University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History

University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History is officially in its new home & OPEN! We have been dying to see it! We finally did! Check it….

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This prehistoric power couple features two unusually complete mastodon skeletons — a male and a female, both discovered and excavated with help from U-M scientists, within a few hours’ drive from Ann Arbor!

Only place in the world where you can see a male and female mastodon skeleton side-by-side

 

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What’s more, the On the Trail of Mastodons exhibit is the only place in the world where you can see a male and female mastodon skeleton side-by-side and see a mastodon skeleton paired with a mastodon trackway. These footprints were cast from a trail left by a mastodon near Saline, Michigan. This is the only mastodon trackway ever found!

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What’s more, you can step into a cast of a separate mastodon footprint and touch a cast-replica of an eight-foot mastodon tusk. You can also learn how U-M paleontologist Daniel Fisher and his team use tusks to learn how these amazing creatures lived and what factors may have led to their extinction.

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How cool is this? You can not only get a glimpse into the awesome process of preparing fossils but you can actually interact with the professionally-trained preparators in the lab.

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Evolution, Life Through Time was a bit out there….but, you need to visit &judge for yourself!

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At 25 feet long with a 35-foot wingspan, the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus northropi rivals a small airplane in size and is one of the largest winged animals to ever have lived.

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Reconstructed from fossil bones discovered in Texas, the life-sized model demonstrates what it would have been like seeing these enormous flying reptiles swoop and dive overheard. Step onto the bridge over the West Atrium for a closer look directly into its eye…if you’re feeling brave!

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Planetarium & Dome Theater….we learned about the night sky! Tickets are $8 available in the Museum Store.

And there’s Food!….just through the doors to the left

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And shopping!!

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University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Address: Biological Sciences Building, 1105 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1085

Phone: 734-764-0478

Website: https://lsa.umich.edu/ummnh

Museum Hours: Monday-Sunday 9AM-5PM

Admission: Free (suggestion donation of $6)

Parking: Good luck, lol! Just kidding…there is a parking garage on Forest Ave. Cost us $6

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Defiance Ohio FREE Splash Pad

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Safe, Fun, & FREE! This Splash Pad checks all the boxes! Located at Bronson Park which is roughly 45-50 minutes away from Toledo, the Defiance Splash Pad is a mom’s dream comes true! You can bring in food, the equipment accommodates an entire family (baby-adult), and you can sunbathe or chill in the shade!

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The Splash Pad is divided into 4 areas, there is the initial, large splash pad area where older kids & even adults can comfortably cool off alongside the younger kiddos, and there is a baby area, toddler area, & playground space.

 

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You can pack snacks/picnic lunch and eat at shaded table. Or better yet, stop off beforehand at one of their local restaurants or coffee establishments (http://www.cabinfevercoffee.com/menu/ )

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DEETS

Defiance Ohio Splash Pad

Address: 2104 Power Dam Road Defiance, Ohio 43512

Hours: 9AM-9PM (Open through the end of September)

ADA Accessible: Splash pad is wheelchair & stroller friendly

Additional Amenities: Changing rooms & restrooms

 

Though, it should could come with a warning…it’s so much fun kids don’t want to leave! Be prepared for dirty looks and some crying when it’s time to go. That pout is classic, lol!

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Michigan Science Center

“Awesome!”, “Cool!”, “Amazing!” those are the replies my 11, 9, & 6 year olds gave when asked what they thought about their experience at Michigan Science Center. Michigan Science Center is a hands-on STEM based museum located in Detroit, Michigan. We ventured up there and had the pleasure of partaking in their Glow Night. Glow Nights are special evening hours, 6-9pm, with discounted pricing (now through the 6th of Jan.), and some added Holiday fun. But best off all it provided us the opportunity to see what amazing exhibits, displays, and activities one can do, see, interact with, & even make at Michigan Science Center (MiSci).

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Our visit…..

First Stop-  Engineering

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Kiddos had a blast venturing across the 80-foot-long Mini Mac Bridge, traveling the roundabout, working the U.S. Steel Fun Factory and more…..

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Next Stop-Health & Wellness

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We discovered the importance of good nutrition and fitness, uncovered some of the hidden factors that affect our health both now and in the future, we learned how to make smart choices to improve our health, and had fun whacking sugar & fats!

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Then we were off to the final Frontier-Space

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We had a glimpse of the wonders of the universe and the history of human space travel….the rest of it was located on a level below us that wasn’t open in the evening…thus, we totally have to go back!

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We enjoyed learning about the constellation in the winter sky and about Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, during the Planetarium show. Dassault Systèmes Planetarium features a Digistar® II projection system with 13,000-watt Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and a 50-foot-wide, three-story-high-dome, and comfy chairs.

Our final stop, Creatures of Light exhibit! (This special exhibit Ends Jan. 15th)

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We voyaged to the otherworldly realm of bioluminescence — the creation of light by living organisms. We traveled through summer meadows, learned why Fireflies glow, ventured into a cave to see worms glowing, and the deep sea to explore this incredible natural phenomenon.

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Glow Night was the perfect sampling of MiSci and it left us longing for more…so in order to satiate our appetite for science and fun we are already planning our next visit and it will include seeing….

Kidstruction

Kidstruction -Become an engineer and create structures with large vinyl blocks, giant planks, k’nex and more. Use tablets to experiment with design and participate in our building challenges. Included with paid general admission

Spark!Lab

Through hands-on activities, interactions with facilitators, and even conversations with inventors from the community, children and families engage in the process of invention. The self-led exploration that happens in this interactive space creates environments that support the creative and collaborative thinking so important to invention and entrepreneurship. Spark!Lab Smithsonian is where science center visitors become inventors and innovators.

Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre

Feel like you’re a part of the action. Showing films that entertain, educate and inspire, Michigan’s only IMAX® dome theatre surrounds audiences with an experience that thrills students and adults alike. Its 67.5-foot-wide, five-story high screen, modern stadium-style seating and state-of-the art technology creates an ultimate movie experience not to be missed!

We can’t wait to go back! Intrigued? Want to learn more? Perhaps plan your trip to MiSci today? Here are all the details….

Details

Phone:  (313) 577-8400

Address: 5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202

Website: http://www.mi-sci.org/

Admission: General admission is $14/adult, $11/child 12 and under or senior citizen (60+). Children under age two are free. (If you have an Imagination Station Membership you will receive 50% OFF!! It is advised to use your discount and just pay a la carte for the IMAX ($6per person) & the Planetarium shows ($6 per person)…your savings is deeper with this option as opposed to waiving your discount and going with one of the packages they offer…I found the website admission info slightly confusing so I gave them a call and a lovely woman walked me through the admission options over the phone). They also offer 3 different package prices online that do provide a slight discounts, click on link to view those, http://www.mi-sci.org/visit/#admissions

Hours:  Jan. 7 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Jan. 8 – 11 Closed for maintenance

Jan. 9 Normal hours resume:

M-T Closed

W-F 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

 Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

 Sun noon-6 p.m.

Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Day 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Parking: http://www.mi-sci.org/visit/parking/

Amenities: Lockers, Coat Racks, & Café

 

Upcoming Events:

After Dark: Come spend your Third Thursday at After Dark, their monthly happy hour for ages 21+ only, while exploring exciting science concepts.

Upcoming After Dark dates and themes:

  • January 19 – Vintage Video Games
  • February 16 – Mardi Gras

FX Xpereince: Don’t miss out on MSC new FX: Family Xperience series the first Saturday of every month! All activities are included with paid general admission. Click on link to see schedule of events for 2017, http://www.mi-sci.org/discover/fx-family-experience/

Looking for more fun Indoor Adventures in SE Michigan and NW Ohio this winter? Click Here

 

Spoiled Rotten!

Last week the kiddos had parent teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile my father had work and mother had a work conference in Columbus. Thankfully our parent teacher conferences with the kiddo’s teachers were scheduled for Thursday. So when my mom brought up the idea of me and the kiddos driving down on Friday, hanging out, and staying the night with them I couldn’t refuse!

I packed our bags. And my little helpers helped make lunches for the road and each selected two items to occupy their time in the car.  I have learned, mostly through trial and error, that in order to limit the potty breaks I do not pass out liquids until at least an hour into the trip (once we spent 45 minutes at a rest stop…it took so long to get the 3 year old to use an automatic flushing toilet that by the time she finally did the 6 & 7 year old had to go potty again…never again!). So we started off our trip with the Rosary, then some fun music, lunch (in the car), and we were there! No potty breaks!!  That was the first time that ever happened so we definitely started off the trip on a positive note! It really is the little things in life that can bring much joy, haha!

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As soon as we arrived it was a whirlwind of fun! First we headed to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). I have been going to COSI since I was my kids’ age.  But what made this trip special and different from all the past trips to COSI was that I would be going with my dad! See when I was a kid my mom would take us while my dad worked.  But this time my dad got to join me with my kiddos. And let me tell you there is nothing more sacred than watching your father enjoy watching his grandchildren.  It is in those moments that there is confirmation that I am a part of something much bigger than I or this world.  The children had a blast!  We managed to go through almost every exhibit…Curious George, water play space, gears and industry, energy, etc.

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Exploring science can really build up an appetite.  So for dinner we went to The Cheesecake Factory! The food was amazingly delicious and best part, I did not have to prepare, cook, set, clear, or clean a thing! It gets better. After dinner we headed back to the Hilton for an evening swim.  And everyone knows that after a long day of science exploration, a full belly, and a swim a child will sleep peacefully. And that is precisely what all 3 did! Granted I wasn’t too far behind them but it was the most relaxing evening I had had in a long time. I didn’t have to do laundry, tidy from the day, or prepare for the next day. In fact when we came back from our swim there were chocolates on our beds and a weather forecast for the next day….did I mention I was totally pampered!? Wonder if my hubby would start doing this at home because this is something a girl could definitely get used to, right ladies? Ha-ha!

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We woke up had breakfast…and again, I didn’t have to prepare, clear, or clean…spoiled rotted, right!? Then we went back for another swim where I enjoyed a Starbucks poolside…can you get any more spoiled than that? Yes!

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We then perused Easton and all the wonders it has to offer…which is a lot. The girls ventured to the American Girl store while the boys went to the Lego store. Well, let me rephrase that, the girls tried to go to the America Girl store.  There was a line around both sides of the store just to get in. Can we say ridiculous? What gives people? So we did the second best thing and at least got a picture in front of the store….what can I say, I had clearly grown accustom to the pampered lifestyle. Lol!

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So we joined the boys at the Lego store where our son was building his own Lego men.  The store was pretty cool and the prices weren’t bad at all. Nana and Papa even treated the kiddos to Lego kits and cases which occupied their time the entire way home. 

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Then it was getting to be close to our departure time. But not before being spoiled one last time. My dad paid for and pumped my gas for me…how awesome is that? I was sad to see our time end. It was so much fun spending time together. I especially treasured witnessing the relationships between my parents and my children be nurtured, truly priceless!

The big question…

I had been pampered and spoiled for the past 24 hours how was I ever going to acclimate myself to my past life?  I had to go back to cooking, cleaning, tidying, preparing, a chocolate free bed, no fluffy white robes, no breakfast ready in the morning, and no Starbucks poolside, no pool….how was I going to manage? Lol!

Thankfully none of my skills that I had acquired prior to this trip where lost and I did manage to acclimate to my old lifestyle but I will forever treasure my time of pampering in Columbus Ohio.

When was the last time you were pampered? Isn’t it funny what you consider pampering as a parent? Prior to having children would you have considered going out to eat as pampering?