Field trips just don’t get better than that.

I thought I was insane, giving in Gracie’s pleas to accompany her class on their field trip to the Science and Natural History Museum. When she later changed her mind (“Mooooommmm, you CAN’T go!”) and again (“I guess you can go… Hey! Can you sit next to me on the bus?”), I knew I had lost my mind. But how could I say no to both Gracie and her teacher, who is my new BFF? Unpossible. So I made arrangements to skip out on work, remembered that it wasn’t just Gracie’s class that was going but allll of the 3rd graders in her school, and started dreading the trip in earnest.

What in the world was I worried about? Me, Ms. G. – who I think was Kim and I’s twinner in a past life – and seven very gifted nerds. At a SCIENCE MUSEUM. Oh, and did I mention the visiting exhibit was Tornado Alley? Told it was the perfect field trip.

The museum had a cool wind machine that was shaped like a gigantic cylinder, with warm air gushing out of holes in the bottom and cool air being piped in from holes in the columns. You could see a foggy tornado that swirled around inside. And not only could you see it, but you were encouraged to disrupt it and watch how long it took to reform. They even pointed out on the installation card that even in a controlled environment such as this, the tornado never formed in the same place or at the same interval after being disrupted, which demonstrates how hard it is for weathermen and trained experts to predict tornadoes in “the wild.”

Another exhibit piped air at different stations and offered the kids different kinds of kites: coffee filters, beach balls, paper snow cone cups, etc., to see which would fly better, straighter, higher, etc. There were scissors offered, too, for the kids to experiment with different alterations. One of our 3rd graders – a third grader – used the scissors to cut a small section out of the base of the snow cone cup, essentially giving it a tail that wrapped around the bottom of the cup. Of course it flew better than an unaltered cup. (Do you see why I had such a good time? It was a bit like hanging out with goofy grownups who needed to be reminded to tuck their shirts in and who loved fart jokes.)

There was a hurricane chamber that looked a bit like a shower stall: it had a glass door and the back panel had pictures and a large speedometer. For two dollars, you could fit in four 3rd graders (or, um, two grownups), close the glass door, and watch them experience Category 1-force hurricane winds – up to 80 mph. For two bucks a pop, how could I not give all the kids a turn?!  Best $6 I spent all week. You should have seen their faces! I loved seeing which kids acted for the audience and which (ahem, Gracie’s “boyfriend”) were more focused on the speedometer and the correlating effects.

There was a dino dig with fossils buried in sand for the kids to excavate. There were all sorts of interactive monitors explaining this science thing and that science thing. (Hell – for all I know, some of them could have been about all the maths.) There was a room filled with exhibits about mining for natural gas – since we’re located on the Barnet Shale and gas mining is a huge part of life here, I guess that was kind of neat. Although I despise all the inconvenience of it and I’m constantly fighting with the trucks on my narrow two-laned road, so that room was kind of like watching a Yankees game. Although I will say, the 4D ride next door about Energy Blasters was pretty fun – mostly because I loved hearing the kids scream. Heh.

But my absolute favorite – aside from getting to know Gracie’s geeky little friends, and aside from constantly being amazed by the extremely grown-up-ish things that kept coming out of their mouths, and aside from how well-behaved they were and how thirsty for learning new things they were – my favorite was the Imax presentation we saw after lunch.

You guys.

It was the Imax movie made by StormChasers Sean Casey.

The one Kim and I have been mocking for years.

I had so freakin’ much fun watching that thing, especially with Gracie – a recent convert – right next to me. She yelled out said somewhat quietly, but hey, it’s Imax and sound kinda bounces, “Hey! I KNOW HIM!” about a dozen times. And she kept guessing, “That was an EF2, right Mom?” whenever a tornado was shown. And at the beginning when they were showing off the speakers and how you could turn the Imax theater into a rain forest or a symphony hall or a tornado – and there were cows mooing as they “flew” by – Gracie even contributed, “We’ve gotta go, Julia: we’ve got cows!” Since the movie was narrated by Bill Paxton, I had to chuckle.

So, yes, it was a perfect field trip. Somebody’s gotta break it to Bee-girl: after my experience yesterday, I’m thinking about retiring from field trips altogether. There’s just no way any other field trip is going to compare after that.

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3 Responses to “Field trips just don’t get better than that.”

  1. Agent Torklepants Says:

    I want a pet tornado. And are you kidding me?! You know how amazin bee would be at hurricaning?! Id also love to hear her explanation of how everything.works lol.

  2. Kathy Says:

    Sounds like a ton ‘o fun. Those are the best kinds of field trips. I think I owe it to Eli to tag along on one of his trips this year. Not looking forward to it all that much, but maybe it will turn out awesome like your trip did.

  3. gayle Says:

    That sounds like an awesome field trip!

    Things here are good. I owe you an email!

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