Thursday, January 15, 2009

The South Carolina Children's Museum

As I mentioned in my previous post, we gave Ryan the opportunity to choose what special family activity he would like to do last Saturday in honor of his birthday. He didn't have a party or anything extravagant this year, so this seemed like a good idea to make his birthday special.

Ryan decided he would like to visit the South Carolina Children's Museum. I have never been to any other children's museums so I have absolutely no comparison, but I think ours is very nice and there is enough there to keep the kids preoccupied for a good portion of the day. We don't go very often so it is kind of a special thing when we do visit. Plus, it isn't cheap for all five of us to pay admission. Avery is no longer free - bummer!

The first exhibit you come to is a life-size firetruck that the kids can climb in and "drive." There is even a little corner where you can pull on real firefighter clothing before you board the truck. The girls had no interest in getting dressed up as firefighters but this is one thing Ryan always insists on doing each time we visit. So we waited a good half hour around the fire truck until he was in proper apparel to fight fires, save cats from trees, etc. One thing Ryan is not is quick in any shape or form!

He got to the fireman pole that he had just watched a two-year-old girl shimmy down seconds earlier, contemplating whether or not to try it. In the end, he just stood there at the top deciding it would just be too risky!

And then it was on to the farming area of the museum where the kids can do a variety of things like sit on a tractor, milk a cow...

Pick peaches (or in my kid's case, throw peaches at the tree)...

And plant a variety of root vegetables...

The museum always has special exhibits that they change out every three months or so. Right now the special exhibit is "Snowville." They had a room where kids can throw "snowballs" and slide down an ice fort while real snow falls from the ceiling. It's kind of cool for a state that rarely sees snow.

They had a special corner dedicated to penguins and the two girls saw those and immediately ran over. Once Emma went for one of the giant penguins, Avery was right there with her trying to carry around a penguin that was bigger than she was.

They also had a special little playhouse with a fake fireplace burning inside and this little play kitchen, rocking chairs and a bunch of girly stuff. The girls enjoyed baking and eating muffins.

And Emma took good care of the snowman that lived there, tucking him in the cradle and rocking him to sleep.

Ryan even had the chance to play ice hockey...

Then it was off to do some grocery shopping. They have this very cute set-up with all sorts of dry goods, baked goods, fresh produce and meat products and even frozen foods organized in a life-like grocery store. Complete with child size grocery carts and check-out stations, all three of the kids got busy.

As you can see Emma is an impulse buyer like her mom! She had difficulty balancing her pie and cake selections on top of her other purchases - but made it work one way or another!

Ryan hit up all of the junk food - pie, cake and ice cream to name a few!

And then you have our youngest, thriftiest shopper. As you can see, Emma is still lugging her full cart around in the background searching for anything she might have missed as Avery quietly checks out her sub sandwich, wedge of cheese and a couple of doughnuts.

On the second level of the museum, they have many educational exhibits where children can learn about healthy foods, taking care of their teeth, bones and so on.

The giant game of Operation is available for kids to try to remove the bones without setting off the buzzer. I, of course, played a round before Emma and Ryan took turns!

Emma did a very thorough job in surgery. She didn't care if the buzzer was going off constantly, she was going to get that bone out one way or another.

Here is a shot of Emma inspecting the poor dental victim and Ryan raids the storage drawers for any loot. I think he came up empty handed.

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