Yesterday, Saturday, it was time to drop Mary off with my mother for a 10-day visit. Since my mom is also trying to balance spending time with my neice who is getting ready to return to the west coast shortly she didn't feel she had the time to come up here and pick Mary up. And, I have a few things to do so I couldn't fo all the way to the beach for a visit and drop Mary off. So, we arranged a meeting point about halfway at this little museum.
The museum is in Kinston and is through the city's park and recreation department. My mother had been there and thought it was great. I thought it might be a little pokey, but figured it would let the children stretch their legs.
When we got there I realized that along with leaving Robbie's food for lunch at the house (we stopped at a store got him some more) that I had also walked out without my camera. So, I'm going to try to describe the experience.
I was so wrong. The museum is located along the banks of the Neuse River. An awesome green space area that has been left since Hurrican Fran put Kinston underwater nearly 11 years ago. Along the same property there is a campground, picnic areas and swings set up so that you can just sit and watch the slow, lazy river wind its way to the coast. The physical space is not large and 'expensive'. In fact it is two old buildings that have been converted.
The first one was the 'natural' science building. It had one of the best snake collections I have seen in NC. Ten different varieties of snakes on display, eight of them common to the area. They had turtles, a touch tank, a very active prairie dog, lots of lizards, chinchillas, an owl and a couple different parrots. They had a nice display of stuffed animals that are native to the coastal plains area like bear and deer. Below that building, in the 'basement' they had created the CAVE. This is where aquarium animals and nocturnal were kept.
Outside three large cages had been set up along the river for their collection of raptors. Two birds were there - Red-Tail Hawk and an Osprey.
Looking around I realized that the museum is managing to exist through a local boy scout troop and their Eagle Scouts. Many of the displays were eagle projects. I also thought that most of the animals are probably ex-pets and they found a home at this museum.
The second building held the physical, body and astronomy science. Including their very own planetarium. Unfortunately the second floor, astronomy, was closed for the day. But the girls had a really good time with all the hands on science available to them.
Recently, Mary had asked me how the tubes at the bank drive-thru work. I tried to explain it the best I could, but without seeing the tubes in action I wasn't sure how much we understood. We walk into this building and they have a whole pnuematic tube set-up winding around the ceiling. You could pass notes back and forth through the tubes. All the girls loved pressing the buttons and watching the cylinder fly through the tubs.
You could climb through the heart and digestive system. A play hospital building was set up, which was actually three 'crawling' stories with different activities on each floor. Floor puzzles, a large pendalum, life-sized Operation games and so on finished the floor. The kids did not want to leave!!
We took them outside to play on what is a brand-new play structure so I could feed Robbie before heading back. Next to the play ground was a gravel pit so that people could hunt for shark's teeth. Mary got a baggy full before we had to leave.
After a couple of hours it was time to head on before the afternoon thunderstorms cranked up. Mom headed east with Mary. Katie, Emily, Robbie and I came home and Katie just coudn't understand why we couldn't go back there today.
The price for this museum? Nada, Zilch, absolutely FREE! So, if you ever find yourself heading east/west on Hwy 70 through coastal NC, pullover and stop here!
My mom gave me a book "Kids Love North Carolina" by George & Michele Zavatsky. It is the parent's guide to all the places to visit in NC. Everything from the various parks to private museums, and even some people's yard art displays. I've been flipping through it and have decided that this book is probably going to become my field trip must-have for homeschooling. They have done a series of books on other states also. The website is www.kidslovetravel.com
I'm supposed to have the day 'off' per my husband. So I need to go find something to do so I can disappear for a few hours.