the discovery centre was a place i had been wanting to go, but just wasnt sure when it would be "worth it" for us. well, this weekend was in danger of becoming just too boring to handle, so i suggested we check it out just for the hell of it.
there were definitely a lot of big kids running around, but i think we were able to get $20 worth of entertainment out of our time there. there were lots of exhibits that appealed to us (as adults) but there were still several that X was able to experience and enjoy. they had a walkable model suspension bridge which was fun. they had a plasma dome that shot electric strands out to where you placed your hand on the dome (X was intrigued). they had a lot of funny mirrors that X got a kick out of, and we all definitely enjoyed the bubble room.
we were able to have the bubbles all to ourselves for some time. they had a station where you could pull up a 2' x 4' sheet of soap, and then blowing on it was so fun. X seemed to find the long bubbles we blew from it very curious. but her favorite thing of all was outside of the bubble room. there was a station with a horizontal tube that blew air vertically out of three nozzles when you pushed the button. you could then float a ping pong ball on these three air streams. X was mesmerized. she quickly figured out the speed and coordination required to grab one of those floating balls out of the air. it was fascinating to watch her try it out.
we did peek at the other exhibits that seemed "too old" for X, and dave and i were able to revisit some of our childhood. so many forgotten delights. its going to be fun to encounter it all again with X. i hope we can always keep a playful attitude about doing stuff with her. we are going to be chaperoning her for many years so we might as well have fun while were at it. then everyone will have a better time, connect more, and she can learn more.
(at the start of some exhibit to test your speed (~50 foot dash). clearly X is off to a good start by staring at a piece of trash at the starting gate; ...and her time reflects it. lol.)
the next special exhibit they are bringing to the centre is called "play." and it is inspired (i assume) by the resurgence of the idea that kids need more unstructured play in their lives for proper development. not the video games, extra homework workbooks, movies/tv/computers that they get plopped in front of in todays world. they need some good ol fashioned time outside to run and seek and build forts and make-believe. there was a really nice nytimes article about it recently (thanks mary ann). hopefully we can get revisit during the exhibit and see if there is anything X could enjoy.
bonus: as we were leaving the girls at the desk told us we could take some free magnets from a basket on the desk. we picked out a butterfly, a moth, a beetle, and an ambulance (random to be sure). and wouldnt you know it, back at home they were a huge hit. X sat in front of the fridge for 20 minutes pushing them around, learning how to grab them off the fridge, manipulating them in her hand, trying to eat them. they are her new best friends.