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.

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