharp point on one side (like the Flatiron Building in Manhattan, only a lot skinnier).   From this angle, it looks like the building is one giant facade with no substance.  The left-most windows on the angled left part of the building in this view appear to be fake (or the broom closets have the best view in town!).  When the building gets wide enough to accommodate real rooms, the windows are real.  We were totally mystified by the appearance of this hotel from this angle.  Yep, we're simple souls!

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