This past Saturday, CJ, the girls, and I took a trip to the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum with a couple of old friends of ours – Jen and Ati. We hadn’t seen them in many years and since they lived on the other side of the state, we were looking for something to do that was roughly halfway between the two of us. We last visited this museum when Katherine was 4, and she loved it (although she admitted she didn’t remember most of it). Lucy had never been to this museum. All in all, this seemed like a good spot to meet.
The four of us got there right at the museum opened, and Jen and Ati joined us a few minutes later. We bought our tickets, and walked to a half-flight of stairs that was the entrance to the exhibits and activities – that’s when the fun really began. You see, someone had the brilliant idea to modify each step in the set to generate a different musical note when you step on it. I’m not sure if they’re pressure-sensitive or if there is a light beam running across each step, but when the girls realized what was happening, they merrily ran up and down the steps. It would figure – we have about 2 hours before we need to eat lunch and get back on the road, and the first 45 minutes was going to be spent at the opening staircase.
It wasn’t that bad at all. Once we got the girls up the stairs, they ran to the “water table” – a 20′ long sink with running water, multiple mini-waterfalls, water toys, and step stools. THAT activity did eat up a good chunk of time – we had to nudge the girls away after 20 minutes. Lucy spent most of the time collecting every toy fish she could get her hands on, and piling them at the top of one of the other water toys. Someone commented “it’s a good thing they didn’t include any of the toys that could squirt water”. I found a couple that did, however, and quietly moved those to a corner far, FAR away.
In the next exhibit, they had a massive pile of red foam bricks, suitable for building 10′ skyscrapers, and then knocking them down on your sibling. Once Lucy and Katherine starting going after the same four bricks, I had Katherine move to a corner where she could work by herself. She ended up building an 8×10 house out of bricks (minus a roof), complete with two windows and a door. It was at this point I wish I hadn’t forgotten the camera.
After a long period of this, we started shooing the girls on to other parts of the museum. They especially loved the ambulance – most of the working parts had been disconnected or disabled, but you could still climb in and around it.
Lucy also found the bubble column lots of fun. You step in, and pull down on a chain in the center. The chain raises a ring that is sitting in a circular pool of soap. If you do it right, you can completely encase yourself in a series of bubbles. Lucy didn’t have that kind of time, though. She would raise it about a foot, and then unceremoniously pop all of the bubbles, let go of the chain and do it again.
At lunch, CJ mentioned to Katherine that Ati was a history major, and was in college bowl for many years, so he knew a LOT about American History. Katherine took that as a challenge. After the third question about US Presidents, CJ suddenly interjected, “I’m sorry, Ati, did I mention that Katherine just read a book on Presidential trivia?”
Overall it was a wonderful morning spent with friends and family.