Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week 24, day 2

Tuesday: Science. We had fun today! The theme at Titmouse Club was butterflies, and the children were given milkweed plants to take home as well as doing a butterfly craft. On the nature walk we saw two large frogs and two water snakes. Very cool. On P's 5-a-day math review we discussed how 9-7=2 and 9-2=7, and investigated similar patterns. After lunch, I read most of the Eloise Wilkin Stories to P and E while B napped. When he finally woke up, we headed to HMNS to enjoy the butterfly center. It was really a fantastic place - I'd never been there before (it costs extra, but totally worth it). There's a "hall of entomology" before you get into the butterfly greenhouse, with a wide variety of impressive live insects in plexiglass cages - Atlas beetles, hissing cockroaches, giant katydids, jewel scarab beetles, and more. The butterfly greenhouse itself had probably 30 different species of butterflies, about half of which we saw today. The kids observed the proboscis on several butterflies extending as they fed and then curling up once they were done. They also saw a beehive where you could see the bees hard at work putting their honey into the comb and flying out through a sealed tube to the outside to gather nectar. In addition, there was a large caged green iguana (it was actually orange, but the species name is green), which coexists with the butterflies because it is herbivorous. They let it out at night after the visitors are gone, lest it bite in self-defense. Once we got back to the hall of entomology, we noticed that there was a chrysalis section with several hundred chrysalids in the process of metamorphosis. We saw a freshly emerged butterfly whose wings were still completely crumpled, and one that was almost ready to fly but still just a touch wrinkled. When the butterfly center closed, the rest of the museum was still open, so we went to the hall of gems and minerals. A docent informed me that it was the best in the world, and I'm willing to believe him - it's arranged in stunning beauty, darkened except for individual lights illuminating each impressive mineral sample. It's fascinating for someone like me with some geology background, and eye candy for small children as well. If I didn't have small people to keep track of, I could stay all day, and P would have been willing to stay longer, but E was getting restless, so we went home.

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