May 16th, 2009
Our first of many educational stops this summer was at the Discovery Science Center. It's in Santa Ana, so it was only a 15-20 min. drive, which I loved. Sometimes it's a crap shoot with Science exhibits because I never know how hands-on it will be, or what mood the kids will be in. Fortunately, today was fantastic!
As soon as you walk in the door, there's hands-on experiments for the kids to try, along with an explanation of what's happening in a way the kids can understand. Then they include the scientific name of the process as well, which I appreciate. Hopefully it will tuck away somewhere in their brains, ready to be recalled sometime in high school/college.
One of the most entertaining exhibits was the pin wall. It's basically like the handheld version where you can press something into it and make an impression on the other side. Since it was so big, the kids could put their whole face and some body parts in it. That's Avery above.
Next we got to jump inside a cylinder about the size of a phone booth and experience winds the same speed as a hurricane. There's a monitor outside of it showing me how fast the wind gets. They were up to 70+ miles per hour before their turn was over. Doesn't make for a good hair day at all!
We also got the chance to lay/lie (can't remember whic is correct) on a bed of nails- very exciting. The girls we apprehensive at first, but Hayden enthusiastically volunteered to go first. After he did it, the girls summoned up the courage to try.
I think the highlight of the day for Hannah was holding a real brain in her hands. One of the reasons I took the kids on this particular day was that they were going to have a brain presentation and an opportunity to hold/touch one at the end. Since we had just studied the brain in one of our science units, I wanted to give the kids an opportunity to see one up close.
Hannah, the budding veterinarian that she is, was the first in line when the time came. They let us hold a sheep's brain, but they had different versions of real human brain in the jars on the table. They had an intact one, and then some sliced various ways so you could see the two hemispheres, the brain stem, etc. It was pretty fascinating. I wish we could have held the specimens longer and asked more questions, but a line was starting to form as some of the younger kids were finally mustering up some courage to come try it out.
I'm sure this won't be the last time Hannah has a chance to hold brains in her hands!
Later that day we came back to the
same room so that Hayden could watch the Dinosaur game show. It was like aversion of jeopardy. Since his good friend Cameron has taught him a lot of facts about dinosaurs, Hayden raised his hand to volunteer. He got picked as one of the contestants. He had a rough couple of rounds because we the audience persuaded him not to go with his gut on some of his answers, and then we were wrong! He would've gotten them right. But in the end, he got the double jeopardy answers right and tied for first place with the teenage girl next to him who knew nothing, and ended up only getting the answers right because Hayden gave them to her. How about that for good sportsmanship!
Upstairs was a tribute to the science of sports, and hockey specifically. LA has a hockey team so they were the sponsors of some fun exhibits. There was a full-size zamboni that kids could climb on. They had some goalie leg pads on display that you could try on and attempt to kneel and block a puck. They were almost as big as Hayden! And heavy too. It took all the force he could muster to push them down.
The biggest draw were the 2 simulators; one for practicing shooting a goal, and one for goalies to practice catching a puck.
I've never seen the mitts/gloves up close before, it was pretty interesting how complicated they were. The kids got a chance to try out both simulators. They were pretty good at batting the pucks out of the air, but weren't so good at slapping the puck into the net, even with 5 tries.
Outside there's a dinosaur exhibit and scavenger hunt that we spent a hour at, but I didn't get great pics of.
There's a ton more I could share, but suffice it to say, we had a great time and I would highly recommend a visit if you live or travel through Orange County.