Monday, January 31, 2011

Cleveland's Museums are Fun Places to Learn

We love to visit Cleveland because they have wonderful museums. Did you watch “Christmas Story” during the holidays? The house shown in the movie is in Cleveland and is now a museum. It is a fun place to visit. The leg lamp is in the window and the Red Ryder BB gun is in the corner by the tree. The house looks just like it did in the movie and it is open all year long.

Three of Cleveland’s museums are located around a circle so we could walk from one to the other in a couple of minutes. Our first stop was the Museum of Art. We were with three of our friends: Nick, Matt and Vinny. Nick quickly identified one of Monet’s lily paintings. The museum had a Treasure Hunt book that was fun. One search was called “It’s a Zoo in There” and we had to find certain animals in the paintings. We found a painting of a beautiful lady and beside her we found the green parrot we were looking for. The guide explained when it was painted in 1828 there were no cameras so the lady had things she saw in foreign countries included in her portrait so she would remember them. We went into another room that reminded us of Harry Potter. It was filled with weapons and armor. We wondered how the rider got on the horse with all that armor. The armor alone weighed 114 pounds.

From the Museum of Art we walked across the circle to the Natural History Museum where we learned about stars in the planetarium. The guide told us how to find different stars. We found one tight group of stars called The Pleiades. The Japanese call it Subaru and named their car after it. Later that day we saw a Subaru car and saw their star cluster logo. The museum’s exhibit on Extreme Mammals was incredible. We saw the biggest, smallest and most amazing mammals of all time. We learned that the Batodonoides was smallest mammal that ever lived. It looked like a mouse with a pointed noise and weighted less than a dollar bill. We always like to look at the dinosaur exhibit and wonder what it must have been like when they were roaming the earth.

Next to the Museum of Natural History is the Botanical Garden. They have a huge glass enclosed garden area divided into two areas. One area is Madagascar. Vinny was the first to notice, “Look, these are Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.” We thought the baobab tree was interesting. It is called the Upside Down Tree because the branches look more like roots. The next section was a Costa Rican cloud forest. When we entered each section we picked up cards that told us what plants and animals to look for. The elevated canopy walk was cool.

We also went to the Great Lakes Science Museum. We especially like the exhibit called “Strange Matter.” The sign told us to “Touch it. Twist it. Smash it!” We did try to break a window with a bowling ball but we could not even crack the glass but it was fun trying. In the NASA Glenn Visitor Center,Matt liked sitting in the command center of a space ship.

There was so much to do at each museum that we could not do everything so will have to go back. Going to a museum is a fun way to learn. Don’t you think so?