Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Bell Museum!

We had a playdate with some neighborhood friends whom we see waaay too rarely!  Alex and Sophia met in Woodbury ECFE classes a few years ago, and our families have a number of shared interests (gardening, canning, conscious parenting and Leinenkugel's).  Unfortunately, as is often the case, life gets busy, but I was so pleased to be able to meet up with them this weekend for an excellent adventure.
We had never visited the Bell Museum of Natural History, but will definitely be back.... lots!  Both kids had a blast, but Justin in particular really enjoyed it!   
It was Free Admission Sunday (every Sunday is), and there were only a handful of people in the building, so the kids got to roam/run free.  This is the only photo I have of  most of our group, and four of them are teeny tiny in the background!
 But I got an awesome shot of a Snowy Owl.  For some reason I love, love, love dioramas.  It reminds me of wandering around the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire science building as a child (my grandma worked there) and going to the Field Museum in Chicago on family vacations.  I think it is amazing artistry-- they were all constructed between the 1920's and 1940's, and illustrate what Minnesota was like pre-agriculture!
Justin was a bit perplexed at the dioramas.  The first one he saw was a bald eagle at the entrance.  He shouted "EAGLE!" and ran towards it.  Then he stopped in his tracks, looked at me, looked at it again and declared "stuck."  Dave and I started laughing, but affirmed that yes, the eagle was 'stuck' because it was "a statue" (we figured that was enough detail for a 23 month old). 

After that explanation, he was good to go.  He ran from exhibit to exhibit, shouting animal names.  A favorite spot was a telescope overlooking the "shores of Lake Pepin".
 Not only do they have two floors of dioramas, they ALSO have the best 'Touch and See' room I've ever experienced.  How many times have you walked through a Natural History Museum and had to control that urge to reach out and snake your fingers through a bear's coat?  Not here!! 
They also have an impressive collection of live reptiles and amphibians.  The room is staffed by an interepretive guide who can answer questions and initiate animal encounters.  Justin loved watching the snakes, but wasn't sure about patting them.
 Look out, Daddy!
As a closing, two enthusiastic thumbs up (well, actually EIGHT thumbs up) for The Bell Museum.  If anyone wants to meet us there for a playdate, we're all in!

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