Well, we have a field trip pretty much every day, but this was an extra-special one!
Lucien and I were both visiting for the first time, and we both had a blast! There was so much to explore. Our first stop was a traveling exhibit all about the science of roller coasters. They had balls! And we got to roll them down roller coaster tracks! We counted to three and then Lucien rolled one ball and I rolled another. We compared the speed of different tracks. We saw which shapes of loops made for the best coasters. It was a blast! Baby doll helped roll some of the balls, too! We talked about the force of gravity and the force of inertia. Then we went to another part of the exhibit hall where we got to assemble out own track and test our theories.
The next exhibit we visited was all about the history of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. Here Lucien is pretending to pound some mochi (a sweet rice dish) in a traditional bowl. I was so thrilled to find this exhibit because it tied in perfectly to one of the library books we have been reason lately – My Grandfather’s Journey – which is about man who came to the United States from Japan. (It is a very sweet story about the desire to adventure, homesickness, and roots. Lucien and I can relate personally to the story – we talk about adventuring between Hawaii and Wisconsin, and missing one place when we are in the other.)
We moved on to the Hawaiian gallery, where Lucien found a plethora of hands-on activities. He tried on traditional clothing.
(This is particularly funny, as in one of Lucien’s favorite Little Critter books, Little Critter visits the museum with his mom and gets in trouble when he tries on one of the traditional costumes that were for display only. Lucien was thrilled that we were actually permitted to wear these clothes!)
We made traditional tapestry patterns using wooden shape blocks. We pretended to mash breadfruit, cut open yams, and scrape coconuts, just like the native Hawaiians. We built our own ships using sails, decks, and hulls, and then pretended to sail the ocean just like the native Hawaiians.
Lucien was fascinated by the model of a heiau. (Hawaiian religious building). We have visited the site of a heiau before (for hiking and foraging papaya), but he had never seen what the traditional building looked like.
We visited the science center, where we climbed inside a model volcano and got to watch how eruptions happen. Then we climbed to the tree house in the upper level and looked through binoculars at all the species of animals that live in Hawaii’s forests. We talked about native and invasive species to Hawaii, and Lucien even got to dress up. Here he is as an ‘O’opu fish, a native species.
Finally, we visited the planetarium. Lucien was enthralled. We watched a show geared for preschool- and elementary-aged children. We learned all about the planets and their orbits, how gravity keeps planets and moons in orbit (and us on the ground!). We learned about he stars and constellations in the night sky. We learned about the moon and its phases, and how it reflects the light from the sun. That part was total review for Lucien 🙂 We even learned about meteors and how they burn up in the atmosphere because of the heat of friction. This knowledge turned out to be germane later in the day, when Lucien asked my why his car was called a Hot Wheels. Science FTW!