Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Maryland Science Center

*WARNING: A large amount of photos are contained in this post!

Every year in September, the Maryland Science Center has three weeks set aside for homeschooling families. Classes are offered for pre-K through high school at very affordable rates, which also include admission to the Science Center for the day.

But you don't have to take a class. If you are a homeschooling family, you receive free admission everyday (Tues-Fri) for the entire three weeks.

Clearly, we had to take advantage of this amazing place. And we did. Twice!

The first trip was last week. My father was able to join us in order to help me out. It's hard having three little ones in a big place, especially with two who are content to wander off without a second glance.

Our first stop was the dinosaur exhibit. A definite favorite with my kids! As soon as D saw the dinosaurs, he got very excited!

We began as paleontologists, digging for dinosaur bones. You have to be gentle and careful with your brush!

Then K (age 5) made some dinosaur footprints in the sand:

D (20 months) enjoyed playing with the buttons on the video. I am sure he is learning a ton...

WOW! Dinosaurs were HUGE:

Look Mom! There is the scale model used to make the big ones!

The girls used dinosaur textures to create skin on their drawings:

Then we headed to the kids room. Oh my! I LOVED this place. I think the best thing was that it was separated from the rest of the Science Center by a half door. (like the kind for nursery rooms in churches) The door is guarded by two employees who don't let any kids in or out without a parent. WHEW! A moment to relax and lose sight of my older two was a welcome break. Of course, my dad was there on this visit so he enjoyed some teaching time with my older girls.

He and K (age 5) spent some time in the dress up area. After dressing up, you enter the green room. In the green room, you can view yourself on the TV with different background movies. Some show you swimming with dolphins. Others put you on the moon. It was a lot of fun:

He spent some time showing the girls how to create dams to direct the boats at the water table:

T (age 4) loved the water table and spent quite a bit of time there.

Course, little D found other things to do at the water table to entertain himself:

There was a wall of the "nail things" you can make hand prints in:

An undersea cove was a lot of fun. It was rather large with lots of buttons, steering wheels, and other toys. There was a periscope to look around at the upper deck of the ship (above you) as well as speakers to talk with the people above you.

The girls enjoyed these animated undersea adventures. You "feel" as if you are swimming undersea and the goal is to find the treasure:

There is a boat located above the undersea cove. You can do some fishing there. And if you are a lucky little guy, your big sister will be there to help you out:

K really got into the boat signal flags. There was a sign explaining each flag and what it means:

Next to it is a bucket of flags and a flag pole. She had fun hoisting up different messages:

D found some stairs. Yes. He likes the stairs. Up. Down. Up. Down.

His other favorite (and mine) was this Lego table. After you built some tall buildings, or as tall as your impatient 20 month old would allow, you pressed a button to cause an earthquake. It was fun to see if our buildings could with stand the shaking.

Another advantage to homeschooling week is that the place is EMPTY! So when you go to the demonstration on Static Electricity, every child gets a chance to let their hair stand up because there are only 12 kids there:

D was absolutely adorable in the Maryland area. There were crabs and turtles. He fell in love with this little turtle and stood there talking to it through the glass.

Hi Turtle!

Course, the entire day wasn't all fun and games. He had his meltdown moments.

But they didn't stop us!

Our final stop was Newton's Alley. This is a favorite place for my kids, but a tough one to keep track of them. This is a large area with a ton of amazing stuff, including exits to every area of the museum. Thank goodness my dad was there!

Here the girls tried to roll things across a spinning disc:

D could have stayed at this ball drop all day. It was awesome! Every ball could be directed down a different track. They did amazing things. Some flew through the air or set off bells. It was a lot of fun to watch and control:

Whew! What an exhausting day, but boy was it fun.

And yes, we did go back this week!


ET @ Titus2:3-5 said...

Reminds me of a space/science museum I went to as a kid. Fun times!

Your area sure caters to the homeschooling families! Must be nice. I hear that, though our city has a good hs organization, there is not much to do that is 'set aside' for them like this was. Wow!

Jolanthe@No Ordinary Moments said...

Looks very cool!! :) I love the picture of K and the big giant dinosaur!!

Johanna said...

Looks like fun! It seems like the older my kids get, the more fun they have at the science center. have you been to port Discovery??? FUN!!! They usually have homeschool free days in the beginning of the school year!

mom24 said...

It looks like lots and lots and and LOTS of fun! We really wanted to take advantage of this awesome freebie but just couldn't work it in. THey do this every year? Cool!