It's late August in Durham, which means school has started back, fall is around the corner, and change is in the air (along with humidity). Transitions can be hard on kiddos so I took mine on a playdate to The Museum of Life and Science to get their "ya-ya"s out as the Rolling Stones say, and to just let them be kids. We've been members their whole lives and thought we'd seen everything there is to see, but this visit was special.
They popped into a place we had almost forgotten about, right across from the bathrooms next to where you head outdoors. They played like it was the first time they'd ever seen it, running around like crazy, making a wild and unpredictable symphony with every footstep. I got curious. I realized I had never read how the SoundSpace works and headed over to the plaque to read more about it. The older kids saw me and left the kindergarteners to play and came over to join me. We read about how Soundspace has nine cameras that send information to an image processing computer. The camera's special software detects the location of children, their speed, and the type of movement they are making in the space. That motion is tracked and converted into a stream of data, which the computer then uses to generate the sounds we hear and the abstract art projected on the wall. My son said "it's like a pudding of art, science, and music!" which is a super neat way of understanding how STEM fields and the arts can combine into something totally intriguing. And something appealing to even the youngest among us, I noted, as I saw a newly stumbling toddler join the fray.
Of course, their thirst for knowledge didn't stop there. They then wondered how the next exhibit worked and ran to read it's plaque as well. FallingSand is on the wall right next to SoundSpace, and kids can't resist standing in front and "virtually" using their bodies to stop the constant flow of colorful ball bearings (AKA sand). Turns out that a camera is detecting your shadow on the wall and creating real-time images of sand reacting to the shadows. Therefore, sand piles up where the curves are and is released when the shadows disappear. It was really neat to stop and take a breath and finding out more about places we had played many times. Learning (without realizing they were learning) definitely deepened their fun.
After the sand dropped out of their hands, they zoomed off quickly to Hideaway Woods (here's our review), and the time for introspection was over. I mean, treehouses!! But it made me realize how much there is at the Museum that deserves a second glance, especially once your kids get to the age where they can understand the process behind an exhibit. Because discovering the why and how with them becomes a whole new level of fun.
The thing is, there is always something new at MLS, no matter if you're brand new to Durham or lifelong members like us. Coming up is the Halloween tradition of Pumpkin Patch Express that everyone loves. Something else you might not know about is the Curiosity Trail, which is free with admission. To participate, just pick up a Curiosity Trail participant card in the lobby and begin your quest by following the clues. You never know where it will take you! When you’re done, just turn in your card to be entered into a drawing to win some great prizes! It's a little mini adventure inside an already special outing, and something neat to share around the dinner table later.
So come out, discover something again for the first time at The Museum of Life and Science!
As a celebration of the new school year, The Museum of Life + Science is excited to offer Stir Crazy readers a giveaway of four free day passes to the museum (a $72 value)!
a Rafflecopter giveaway