Remember when I was stupid brave and took the kids to the Aquarium by myself? Well, I must've forgotten that experience or blocked it from my memory because I decided to take all 3 of them without any other adult riding in my car and venture to the Skirball Cultural Center. I was meeting up with a few friends and their children and heard great things about the Noah's Ark exhibit. Los Angeles has been particularly cold the last few weeks and this day it was a freezing cold 49 degrees.
That is cold where I live, real cold.
After a surprisingly traffic free time on the 405, we parked, and I lectured the children once again on kidnapping, strangers, and the fact that we were going to a museum where children aren't too thrilling of a sight to see. They obviously did not hear a word I said because the instant I set their little feet on the concrete parking lot floor they scatter and separate. This is a skill that is perfected by my children, who can, without communicating to one another, know exactly which way the other children are running and head in the opposite direction. This forces me to use the stroller as a jail cell and strap the littlest one in while yelling at my oldest for knowing better than to do that, and then with my other hand I have a death grip on Sawyer. Because, well, with Sawyer, there is no other options. We haven't even made it into the museum yet.
We enter the museum, I check in somehow without losing my children, but by this point they are a little scared and stay by my side because they see a lot of older people and there is pretty much silence all around. I think the stranger conversation must've been flashing through their little heads as they scan the room and try to differentiate between who would be considered a stranger in this room and who they know. None of which they know, by the way.
Since we were a little early we went to the Bob Dylan exhibit which was pretty cool. The kids got to play the drums, keyboard, guitar. I snapped this before a security guard came up to tell me cameras weren't allowed. Oops.
Then we were off to the Noah's Ark Exhibit. I knew it was going to be hands on and interactive, but I didn't know it was going to be that hands on. Before we even entered the ark there was a bazillion (yes, Aaron, that is a word) things for the kids to do. It really explored all the senses, you can pump water to make the rain fall, you can spin a wheel to hear the wind, you can crank something to see the electricity like lightening, overall, it was just plain awesome.
One of the kids' favorite things to do was this pulley system where you put animal objects on the ramp and turn a wheel which raises them up the ramp and drops them down a shoot. Sawyer couldn't be pried away from it, the entire time. Now whereas most children are just happy to take a few animals, place them in the empty spots and crank up the wheel, my son was not thrilled by this disorganized way of playing. No. Will. Not. Do. Instead his OCD nature came out full throttle and he would wait until all the children were done and moved on to something new. And that's when he took control of the ark's ramp system. He had to line the same animals up on the ramp next to each other. If that meant rotating that ramp for 4 or 5 minutes until the correct animal came down the shoot, well, that's what he would do. Finally he had all the animals at his fingertips. And they went on the ramp 2 by 2. That my friends is how you do it. Or should I say how Sawyer does it. I see myself in him more and more. How everything has just the right spot, just the right shelf, needs just the right thread to be pulled off just the right pants. He is hard to please, but knows exactly what he wants. However, I'm not that hard to please(shut up Aaron). I just know what I want.
Once you entered the actual ark, they had booths set up to show how food could've been stored, the little girls loved this because they could fill baskets with pretend food and then unfill them and then fill baskets and then unfill them repeat repeat repeat. They had a miniature ark with little animals the kids played with, the ark had doors and ramps so you can see how the animals were divided and fed.
Then you entered a second area where there was a roped bridge and climbing apparatus up to the upper level where the kids could play and climb and annoy other parents while they pull ropes that caused animals to shriek and squeal. Of course, it was my two boys that would pull these ropes over and over and over again as they would laugh hysterically and watch from above as the parents cringe and hold their ears.
There was a play kitchen, hammock, and get this, fake poop on the floor that the kids could clean up with brooms and dustpans. I did not realize this part of the ark until my daughter came over with some black stuff on a plate and told me to eat it. I obliged happily and pretended to eat my plate of black beans. However a mom to my left looked at me quite puzzled before she informed me I was eating the fake animal feces. Oops.
The staff came through occasionally with beautiful puppets of different animals. And everything in the ark was made from recycled materials, that was the best part of it. Noah went green.
At the end of our two hours the kids could go to the art tables and make projects and then they had a jam session. All the kids got instruments and had a blast clanking on their bells and beating their drums. I really loved that all 3 of my kids from 1-6 years old could enjoy this together. And I remained semi-sane throughout the whole process. Not including the ride home, which by then, at 5:30pm on a Wednesday night, the 405 was not so kind to us.
I highly recommend this exhibit for kids of all ages, tourists, or LA residents. And I think the kids agreed. As I was buckling Sawyer's carseat he began to cry. Why are you crying Sawyer? Because I want to go to Noah's Ark. That sounds like a successful adventure to me.