There is a kids’ science museum in Shreveport, Louisiana, which is about an hour’s drive away from us. Over the years, we have gone there many times. This is a field trip that my husband really enjoys, so we have always planned it on days that he is able to come.
So back in September or October, when I saw that the museum had a special Lego exhibit, I knew we had to plan a trip to see it for the sake of our Lego maniac, Jasper. It’s kind of pricy to go now since they no longer have the discount they used to have on Tuesdays, so I did some looking around and found a Groupon that would give us a great deal and it even included IMAX movie tickets. I could get enough for four people to go, and I figured it would be Lucy, Jasper, my husband, and me.
There was just one little problem. We could not find a single day before the end of the year when the museum was open, my husband was free, and I was not teaching. Not one! The Groupon was valid through March 8, though, so I thought we’d be able to work it out in January before the Lego exhibit left. Nope. No Lego for us.
A new exhibit opened, on treasure hunting, and still we could find no day to go. So much for all the flexibility that homeschooling is supposed to give us! When we left on our trip to Georgia and Tennessee, we knew that we’d have to go this week or let the Groupons expire, meaning I spent the money for nothing.
I realized this meant that we would just have to go without Walter, because he is not free to leave work at all at the moment. In fact he is very sick with a severe respiratory infection but does not feel like he can afford to stay home from work.
So today was the day. The ONE day in the last five months that we could make it work. I was thrilled that Spencer didn’t have to be at work until 3:00 this afternoon, because that meant that he could come with us and use the fourth Groupon.
It was a chilly gray morning and it was raining as we drove into Shreveport, but everyone was in high spirits because we were going on a field trip! We found the museum easily and almost immediately we saw something new in the park that runs between the museum and the river. It was a sculpture of a giant tea infuser! You can imagine how delighted I was. Finally, it occurred to someone to memorialize the massive importance of tea. I told the kids that we would definitely take some photos there after we were done in the museum.
We didn’t have much time to look around before our IMAX movie showing, but we did get to look at some reptiles and the kids got to pet a king snake.
There were a couple of cute little baby alligators there too. I also got to play “Jesus Loves Me” on a solid rock xylophone:
Then it was time to go into the theater and wait for the movie. I had never been to an IMAX movie before, and to be honest, I may never go to one again. Just walking into the theater gave me severe vertigo. I was more than a little afraid that I might pass out and fall and hurt myself. I know. It’s so lame.
We waited close to fifteen minutes before the movie started, and I focused on my knitting, which seemed to help a little. (Yes, I always take knitting to museums. Why do you ask?) Then the movie started and the vertigo got worse. I can’t remember the last time I felt so queasy. I tried to focus on the cute polar bears and the stunning arctic landscapes, but sometimes it was really hard. When the movie finally ended, I really had to hold tight to the hand rails to haul myself out of there! I know it sounds silly, but it took me well over an hour to recover. I thought Spencer might have to drive us home . . .
So, while the kids explored the rest of the museum, I kept finding places to sit down, including my very favorite place in that whole building, which is the pendulum room. I have spent many a happy hour knitting there while Walter and the kids cycled through the various activities. Today I did not feel up to knitting at all after the movie, so I just sat and watched the pendulum slowly swinging. It’s hypnotic and soothing.
I was a little irritated when a museum staff member intruded on my reverie and wanted to educate me (and Lucy, who had joined me by that time). It was hard to resist the young man’s enthusiasm, though, and he endeared himself to me by being impressed that I actually understood what the pendulum was demonstrating. In fact we ended up having quite a conversation about pendulums and the rotation of the earth, and I learned something new. A pendulum swinging at the north pole takes 24 hours to describe a complete circle. The pendulum in Shreveport takes 44 hours because it is quite a distance from the pole. What I didn’t know is that a pendulum swinging on the equator wouldn’t make a circular pattern at all. It would just swing back and forth in a straight line. I love learning stuff like that.
The kids enjoyed the treasure hunt exhibit, especially the part where they got to shoot cannons at ships:
When we had seen all there was to see, we went outside and discovered a dazzling sunlit world, so different from the gray one we had left in the morning. We made a beeline for the giant tea infuser and took some photos:
We also read the plaque and discovered that this sculpture was not the whimsical tribute to tea that we had thought. It’s supposed to be an anchor. Try to imagine my dismay. A giant tea infuser would be so cool! An anchor is, well, rather commonplace. *sigh* In my heart, it will always be a tea infuser regardless of what the artist may have intended.
The time in the fresh air really helped me feel well enough to drive, so we headed for home, stopping for lunch on the way. We barely made it in time for Spencer to leave for work. I was still having dizziness issues so I ended up taking a nap. If I ever attempt viewing another IMAX movie, I am taking Dramamine ahead of time!