I went on a field trip today with my Second Grader to The Children’s Museum in West Hartford, CT. I chaperoned, but only had to watch one other kid besides my own. It’s a girl I’ve already met and like, who is also friends with my daughter.
We first investigated their “Now Eye See It” exhibit, which focused on experimenting with color and light. There were optical illusions, a giant “Light Brite” type board, a 3-D mural and cards, and a number of other types of exhibits.
Next we headed to the animal exhibits. There were some glass cases outside the doors containing tarantula’s and a bird-eating spider, which I avoided at all costs. I saw a portion of each of their legs and that was FAR more than I wanted to see. There were also giant hissing cockroaches, and scorpions.
The first room we visited had mostly snakes with a few lizards mixed in. The little girl with us loves snakes and was very excited to see them all. My daughter and I were more excited to see the furry animals. There was a chinchilla, a sugar glider, two fennec foxes — our favorites, rabbits and a groundhog. There was a bobcat, but it was out at an exhibit or visiting the vet so we didn’t get to see it.
We also went to the reptile room to see more lizards and snakes, some of which were huge. We then headed for a large room divided into sections that have to do with building and electricity. It’s at the bottom of the giant Foucault pendulum that hangs in the staircase. There is a racetrack for Lego cars, giant building blocks similar to Lincoln Logs, and a couple of tables of snap circuit pieces and blueprints to build different things. The favorite was a motor that launched a plastic propeller into the air when you touched it from underneath.
At 11 we went to the Gengras Planetarium for a show called “Dancing with Dinosaurs,” which honestly seemed more aimed at preschoolers than second graders. The parts where they showed stars, planets and galaxies before the presentation were as amazing as all planetariums are, but the show itself we weren’t crazy about.
After the planetarium we had a quick lunch, and then headed into one of the classrooms for an animal demonstration. The man holding the class was great. He worked to keep the kids under control, made jokes, taught about the animals and generally put on a good show that didn’t feel like a class at all. They saw an iguana, a box turtle, a milk snake, a stick bug, an Amazon Bullfrog (a female actually) and a Chinchilla. Yes, she wasn’t a reptile like most of the others, but she was very pretty. We learned that Chincillas have the softest fur on earth, and that it would take 40 of their hairs to make up the width of one of our hairs!
Before leaving, we visited Connie the whale out front and took pictures. The kids all got to go inside her and climb around, and run up and down a huge hill. The bus ride home was not as quiet as I had hoped since the kids should have been worn out but they’re good kids so it wasn’t too bad.
We had a great time on the trip, and it was so much fun to spend the day with my daughter. I look forward to her next trip later this year. We’re going to the zoo!