Wednesday, January 11, 2012

San Jose Children's Museum

ACK! I am officially over a MONTH behind on blogging! I'm sorry, I really despise when people get behind and then try and catch up...but you're just going to have to deal with it. Bwahahahah.

Last month we decided to check out the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

It takes about 45 minutes to get there, and we find all ways of occupying our time while driving, including with dry-erase markers. These things get a ton of use in the car! For example, keeping count of how many blue and/or red cars you see, making tables and graphs of how many green/red lights you go through (or hopefully NOT go through in the case of red ones...but not unheard of at times...), writing down a forgotten grocery list, playing Pictionary On The Go, aaaaaaand according to Brooklyn, disguising yourself...not only did she give herself glasses and a goatee, but she "tatooed" her legs with wind turbines. I kid you not. Wind turbines. What 5 year old "tattoos" herself with wind turbines!? I (and every other person she was in contact with that day, I'm sure) got a good giggle.

This very cool firetruck was right at the entrance and the kids wasted no time pushing past me and sprinting to the glorious shiny red truck.

Sam could sit and play with this thing for hours. Seriously.

Brooklyn's turn to drive!

They have a neat little bubble room with a bunch of different bubble centers.

If it were up to the kids, we could have stayed here Every time we walked by it we had to stop and play for another 10 minutes.

This was by far the kids (and probably mine) favorite area--the water area! They had a bunch of tubes and stuff set up for these little plastic balls to do all sorts of neat things. Like here, Sam rolled it down the ramp and it was shot up into the clear plastic box, then it was washed down into another contraption.

Here, the ball is shot out and lands into the tornado, sucked down, and sent down a series of stairs to a pool.

Then there's this fountain that emits "fog", but you are able to mess with some knobs to determine how much fog is being put out, and how big you want the water fountain. It was awesome to watch because the more fog that was produced, the bigger the fountain grew until you put your finger in to disrupt the flow and let the fog escape.

The whole setup.

They also had a bit area on mammoths. Apparently one (or a few?) were found quite some time ago when excavating around San Jose. So they have lots of neat, interactive exhibits about mammoths.

They also have not one, but TWO art rooms! One for children under age 5 (along with a huge play area filled with all sorts of stations for younger kids), and then one for older kids. This is where we first learned about the ice sculptures, food coloring, salt, and flashlights.

Sam had fun running from station to station and was excited to see this awesome building area with giant blocks. His problem was that this little boy wanted so badly to build WITH Sam, but Sam wasn't too excited about that... Eventually he realized that 4 hands are better than 2 and they had a lot of fun constructing (but mostly destroying) together.

Brooklyn would have spent the entire time in this mirror contraption. She would spin and jump and make faces and who knows what all else.

This is the area for "crawling children only". There wasn't a crawler in sight, so I told Sam to go ahead, "But don't forget to crawl!" haha. One of the employees did come over and mention that he's not supposed to be in there, but no one else was using it, so why not. Besides, it was so neat I wanted to go crawl in there!...but restrained myself. Barely.

Sam decided to give the ice a try.

This was up on an upper level of the small children's area. Brooklyn came and hung over the rail, "MOM! You have GOT to see this! I am going to die of cuteness in here!" Well then, by golly I'd better check it out. In complete honesty...I'm surprised no one's brain dropped out of their ears from the insanity of carousel horses dancing around the room with different colors and some creepy nursery music being played softly in the background...needless to say, I ducked out of there quite quickly before I lost my cookies.

Then came the "big kid" art area. We were painting still life--these gourds and corn. Sam was done in record time, and quickly rushed off to the next area, but Brooklyn stayed so long she closed the art exhibit down.

Okay, so this photo puts me into fits of laughter as I look at it and can see a 16 year old Sam...bear with me here...can you see it? The same skater shirt (a few sizes bigger), same shaggy haircut, same "Dude, why are you taking a photo of me?" expression, and working at a pizza joint. Awesome. The funniest part? He absolutely loved it. He made me at least 10 different pizzas, and happily refilled my drink...excuse me while I relapse...hehehahaha!!

I had to drag them out of there shortly after in hopes of getting on the road before rush hour traffic (silly me, waiting until 4pm...). 2 hours later, we had to pick Russ up (who had started walking home in the dark) alongside the road. Awesome. Note to self: RUSH HOUR SUCKS. Drag your butt out of the house BEFORE noon next time...

If I were to give this museum a review though, I'd probably go with an 8.5/10. We really liked it and it had a lot to offer--it was clean and bright, the exhibits were exciting, all of the employees were happy and helpful. The exhibits were entertaining for the kids, but could also keep an adults attention. It was a bit far for us, and normally it's a tad spendy--$10 per person (including children, but free for those under age 1). With our ACM membership though, it's only $5 per person, which makes it do-able.

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