Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day at the Museum

We went to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (which always makes me want to say it the way the Pace salsa ads do - "NOO YAWK CITY!") yesterday.

I love museums. My parents took us to many museums when I was a kid. My father was a die-hard model railroader. Not "toy trains", but model railroads - these guys make detailed re-creations of various railroads around the world, keeping everything to scale. Dad was never much on the scenery department, but laying track and wiring and building the layout? That was his thing.

Anyway, Dad would attend the national convention whenever possible, which was held in various cities around the US and Canada. So that was our family vacation in the summer - travelling to whichever city the convention was in, and while Dad did his railroad stuff, Mom and us kids would see whatever sights there were to be seen. That usually included at least one museum. Always the science/natural history museum if there was one, and usually an art museum too.

So I have good associations with museums. I love reading the signs and learning something new (waterproof eggs were an important development in the evolution of land animals!), and I'm not very picky about the subject. AMNH is great for people like me - it has a lot of exhibits about a lot of things. We started with dinosaurs and the fossil halls, hit a little bit of human evolution on our way to gems and minerals, and picked up people of the pacific islands while making our way to reptiles.

It was crowded, of course, although not as crowded as the first time we went last year. I had purchased a membership last year, so this time we just walked right past the lines, and since we weren't doing any shows, I didn't have to pay anything (extra) for admission. We bopped around a bit (as you might have gathered), mostly hitting things we felt we'd missed last time. We wanted to find the big Polynesian statue and Rexie from Night at the Museum, which we did. I also insisted on the minerals, which the kids were iffy on until we got there. We didn't do any of the planetarium stuff this time, but you know, we don't live so far away. We can go again.

We had one experience that was extra special, at least to me. Right after we got there, we were looking for the elevator to go up to the 4th floor where the dinosaurs were. A guard heard me say something about the 4th floor, and told us to go to a different elevator, that would take us express. It turned out to be one of the freight elevators, at least as big as the kids rooms (probably at least 12x12x12). It came with an old-fashioned expanding gate and an operator! So he was telling us how this was not even the biggest elevator, plus we got to watch the walls go by through the gate, and we should really do the sleepover at the museum when Night at the Museum 2 comes out. The ride was too short - I love getting to go "behind the scenes".

The other revelation of the day was William. We took the subway (drops you right in the basement of the museum), and he was very VERY cautious about the edge of the platform. I stepped close to (but not on) the yellow line, and he was pulling my hand getting me away from the edge. And he didn't want anyone near that edge. This from the kid that was jumping down multiple stairs at time at the museum.


hokgardner said...

I'm looking forward to the day when I can take all the kids to NYC to see the museums there.

Jill in MA said...

Sounds like fun! Steve's going to sign Owen up for an overnight at the Science Museum! I think they see a movie and get a midnight lightning show (if Owen can stay up that late.) Not only do memberships pay for themselves, but you get access to special events. How cool is that??