Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Noah's Ark at the Skirball

One of my favorite places to take E is the Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. I was very hesitant to check it out when a friend invited us to join her and her son. Hmmm...Noah's Ark...not really my thing. I was expecting it to have a more religious slant, but after my first visit I was hooked.

It is based on the basic Noah's Ark story, without really featuring Noah. The kids get to interact with and act out every aspect of the story as if they were the ones traveling at the time. From the storm to life on the ark it feels more like what it actually may have been like to take a ship in those days. They get to create the storm, build the ark, load the animals, climb the rafters and share a meal in the eating quarters. There is 8,000 square feet of exploration and interaction for kids of all ages to enjoy.

What's more, there is plenty for the parents to enjoy as well. Everything in the exhibit is built from recycled objects. The picture I've added above shows an alligator whose teeth are made of super glue tops and tongue is a violin. The elephant's tusk below is made from dim sum boxes. Every single time I go I notice something new, whether it is the fly swatter wings of a bird or a body made out a croquet ball.

The staff is amazing and are always around for questions or to show you and your kids a new way to enjoy the exhibit. When you enter, a staff member brings you in to tell the beginning of the story. Then they lead you down to the play area.

It is not easy for kids to wander off which allows you to relax and enjoy yourself without having to chase kids all over the exhibit. They also come around often with hand held animals for you to check out, tell a story, and will even bring out instruments for the kids to play.

In the farthest room there is a table set up with a different crafts from day to day. The last time I was there they had various items to turn an ordinary cup into an animal of your own to take home. In the same room is an area for even the littlest visitor to sit and enjoy, with a squishy mat and wooden blocks to play with.

As they like to keep the crowds down, which trust me makes it even more enjoyable for me, you must reserve tickets. You will get an entry and exit time, which I believe gives you a two hour window to explore the exhibit. The best way to book tickets is to go online to their website and make your reservation. Children under 2 are free, otherwise everyone else needs a ticket. Thursday's are always free, but you still need to go online and reserve a ticket. They fill up fast so you may end up needing to book tickets a month or more in advance.

I highly recommend Noah's Ark for kids of any age.
Babies, toddlers, and adults alike will have a blast.

Great Park in Irvine

I am subscribed to a website called lafreebee.com that sends out emails with free events all over Los Angeles. Most often they are events that don't really suit me, but occasionally an event will pique my interest.

The Great Park Balloon immediately caught my eye. The Great Park in Irvine is a recycled air field whose 1,347 acre span will inform guests about sustainability. In the summer they have concerts and in the winter they have an ice skating rink in the hangar located across from the balloon. When we were there they were working on a kids park next the balloon that should be done early this year.

The Great Park Balloon is one of the largest helium balloons in the world and the first of it's kind in the United States. It rises 500 feet in the air holding 25-30 passengers. It is appropriate for any age and even allows pets aboard. It was definitely a nerve wracking experience for me, as heights make me more than a little nervous. Yet, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. It was well worth it! The view is amazing and I would love to try it out again in the evening during which I heard the sunset views are incredible.

We drove out there at about 9 am and if you have far to travel might I recommend combining this venture with a trip to the Discovery Science Museum (more on that later) right off the 5 freeway. You can't miss the large cube visible from the freeway. The balloon itself only takes a few minutes depending on if there is a wait or not. We went first to the balloon and than to the science museum for lunch and some play time.

I would highly recommend both for any age child and is a lot of fun for the parents as well.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

To vaccinate or to not vaccinate?

My husband has always believed that it is just short of criminal not to vaccinate. It's harmful not only to the child, but to the community at large. Recently he posted a link, innocently enough, on a social networking site. He didn't expect the response he received. He'd always just believed and hadn't done a vast amount of research. When someone gave him a large number of claims he decided to set out to look into each an every one.

The result is the article below. As I was irritated that it took him away from me and E for the better part of a week, I am proud of what he accomplished. The information speaks for itself. It is important that people realize where anti-vaccination claims are actually coming from and that the news is hyping up fallacies. It may be good news to report the dangers of vaccines, and not at all entertaining to talk about what they accomplish, it is simply irresponsible and untrue.

If you disagree with vaccines, please take a look at the research. Everything he's referenced is from a highly reliable source. He and I welcome any one to inform us of anything that he may have not addressed or is not aware of. Please include links where available, as we are happy to look into anything new on the subject.