Monday, May 31, 2010


We've now taken an annual trip to Portland three years in a row. The kids now expect to go to OMSI when we are in the area. It's pretty high on their list of favorite places.

Upon arriving at OMSI, Mika and Sam begged to go to the earthquake house first. It's one of their favorite exhibits so we made a beeline straight to it. Then we took in a few of the exhibits in the area.

Sam played with this crane for a while. Josh was nearby playing in some water with some toy boats propelled by a paddle wheel on a rubber ban. The important part was the water.

Grandpa and Mika tried building an earthquake proof structure. When you are done with your building, you push the button to make the conveyor belt shake to test it out.

We also checked out the physics lab where Mika was able to hold onto a static ball thingy and watch her hair stand straight up in a mirror. Sam has a new interest in chemistry so we stopped by the chemistry lab. Unfortunately, it required more adult help and wearing safety goggles so we didn't get to do much there (Maddie can't wear safety goggles). He did get to do an experiment where you separate the colors of markers to see which colors were used.

After checking out the turbine hall a bit, we stopped for lunch and then headed to the life sciences rooms upstairs. Josh loves the hearing stations where you can see what different hearing issues sound like. You try to have a conversation with another person at the other hearing station while they simulate tinnitus or hearing loss. Of course, we visited the prenatal development area, which is really fascinating. Finally, we got stuck in the life science lab and played at the create a stream table.

At this table, you are suppose to create a stream with different characteristics like pools in shade for young salmon. The sign gives you things to create. Most of the time, though, it is just a big sand and water table.

We also stopped and tried solving some puzzles. They are really hard until your shown the solution, and then you feel really dumb. The answers are always really easy. (Don't you hate that?) This particular puzzle is super easy. My dad was able to solve one of the harder ones, and Mika remembered the solution to one that we were shown last time.

After that, it was time for our IMAX film. We opted to see Deep Sea which showed all kinds of neat things about creatures living in the ocean. They focused on survival adaptations and symbiotic relationships. It was Sam's favorite part of the visit this time. I thought it was fun because it was our first experience in an omnidome experience and it was the topic of next year's science.

After the IMAX movie, we headed over to the space exhibit where Sam talked my dad into climbing into the Apollo capsule with him. It's quite a small space and difficult to get in and out.

There was also a real moon rock to touch. That was exciting for Sam. He also liked trying out this circular bike thing that lets you experience exercise in space.

We finished our visit with the science playground. This room is my kids' favorite so I save it for last. My big kids are happy they have younger siblings because they are only allowed in there with a younger sibling. As expected, Josh spent his time in the sandbox. Maddie got her first sand experience and only tried to eat the sand once.

When we first walked into the science playground, a woman immediately looked straight at me and said, "Hi". Fortunately, she immediately followed it with her name and how I knew her. She was the sister of an old friend of mine. She told me he was there, too, and called him on his cell to come up to that room. It was great to see him. The last time I saw him was a little over a year ago, and before that it had been many years. It also happened that another friend from that group was with them so David went to fetch him. David's parents, whom I've met a few times were with the group as well. And, finally, I got to meet David's wife and daughter for the first time. It was a really nice surprise. We all agreed to meet for dinner the next evening and do some catching up. What are the odds of seeing people you haven't seen in a long time in a different city like that?

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