Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This was a super fun trip! We started the American History museum today. We spent quite a bit of time in the "Inventions at Play" exhibit, and our kids made a lot of neat stuff, especially with the tiled mirror patterns and the whirligigs.

We then went to the Spark Lab where the kids did two experiments, one with the Cartesian Diver and one looking at acid/base indicators and carbonization of water.

The Cartesian Diver is the one where you have a carefully weighted tube with a little air in it. When you place it in a sealed container of water, you can compress the container, thereby adding pressure to the air in the tube. The compressed air is denser, so your "diver" sinks. When you release the pressure, the air expands and and the "diver" rises.

The other experiment I had never seen. They put an acid/base indicator in water, and then dropped in some dry ice. The water changed to a dramatic blue - the acid color - because the dry ice was releasing carbon dioxide into the water thereby forming carbonic acid! Plus, it was foaming and bubbling and giving off mist, how cool is that?!

Spark labs, if you've never been there, is also full of science toys to play with. Our kids were very into that, but I was even more pleased that, when a large group of younger kids came in, our kids helped them with the science stuff.

We next did the new exhibit on paper engineering. This is an exhibit that didn't look like much at first, but ended up being more amazing the longer you looked. It was all pop up books and books with moving parts. Did you know that these things have been around since the 1400s?! My favorite was a Christmas book that folded into a "carousel" of the Nativity story in intricate silhouette, but I also liked the one that folded out into a dollhouse. The Big Pop Up Book of Phobias was also not to be missed. Kinda.

UPDATE: I can't believe it! That carousel book I loved can be seen here! But it can be bought for less than $12 here!!!

Did I mention we saw Stanley? We did.

While they had been doing the Spark Lab, Stephanie and I took turns stealing away into Julia Child's kitchen. That was fantastic, but we blabbed about it, and all the kids wanted to go, and it was wonderful, but we ended up getting back ten minutes late, and now we want to cook something really nice for dinner, which is a problem for me because the kid of the week has hot dogs scheduled for today.. .

And we're going back next week!!!!!

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