Saturday, May 29, 2010

A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village

With the weather interfering with our plans, we decided to go to Salem instead and visit the A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village instead. Most of it is indoors where the rain wouldn't completely spoil the fun. And I know someone online who lives nearby. We made plans to meet at the museum and headed out.

This children's museum is a fun place. If you are ever in the Salem area, I recommend it. A.C. Gilbert, by the way, was the inventor of the Erector Set. The museum, consisting of several old houses and the land around them, provides both indoor and outdoor play and exhibits of his history and inventions.

Of course, the first thing we found was a statue. Mika loves posing with statues. There was also a GIANT rocking chair on the porch for pictures but I didn't get a picture of it (explained later).

Right outside the front door, we found this wasp nest. It was carefully cut away to expose the inner workings of the nest. Very cool! Right next to it was a real bird's nest. Inside the door, we found live silk worms (that you can touch!) and a tank of small turtles.

This giant erector set climbing structure was a hit! Holding Madelynn, I didn't get to explore. If it weren't for her, I would have gone through it at least once. It looked so fun. On the other side, there is a two story slide that the kids thought was awesome. There were other play structures as well, including a paddle wheeler, thick web-like ropes, and a dino dig sandbox.

In one of the houses, we found an exhibit about the body. You can climb through this giant mouth and enter a play tunnel that represents the esophagus and stomach. There were real lungs displayed showing healthy and smoker's lungs. It was a neat room.

In an adjoining room, was the bubble room. This room is everything bubbles, including a place where you can stand inside a ring and use a pulley to pull a giant bubble up around you. If you look at Mika in the photo, she's completely surrounded by a bubble except for the open top.

Josh found some geometric shapes on pulleys that lower into bubbles.

Maddie found some stomach parts to play with. I don't know if these balls are suppose to represent digestive enzymes, food particles, or something else.

In this same house, we found another room completely decorated in a jungle theme. Everything we green and painted with trees and a jungle animals. There were three dimensional trees and vines hanging on parts of the walls and ceiling. There were costumes, a stage, and a TV so you can watch your own production as you act it.

And that was just the first house and outside. We were getting hungry, so we all left to grab lunch makings and head to our friend's house. Our plan: to eat and return to the museum.

After lunch, this is what the kids did for the next three hours. They ran in circles chasing each other around the house. They had a ball with their new friends.

They also climbed this tree. See Mika hiding up in the tree? She's never climbed that high before, but she sure liked climbing THIS tree.

Remember I said the plan was to eat and return to the museum? Well, we never made it back there. The kids were having so much fun with their new friends that they didn't want to go back. We'll have to return to Salem some day and visit the other two houses and get that picture of the kids in the giant rocking chair on the porch.

It was a great day!

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