Monday, June 4, 2012

Trip to the New Museum

The new Nature Research Center at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences opened on the same weekend that grandparents were visiting. We didn't go to the opening ceremony since neither of us enjoys all the commotion, the crowds and the traffic inevitable at such events. Instead, I took M there a couple of weeks ago.
The Center is not completely finished yet, so the fourth floor and the rooftop are still closed to visitors. But there's still plenty to see. Although I think that this part of the museum is most appropriate for older kids. The main draw of the Center is its labs. Each floor has several science labs that are open to visitors on a rotating basis. The day we were there, we got to check out a few experiments with mosquito larvae and dig through rodents' bones to try to identify them.

Some other labs aren't open to visitors, but instead scientists work in them and we get to observe their work "in real time". There is also a three-story multimedia area (inside the huge globe) where scientists present their research and talk about their projects and anyone can ask questions. We got to listen to a story about studying kinkachus (and they do look as cute as they sound!)

The real nice part about the set up of the new Center is that it has a raised walkway to the main building. Oh, and on the first floor there's a mock-up of a research submersible and when you get inside you watch a short movie about a dive.

And on the third floor there are some giant viruses (ok, not real) and a lab where they let you play FoldIt and a microbiology lab. And on the second floor (I almost forgot to mention) there's this Science Panorama that shows live satellite images from NASA and NOAA satellites (and you get to choose what you want to see). Plus lots and lots more as things are constantly being added and fine-tuned. I can't wait to go back!

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