I learned this word today while the kids and I explored the Discovery Room at NCs Museum of Natural Science, our favorite museum. Normally this room is jam packed with kids and parents, but today it was only us for an hour, and then only one other family for the second hour. Yes, we spent 2 full hours in one room, discovering a whole bunch of things together. It really helped that there was an amazing volunteer there by the name of Anthony (if any of you go be on the lookout for him) who took a ton of time jazzing up all of the different topics for Xavier, helping him lay out string to see how long a T Rex is, listening to conch shells to figure out which had the best wave sound, and just really got into it all with the kids.
~We learned about honey bees, the difference between a worker (female) and drone (male). We learned that the average worker bee only lives for 6 weeks but the Queen bee can live up to 5 years. We learned that drone bees must be fed by the workers (I laughed at this information). We took time to look for the Queen Bee and when I found her I felt childishly excited. I even childishly refused to tell Xavier where she was, only giving hints, so he could find her himself. He did after a bit on concentration. We decided to play a game and try to find her each time we go back. (There is a trick to this by the way. Look for a bee a little bit bigger than the rest, encircled by bees all facing her direction. The Queen Bee does nothing but reproduce and the circle of bees hang around her feeling her vibrations with their antennae to figure out if she needs anything like food. Another fun fact!)
~We learned that rabbits are not actually rodents but are in a family all their own called Lagomorpha. Rodents can be identified by their brown teeth due to a strengthening enamel that coats their teeth (we saw this with a Beaver Skull).
~We learned about Dinosaurs (where I gained a ton of rep points with the volunteer by knowing the difference between a sauropod and a theropod) and fossils. This is where I learned about my new favorite word. Coprolite. Yes, I'm just throwing it in there because I can. Coprolite!
~We learned about spiders and their silk, and how to recognize a Brown Recluse (in order to run away screaming if we ever see one).
There was so much more, but the best part was just how much fun the kids and I had running from area to area, learning a new topic, me throwing out bits of knowledge and information I had gained over the years. I know most of it will go in one ear and out the other but I figure one or two facts may get stuck in their little brains and they will remember "Oh yeah! I learned this from Mom!" when they're adults and passing on their own form of education to their kidlets. Under normal circumstances Xavier and Ashe race from exhibit to exhibit, but today while they devoured anything they could get their hands on, they threw themselves into learning what was right in front of them through touch, scent, games, and 2 adults that were having a ball showing them all the delights the room had to offer. I couldn't believe it when I looked up at the clock and realized 2 hours had past already. Alas we had to go.
Normally I take the kids to the museum in the morning, but as dead as it was this afternoon, and how much more the kids (and I) got out of our visit, I may change our timing up a bit when Xavier is tracked out. It's amazing how much more fun things can be when you have it all to yourself. We're looking forward to going again soon.