Posts Tagged ‘dinosaurs’

Dinosaurs to butterflies

June 11, 2014

Today we spent most of our time at the American Museum of Natural History.

To me, it’s the museum where Ross from Friends worked. My children gave me blank stares when I said that, though – to them, it’s the museum which comes alives in Night At The Museum.  Either way, it’s an exciting place to visit.

First, of course, you have to get there…

We are staying near the UN, and were awake reasonably early so wandered over to Rockefeller Plaza to see the Today Show being filmed. It seemed like they had finished all the outdoor segments when we got there, so there wasn’t all that much to see.  We found the metro station and hopped on a train going towards the museum. It promptly sped right past the museum and another 40-odd blocks! A kind New Yorker sitting across from us laughed and said “You need a local train! Everybody does this – it’s a New York ritual.” He helped us find a local train going back in the other direction, and so finally we found the museum.

We decided to get some morning tea before going in, and found some nice cafes in Amsterdam Ave a little north of the museum, before wandering back.

We were exceedingly fortunate to be gifted passes to the museum which allowed us into the exhibitions as well.  We had a very full day indeed!

Look at all those teeth!

Look at all those teeth!

First stop had to be the Dinosaur halls.  It was very exciting to see all the dinosaur bones, but the halls were very very noisy and Babess began to get quite upset.  Fortunately, it was soon time for us to see the Pterosaurs exhibition, which was much quieter.  This was a fascinating exhibition for all ages.  The children particularly enjoyed the interactive stations where they could “fly like a pterosaur”.

Pearl glides like a pterosaur over rivers looking for fish

Pearl glides like a pterosaur over rivers looking for fish.

Fainjin did very well, even managing to catch a fish!

Fainjin did very well, even managing to catch a fish!





We had lunch in the museum foodcourt, which we won’t say too much about.  Then we had tickets to the IMAX show, “Mysteries of the Unseen World“.  It was my first ever IMAX show, and I really enjoyed it, although I had my usual trouble with 3D films and occasionally had to look away or take off the glasses to rest my eyes.  The kids were fascinated and repulsed by turns.  We all agreed the scene where the owl approaches on the hunt was one of the best – we all leaned back in our seats to avoid its talons!  Pearl was especially disgusted to learn of all the “things” floating about in the air we breathe, though – particularly “insect parts” which were graphically illustrated and massively magnified.

In between exhibitions we enjoyed viewing some of the museum’s permanent displays, particularly the dioramas of the larger mammals.

We also went to the planetarium show, but by this stage Babess & Fainjin were tired and they didn’t like the dark theatre and the scary noises & music as the narrator talked about dark energy & dark matter.

For “something completely different” we went to the Butterfly Conservatory and watched beautiful creatures flit around (and on) us.

This one picked The Dad's orange shirt as camouflage!

This one picked The Dad’s orange shirt as camouflage!

Immediately outside the butterfly enclosure, we spotted some familiar shapes… a moa! and a kiwi! and tui! kereru! ruru! piwakawaka! It was a diorama of NZ birds including all our favourites and several we see at home (although not the moa so much, of course).  It was quite cheering to see a piece of home represented in this huge museum nearly halfway across the world.

After a compulsory stop at the museum shop (I think the children believe the sole purpose of this whole trip is for them to buy soft toys, and that my sole job is to thwart them in their desire to bring back several cubic metres each of plush), we headed out into the warm New York afternoon and made our way south through Central Park.

We paused at Strawberry Fields, which is always busy and always has buskers playing Beatles songs.  I tried to get a photo of the kids all together, but Fainjin has decided that he won’t be in any family photos and that he will scowl in any photos I do get of him (unless he forgets, which fortunately is fairly often).  It is most frustrating and disappointing, and I think he will regret it in years to come.  Any time I get a shot lined up, he runs out of it.

Fainjin & Babess run for joy in Central Park

Fainjin & Babess run for joy in Central Park

Another pause came a little later, this one accompanied by icecreams and the chance to watch a man make GIANT bubbles.  When we reached the end of the park, we went into FAO Schwarz (of course) – just looking, you understand… and it was really so overwhelming that the children just wanted everything they could see and decided on nothing, which was fine.

We had considered going to a Broadway show tonight, but we were all worn out from our big day, so we walked down 5th Avenue instead, goggling at Tiffany & Co, Trump Tower et al, and came home for dinner, baths and bed.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Building immunity

October 15, 2012

Fainjin skidded his scooter to a stop near me in the driveway.  His hair needs a cut again, it was sticking up through the ventilation holes in his helmet.

“Mum!” he said with an air of gravitas.  “I was scootering down here and I hit a rock, and it bounced away.  I licked it – ”

“You what?!”

” – and it didn’t stick to my tongue, so it’s probably not a fossil.”

“Ah.  Right.  Checking for fossils.  Well.  I think licking rocks to check for fossils is probably best left for palaentological digs, ok?  Please don’t lick the rocks in the garden.”

“Why not?”

I sighed to myself.  Why not indeed?  What reasoning could possibly make sense to a five-year-old boy who has decided that there might be dinosaur bones just lying around in our driveway?

Bless him.

He got the idea – to lick rocks, not that our driveway might harbour T-Rex remains – from a talk on dinosaurs at Questacon last month.  The speaker said that it can be hard to tell fossils from ordinary rocks, so sometimes palaentologists will touch rocks to their tongues.  Fossils are slightly porous, he said, and will stick to the tongue slightly, whereas rocks don’t.

I wonder how many other kids who were at that talk have been going around licking random rocks?

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Nana won’t be impressed either

August 17, 2012

This evening over dinner, Fainjin was struck by a thought.


“Yes, Fainjin?”

“Did you know, that really really long ago, when you were born…”

“Mmmm, that wasn’t that long ago!”

“… There were dinosaurs!”

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Dinosaur hat!

June 19, 2012

I’m pretty pleased with this, given that I didn’t really have a pattern and just made it up as I went along.  More importantly, though, Fainjin is very pleased indeed.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Fainjin’s badges

January 27, 2012

Fainjin and Pearl went to a badge-making and sewing class today.  Here are Fainjin’s efforts.  I’m told the dinosaurs are a tyrannosaurus rex and a brachiosaurus, but I have to confess I’m not sure which is which.

The two fire-engines are incredibly cute, and the bee on the flower was made especially for Babess, who was delighted and honoured and insisted on wearing it for the rest of the day.

At the top of the picture you can just see the edge of the “glasses case” (drawstring bag) that he did in the sewing class in the afternoon.  He was a bit worried about the sewing – this morning he said to me, “But Mummy, my stitches are all too big…”.  However, he has done really well, and I don’t think his stitches are big at all!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Fainjin’s birthday

January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Fainjin!

Fainjin is five today.  Apparently he was hoping for a dinosaur-fire-fighter cake, but a banana cake with my first attempt at cream-cheese icing and dinosaur lollies on top was nonetheless well-received.

His best friend from daycare, M, came over for a playdate which went very well.  It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and the kids played happily outside for quite a while before coming in to enjoy the new birthday toys and Christmas presents.  When M’s family came to collect him, we sang and cut the cake, and socialised some more.

It was an unintentionally dinosaur-themed birthday: he received several dinosaur-related presents from different people, including one rather noisy one.  He and Pearl have spent a large part of the evening playing “dinosaur families” – there are two large dinosaurs and 18 small ones – making sure the “children” are fed (quote, “I’ve got some fresh meat for the babies!”) and giving them rides on the big dinosaurs’ backs.

And yet it seems like yesterday he was just learning to crawl…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


December 30, 2011

Fainjin has a friend who is dinosaur-obsessed.  He has learnt a lot from this friend.  We found out just how much when he received a box of plastic toy dinosaurs for Christmas.

Actually, Babess must have learnt a bit too.  She appeared in the kitchen to ask, “Mummy, why are dere two pteranodons?”

There’s not really a good answer to that question.

The Dad was helping Fainjin count and sort the dinosaurs, and afterward asked me with a puzzled expression, “So… are kids just born knowing all the dinosaur names?!”

Today Fainjin drew me a picture.  He was very proud of it, and wanted to label it himself, so I had to spell out the words for him.

Long Neck Ankylosaurus (but you could read that yourself)

“It’s like a ankylosaurus, but it has a long neck, so it’s a Ankylosaurus Long Neck.” (He wrote Ankylosaurus first, then had to write the rest above because he’d run out of room.)  I love the detail in the clubbed tail.

Fainjin’s Christmas thank-you letters are also decorated with dinosaur drawings, which I have been called upon to label for him.  He told me one was a “‘plodocus”, so I wrote “Diplodocus”, and he lovingly ran his finger along the word, repeating “‘plodocus, ‘plodocus”.

He is so ready for school.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


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