Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Science Center in Ithaca, NY on a Superbowl Sunday.

Ithaca, NY has got to be one of the best spots for fun in upstate (or is Ithaca considered downstate) well it is south of upstate but not near the city of NY, I am thinking it may be considered a part of the Finger Lakes. Anyways....it is always  fun fun fun!!! Back in May I took the boys to Ithaca for a FREE trip to the Earth Museum. On Sunday we went back to Ithaca for a FREE trip to the Science Center. I also learned that there are a few other activities like the Cornell Plantation that are also FREE. I will be coming back again when the flowers are in bloom.

We have been to the science center several times, it's an hour or so drive for us from the house, but it's always been great fun and this is the second time we have taken advantage of the FREE Sunday's in Winter deals they offer each year. When Nick was in college we took the trip more frequently as TC3 was on the way. There are a lot of hidden gems along the way as well as within the area of Ithaca. On this trip we brought along our good friend Tammy and her daughter Allie, and we HAD a TON of fun!

First up were the turtles. They had an entire section of the center dedicated to turtles including a life sized board game of turtle crossing.

 I still do not know what raccoons and garbage have to do with turtles, but here are the pictures anyways.

Allie and Gavin played. I'm not sure who won, it got a little confusing as we went along.

More turtles and more fun continued in this section, before we made our way up the singing piano playing staircase.


 Faces in those lovely cut outs...Look I'm a turtle tracker.
Allie is too.

Tammy on the musical stairs. These were super fun, she and I went up and down a few times in an attempt to make some music.
Once upstairs we entered into the human body we had several hands on opportunities to explore how the body works.
 Isn't she a beauty. Someone needs to give her a little dusting (notice the spider webs on her shoulder)
 Allie and Gavin work on pumping the heart.
The heart...

...and some platelets.
Tammy and Allie do an experiment of what their heart rates are at resting rate and after a few steps on the stepper. Look at those ladies go. On to learning about the brain.
 We all tried our hand at Mindball. (Gavin got the home version of this for his birthday.)

When Tammy and I played it took forever, the ball went back to my end then to her end and on and on, finally we gave up.
We explored perception.

Using mirrors we put our faces together to make one. It was silly.
Enter SPACE...
 Gavin takes a seat at space control. Unfortunately it was not working.
 The space suit was pretty neat.
The heat censored camera was so cool. I had to play with this for a little bit. I am  looking like I belong on an episode of TAPS.
After a brief encounter with the space area, (Several things were not in working order) we headed to the hands on center. This was the first time we had been here when this area was open or it may be a new area.

There were wooden boxes with experiments in them. Gavin thought immediately this was for BABIES. It ended up it was much more difficult then that. We got a box on electricity.

Its a good thing he had his fourth grade lesson on electric circuits last year, because I was struggling trying to make this experiment work.  Gavin was even able to add a circuit breaker to the motor so it could be turned on and off with a lever.

We got the motor to run pretty easily, but after several attempts with the light bulb and no light, we made a scientific assumption  that there was something wrong with the light bulb.

Allie and Tammy worked on a cooking box. Then they tried magnets. Eventually Gavin traded with Allie for the magnet box, and Allie was a pro with the electricity.

Here are the video's I took. Maybe you can view them. These always come out funny when I do them.
I have to say these experiment boxes were my personal favorite. I think the kids could have spent hours playing in this area of the center. Gavin and I discussed coming back in March with Ben and this might be the biggest attraction.

We made our way to other areas of the center. Exploring the NANO. Sometimes when you go with kids to places like this, you yourself never get a chance to read and understand. Is a NANO in everything? I'm not positive. We went through this area so quickly I simply tried to keep up. I did stop long enough to be grossed out by these guys...

ewee! We saw one at the Syracuse MOST, but there had to be like 30 in this confinement. Some of them moved so fast I can only imagine them crawling around in your house. YUCK!
I also slowed down long enough to watch this amazing machine. They have one of these at the MOST as well. I think I could easily just sit and watch this go for hours.

I took a few shots of it from the top floor and the first floor. This is what I should have video taped. I'm still learning.
The downstairs is what I remember the most about the center, because it always has seemed to be my boys favorite parts of most hands on activity centers...water play.

Years ago I brought Nick, Lexi and Gavin to the Science Center and they played for hours with these canal ways, creating damns, and running the ducks along the corridors. On our last visit Ben and Gavin spent most of the time building dams to stop the water flow, and when Nick was little he was mesmerized by the water works at the Indianapolis Children's museum. (Now that is an AWSOME trip to take for anyone with children and in the area).  Guess my boys just like to play in water.

Both Gavin and Allie played with the ducks before we headed back to the turtle room to the touch tank which was now open. Located near the water works is a small children's play area as well as recycled stuff to make things with. It was over crowded on this trip, but seemed like a pretty popular area. I saw a kid who made a machine out of a paper plate running on the ground. Pretty impressive.

Gavin tried his spin of the wheel and Allie touched a sea star. (Why did they change it's name from star fish? What is that all about?). She was so cute and a little apprehensive. Gavin decided he had touched more exciting water animals at the Oceanarium in Maine and didn't need to take a touch.
Some additional interesting stops were the Shadow wall,

and the floating ball.

We hit up a few more exhibits including one of my personal favorites, the reptile/fish room. Had some more fun along the way, and concluded with a pose on the triceratops fossilized head.

The Science Center is always a ton of fun. In addition to all the fun inside they have an amazing outdoor area with all kinds of activities and science related things. This area was closed for the season. They also have putt putt and a nice trail that walks along the center into the woods. Putt Putt is closed for the season and I have never done the trail, but there are tons of trails and hikes to take in Ithaca. It is an amazingly neat little town with art, gorges, waterfalls, and Cornell College a large component of the area. I will definitely be back for another trip to play.

On our way home we were stopped just outside of Ithaca by a sobriety check. (Seemed a little early in the day to me, but what do I know). Just a reminder that it is Superbowl Sunday.
We had lunch in Tompkins County at the Ponderosa (I didn't bother to take any pictures since I had just gone to Ponderosa a few days ago...yes my diet is being defeated). The price was right and we were all starving by 3:30 in the afternoon. Next time we decided will be the A&W place. Once at home I prepped for the evening with a little clean up and we got ready for the MAIN EVENT!!!!

Historically we have watched the Super bowl as a family and pigged out. Additionally, we have usually been in agreement of what team we want to win.  Since we had a late lunch and I am watching what I eat, (LOL) no pigging out and this year I was not in preference with either team and took the joke pick of birds or horses. I picked horses. Gavin and my hubby picked the birds. Well we all know how that turned out.

I am not going to say much about the Superbowl except that it was a complete wash out. The Bronco's were in trouble from the first second...that miss throw started a chain of events that took the Bronco's to their Superbowl graves.
The Seahawks defense was incredible...amazing...out of control good...and honestly the Bronco's just could not get around them.

Bruno Mars was pretty amazing, although I have seen better 1/2 time shows. A few summer's ago Gavin, Mark and I saw him play at the FREE stage at the NY State Fair. Shows how much things can change.

At the end, the Sea Hawks deserved the win, it was just incredibly difficult to accept the defeat.
Of course win or loose, nothing is as above all important about the super bowl as watching the commercials. Some of my personal favorites...

Of course the ladies liked this one.
but I think my all time favorite was this one....

Pretty CRAZY day full of fun and excitement, glad to fall into bed that night and begin a new week. Staying far away from the buffets this week....TTFN