Saturday, March 03, 2007

Murky, Rainy, Out of This World Day

It would be hard for any day to compete with one where we saw dolphins and whales. Especially, a rainy, cold one. Our last full day in LA did not have a good weather forecast. Luckily, we had plans for indoor fun but they didn't start until 2:30.

My Dad wanted to go to the La Brea Tar Pits. Apparently, he has memories of going there as a child with his brother, my Uncle Joe (photo on right). Dad wanted to relive the experience and pick up something for Joe there.

We love educational stuff about nature almost as much as tromping around in the woods itself. So, we thought it sounded like a great morning activity.

Thankfully, the rain stopped when we arrived. We were able to walk over to observe the actual tar pits and stay dry. Too bad the Woolly Mammoth didn't have the same luck. We walked over to Pit 91 where they are still excavating.

My friend, Janice specializes in the Plains Indians of Western Kansas in her archeology work. I wonder what she would think of digging in the tar.

We took advantage of the break in the weather and having our family together to snap some pictures.

John took pictures of me taking pictures of Sam. He said he was going to put his on what he calls the Truth Blog. I hope he does.

To assure entrance to a special exhibit we wanted to see at the California Science Center that afternoon, we'd been encouraged to purchase tickets to an IMAX movie.

Twist my arm. I love all of the ones I have seen. John and I wanted to see Destiny in Space. My Dad wanted to see Hurricane on the Bayou but Sam wanted to see the Deep Sea 3D. It was narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet so we figured what the heck.

After the enjoyable movie, we were allowed entrance into Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination. Meet Yoda's newest pupil.

My brother the Wookiee.

"Shaggy giants from an arboreal world, the tall and commanding Wookiee species is an impressive sight... Despite their fearsome and savage countenance, Wookiees are intelligent, sophisticated, loyal and trusting. Loyalty and bravery are near-sacred tenets in Wookiee society. When peaceful, Wookiees are tender and gentle."

Honestly, I didn't get to explore the exhibit too much. I wanted to stay close to Sam and he was captivated by the interactive Lego Design Lab.

"Attendees can also begin to develop a levitating vehicle using magnets and LEGOs supplied in the Design Lab. The EDL process gives exhibit-goers an opportunity to imagine, create, and evaluate real-world technologies. In the case of creating a maglev car like the Landspeeder, visitors build a floating speeder then test the vehicles they created by propelling them along a magnetic track."

Without help, Sam built a car that actually levitated.

I built one of my own too.

Then we took them over the Magnetic Propulsion area. This part was a bit more of a challenge. Although, we aren't sure if the difficulty we encountered was caused by user error or the fact that these hands-on exhibits were been beaten up for months in Boston and Portland before coming to LA. I'm glad we weren't seeing the exhibit in St. Paul over a year from now. Hopefully, they make repairs between markets.

Sam was frustrated that he couldn't get his car to propel through the magnetic archways. I was frustrated because while my car worked and I was able to help stranger's children get theirs to work, I couldn't figure out how to help my son get his to work.

I was baffled. It seemed like we kept building it the same way. It just wouldn't work. I kept trying to get Sam to just give up and move on but he wouldn't.

Eventually, I left for a bathroom break and when I returned found him triumphant. What do they say? Never, never, never, never, never, never quit. Could have been his motto that day.

Somehow, despite our planning for this day, we didn't think about the fact that the museum closed at 5:00 pm. After picking up some magnetic toys in the gift shop to replace the ones we lost in the move, we ended up in our car, in the middle of Downtown LA, on some freeway at the height of rush hour. After going nowhere fast, John said, I know how to get back to Hollywood.

Exploring the lovely entertainment district was much preferred to all of us being crammed into one car.

I introduced my mother and brother to falafel and hummus but couldn't get either of them to try the dolma.

After all those chickpeas, I decided to "indulge my ice cream dreams" at Cold Stone Creamery. I think I had something with chocolate ice cream, cherry pie filling and brownies.

When we got back into the car, the road was much clearer. John delivered us back to the hotel safely so we could rest and play another day.

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