We were amazed with how awesome the Albuquerque science museum was! It was so great, in fact, we spent 2 days there since one just wasn’t enough. So much to explore and learn!
Explora Science Museum
The museum entrance had such a neat ball rolling mouse trap game contraption in it. There were so many moving parts and different routes that the balls could take. There were two different places where viewers could manipulate the balls to go at a certain pace and the girls loved that. It was mesmerizing and so fascinating to watch that we stayed there for almost a half hour.
There was a whole section of the museum on water, light, bubbles and wind. The water section included manipulating objects to create and explore mock waterfalls, rivers and whirlpools. One of our favorites was a display that allowed the girls the learn about locks within canals. Locks are so fascinating to me and such a simple concept.
In their section on light they played with primary and secondary colors within shadows and shadow boxes. There were narrow light beams that they could manipulate with different shaped objects getting the feel for how a lighthouse works. There were also light sensitive white boards that the girls could draw on with flashlights. I love these things!! They are so magical and the fact that your creation starts fading immediately makes it that much more mystical.
Throughout the museum they had lots of beautiful artwork in the form of 2D and 3D. Many of the sculptures were interactive which was fun! Many you pushed a button and the sculpture would start moving. For instance, a man in a canoe would start paddling as his canoe rocked. It was a fun little touch.
Our first day at the museum was drawing to a close and we hadn’t even looked at the second floor yet. We decided we should at least peak up there before we left. As the girls and I were walking over to the flight of stairs I caught a glimpse of something amazing in the elevator we were passing. I thought my mind must be playing tricks on me. I thought I saw a piano in the elevator. Surely either my mind was playing tricks or this was a giant service elevator that guests aren’t allowed to ride on. I wanted to be sure so I brought everyone around and attempted to push the up button. I saw no signs saying that guests weren’t allowed on it so I thought we’d try. Sure enough, the elevator opened and, OH MY! What a shocker!!
The elevator was a giant room holding 2 couches, glow tables, a disco ball with party lights AND a piano with a plexiglass front allowing players to see the mechanics behind the instrument! Amazing!!! This is by far the coolest elevator we had ever been in!!
The upstairs was full of bubbles!! Blowing giant bubbles, bubbles foaming out of tubes…bubbles galore! This is when we decided we had to come back for another look a different day. We were butting up against dinner time so we had to run.
Of course we had to play the outdoor instruments first…then we had to run.
Justin did some research on restaurants and breweries that were kid friendly. At the first one we tried, Dialogue, they served beer and wood fired pizza. Sounded good but unfortunately their pizza oven was out of service. If it was wood it needed, we could give them some. We just wanted dinner!
After striking out at our first one we went to a food cart pod that looked like it shared a seating area with a brewery, Marble. It was a fun place! The seating was outside so we packed lots of layers to bundle up in, though upon arriving we noticed they had heat lamps! Hurray!! We were cheering that is until we were drenched in sweat which was soon after we sat down. Haha! One extreme to another. An older guy near our table heard us talking about how hot we were and told me that he stood up to dance to the band the other night and his hair got singed from the crazy hot heat lamp! They weren’t messing around with these things.
As we arrived a band was getting set up. They weren’t playing until 6pm which was a half hour after we left but it was fun for us to watch them tune their instruments and get all their gear ready for the show.
We ended up getting some tasters from the brewery and some Mexican food from the food cart there. It was tasty (a little intense with the frying of the fish) and fun to get to eat out.
The girls hid under the table half of the time to get a shield from the fire above us. It was pretty hilarious. We finally got a consensus of the people sitting on the table under the fiery lamp that everyone was sweltering and asked the waitress to please turn it off. It was a nice relief.
A Hair Cut & More Explora
The next day I decided I wanted to get a haircut. These decisions are always loaded. I never fully want to get my hair cut and always regret it as I’m getting it cut as well as right after with a slight sigh of relief that I did it. I always tell myself “it will grow back” to console myself. There is so much emotion in hair! Anyway, I found an Aveda salon and went for it. Justin dropped me off and he and the girls went back to the Explore museum.
Let me tell you, this salon was not equip to handle thick hair like mine. I was at the salon for an hour and a half and in that time I overflowed their sinks with my massive hair, broke a hairbrush and a clip. I tried to warn them but they just didn’t get it. Me: “that brush looks pretty little for my hair.” Snap! Yup, my hair needs a good strong brush! Same with the clip. Made the joint bust right open. She used 4 rather than one after that. 😛 So she didn’t have to brush my hair completely out after washing it she lopped off the bottom 9” right off the bat. When my hair hit the floor another worker zipped around the corner to see if everything was alright. He heard my hair splat like a fish on the floor and thought his coworker had dropped something! Nope, just all the hair! I had told the beautician I would like my hair to be a little past my shoulders with my top layer ending at my shoulders. It’s about 5” shorter than that! Eek!! I’m okay with it but it is definitely short!! My bottom line was that it had to fit into a pony tail and, it does fit into a pony tail, just barely! It looks like a spiky ball but it fits. I feel like I”m bald! Emotional!
The girls and Justin said they had a ball at the museum especially with the bubbles. By the picture and the girls description it looks as if they practically bathed in the bubbles!
They also explored some of the outdoor areas that we hadn’t last time and found that there were massive blocks out there to build a fort with. They worked together, our 4 year old being the block hunter and our 6 year old being the builder.
New Mexico Natural History and Science Museum
After we reunited as a family we decided to check out the museum across the street as well. We heard they had a planetarium and thought it might be neat to check out a show. Upon arrival we saw that they also had a 3D theater with a movie starting at the same time as the planetarium show. We gave the girls the choice and they chose to watch the 3D volcano movie.
The giant theater held our family, a dad and son and an older couple. Not a super popular time of day I guess. The title page came up of the movie and our littlest stated loudly, “I don’t like this. I want to leave.” To her credit the 3D was a new thing and the volume was pretty loud. I urged her to snuggle with me on my lap for comfort and to try covering her ears for the sound.
The movie was awesome giving an up close look at volcanos around the world through the eyes of an extreme climber/photographer who isn’t afraid of being in the line of fire. The footage was outstanding and so unbelievable! I hadn’t heard our little one ask questions or complain in a bit and also noticed her breathing had become very regular. Sure enough, she had fallen asleep!! Fallen asleep during an action packed very loud movie, ha!
Kara the kitten had kept her up the night prior and she was pooped! At the end of the movie I had to pry her little hands off of her ears and 3D glasses so we could return them. She soon wake after going back into the museum.
The rest of the museum was neat but rushed through as our day was coming to a close. It was a very large place and so much to see! There was a whole section on the brain which was really neat. It had different mind quizzes to take and demonstrations on how neurons and messages are sent throughout our brain. Dinosaurs were also a large theme within the museum with skeletons, replicas and information on various types.
Back at Camp
Well, Kara the kitty got a tummy ache the night before and had peed a little on our 4 year old’s bed therefore we had to rush back to Wobbles in enough time for me to do a load of laundry before bed. I had been covering our little one’s bed with a sheet so that little-to-no dander would get on her blankets since she is semi-allergic. The last thing I wanted was for her to get itchy eyes and a runny nose with sneezing right as she was laying down to go to bed. Under this protective sheet is her wool blanket doubled over, her quilt and then her flannel sheets. So, when Kara peed on her bed it mostly got on the doubled over sheet but did also get on the wool blanket a bit. Crumbs!
I ended up using baby shampoo as detergent, a little conditioner to soften the fibers and then a vinegar wash to flush any remaining residue out. Luckily the campground we were staying at, Enchanted Trails, had one front loader machine so I used that. While that washed I was able to explore the check-in building. The entire thing was Route 66 themed and chalk full of antiques. In the laundry room they had on old washer, ironing machine and an old beautician’s hair dryer.
There was also a little library in which we exchanged our book about bats for theirs about stars. The girls happily played Candy Land while I folded laundry in their rec room. It was really quite nice.
The RV Park also had a handful of beautiful old campers paired with lovely old restored cars as tow vehicles. These campers are rentable to stay in. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to look inside any of them. Next time!
Boo at the Zoo
The next day we went to an event called Boo at the Zoo which we later found out was their first year doing it. We figured it would be a nice Halloween event that we could dress up for and where we could check out their zoo.
We got a little bit of a late start to the day as I wanted to be sure to clip Kara’s nails before we left for the day. She was having trouble not climbing up our black-out curtains!
Our oldest also had a meltdown over her costume. She wanted to be a tooth since she has been so excited about her wiggly, growing in and falling out teeth. She helped make 2 teeth out of cardboard that we planned to hang on her like a sandwich board. She was under the impression that she would be in the middle of a 3D tooth and melted down when reality set in. It was a crazy melt down show for a long time. We had almost decided not to bring her, having one parent do errands while the other pair had fun, but she finally, finally pulled it together. She ended up going just dressed in white and leaving her hair as I had done it with a tooth shape on her head.
Our little one happily went as a bat as she chose. She was a happy little bat with up-cycled t-shirt wings and pipe cleaner ears.
We spiffed up both of them with some face paint in the van before we went in. Justin went as a robot with his broken climbing helmet remnants and his undershirt turned inside out. I had forgotten the odds and ends I was going to throw on in the craziness of the morning but at the last moment I found that I had indeed brought a crown. Since our oldest wasn’t going to wear her costume, I used it. And just like that I was the tooth fairy.
The zoo was pretty crazy by the time we got there. Parking was a bit of a crazy show. Once inside the girls collected candy from random stations around the zoo as we looked at the animals. The girls were excited to find a mermaid on our path. Though she was practically shivering right off her sitting rock! I couldn’t believe they didn’t give her a warm blanket or hand warmers or something. It was cold out and she was practically naked and shivering ferociously. Poor girl.
We saw alligators, crocodiles, snakes, bearcats, wombats, Tasmanian devils (those things are fierce!) and so many other strange creatures. The weirdest animal we saw looked like a giant turtle dinosaur who had been frozen in time. It was called an alligator snapping turtle who are thought to live up to 200 years old in the wild. They must live so long because they barely eat or move. They stay frozen except for the flicking of its tongue. This tongue acts as bate for fish that swim by.
Our favorite animals to watch were the monkeys. We watched for a long time as a Mama and baby played chase and catch as they swung so gracefully from one thing to the next. They are incredibly strong and nimble with such cute little buns!
While we were watching the strangest thing happened. Someone next to us stuck a huge bamboo branch into the enclosure with the monkeys. The monkeys took it from him and all started taking their share of it to eat. We figured he must be an employee but somehow it seemed odd that he wasn’t feeding them from within. We then saw him run over to a clump of bamboo that the zoo grew as an ornamental plant and gave it to a little boy encouraging him to give another to the monkeys. We then knew this was no employee ripping plants from their garden to feed the animals. Just as we were coming to this realization a zoo staff member scolded him and asked what he thought he was doing? The guy mumbled something about the zoo starving the animals and moved on. Totally inappropriate and so bold!
We also stopped while in Albuquerque and sold our chariot stroller/bike trailer to a used gear shop so that we could have our van space back. It used to live under the table in Azul but Kara now has that space so it has been living in the back reading nook in Azul. It was just too big of an item to not have a good home in the van anymore. We will miss it when we are in cities thats for sure. It just means more walking for the girls, some piggy back rides and more use of public transit.
REI is always a fun store to stop at and we were looking for a couple random items that we thought they might have. Justin and I took turns looking for our items while the girls played camping. It was a pretty plush set up they had and took full advantage of the displays.