Monday, October 6, 2014

Lil' Monsters In NYC: Exploring The Discovery Room & Terrace Water Feature at The American Museum of Natural History #LilMonstersinNYC

 There was quite a crisp breeze in the air this morning and I can't help but wish that it was still Summer, is that crazy? Don't get me wrong Fall is actually my favorite season, I just think this year the warm summer days were far and in between this year and geezums, we never even made it to the beach! As we start grabbing more layers to wear and it starts getting chillier, I though over this next week I'd share some of our family excursions I never got to share.

The hubby and I have lived in NYC all of our lives and although there are quite a few attractions we haven't seen, we are pretty familiar with many of the local family friendly sites that are either inexpensive or free and make our best efforts to check as many out as possible with the boys. We have taken our kids to the amazing American Museum of Natural History a handful of times before, spending hours sitting under the ginormous blue whale (as Tristan reminds us that whales can't fly and questions how that really big whale got up to the ceiling), snapping pics of dinosaurs and pretending we were in the Ben Stiller family film, Night at the Museum.Yet somehow we  never knew of their really cool Discovery Room or the awesome sprinklers, seemingly hidden from tourists on their quaint rooftop terrace.

Imagine my boy's faces, full of amazement as they first walked into the AMNH Discovery Room to find this larger than life replica of a two story African baobab tree towering over them. Before they could even get instructions from the AMNH employee they ran up to the table, beyond excited and each went reaching for a magnifying glass, flashlight and a checklist/ activity sheet. They couldn't wait to start searching high and low for all the animals pictured on their list.

A game of memory kept Tristan preoccupied for quite a bit of time as he eagerly uncovered shells that were varied in texture and size. When I prompted him to put a shell to his ear to listen, he thought it sounded more like a ghost, than the ocean.

There were drawers with lots of hidden treasures that visitors were able to hold, which is really great sensory fun for the little ones and made for great conversation with CJ on where he thought he could find an object.

Now, one of the many reasons I love my two monsters is because more times than not, they are very open-minded to going to new places, doing new things (once you convince them to leave the house and the video games behind), meeting new people, or in this case BUGS! Without hesitation, when another employee asked CJ if he wanted to hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach he jumped at the chance. 

Kids can tap into their creative side by creating masks out of felt and if you squint one eye and tilt your head, you can sort of see how much it resembles his daddy, that Tristan was so proud to make. He nailed the bald head, don't you think?

On display you'll find gorgeously detailed masks from different countries around the world. Kids can even try some on, or take a moment to draw a few of their own in a quiet area.

I'm also really one lucky mama, because Tristan is a pretty well behaved kid and he received so many compliments from the staff and later earned himself two stickers because he cleaned up and sorted all the play food that was lying around.

Meanwhile because CJ is a few years older he and the hubby were able to venture upstairs to explore, and this time he was able to interact with a walking stick, which tickled him as he slowly made his way up CJ's arm. I wish that as a child, I had been more open to exploring all those things I thought were icky, but by having two adventurous boys I get a second chance.

There's just so much to be taken in and for little mind to absorb and you could see the kids throughout the space were in complete awe of the beautiful artifacts of old and new.

Another pretty cool feature in the American Museum of Natural History's Discovery room is that visitors can work together to piece together the fossils of a prehistoric crocodile and excavate, using tools that paleontologists use.

It was while reading my favorite blog , A Cup of Jo that I discovered this seemingly magical hideaway on the Upper Westside, that you could tell only those who actually lived in the neighborhood and a handful of others were aware even existed. The monsters absolutely loved splashing around in the sprinklers and making each other crack-up over things that only their crazy selves would understand. Only in New York can you splash around among the planets. It was just an amazingly fun-filled days I know made such an impression on the boys.

The Discovery Room is an exciting way for families and especially kids aged 5-12 by helping them with a behind the scenes and hands on, close-up look at science. You can go in for a timed 40 minute session for Free on Monday - Thursday from 10:30am to 1:30pm
            Friday's they are closed 
            Saturday & Sunday from 1030am - 1:30pm, 2:15pm-5:10pm

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