When I started homeschooling last year it wasn’t expected, I felt an incredible amount of pressure to get everything in, and all my glorious ideas of field trips flew out the window. I kept a mental list of field trips…the only thing is that nothing ever got checked off the list. Then I decided we’d do field trips on Fridays so we could have something to look forward to each week…which lasted one week. It isn’t that I didn’t like field trips, but things started coming up, or they came down with colds…I’m sure you understand and could probably add to the list!
One of the best ways I found to fit field trips in more frequently is by looking locally. No matter where you live there are opportunities for experiential learning through field trips. We are blessed to have a variety of museums close enough for a day-trip that doesn’t leave us completely wiped out. One of those is the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC, a hands-on science museum which explores mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and so much more!
In all honesty hands-on doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I remember visiting this museum when I was a child and I loved it every time. Some of my favorite exhibits are even still there! Still, no matter how much I loved it as a kid, seeing this through the eyes of my children brings me joy in such a different way. Their wonderment of discovery seems even greater than my memories.
Also located inside are wonderful exhibits of animals native to the area. The girls really enjoy the variety and I like that everything is behind glass!
Rose really enjoyed Flip It, Fold It, Figure It Out upstairs. Intricate examples of origami inspires visitors to try their own creations!
Also inside are examples of animal jaws along with a display of how a variety of animals eat. Grace really liked the shark jaw!
Outside are the barnyard animals, which I sadly have to avoid! My husband is used to this though due to my hay allergy. Still, the kids see goats, sheep, rabbits, donkeys, owls, and many more.
Just past the barnyard animals is the Insectarium and the Magic Wings Butterfly House. While I’m not a huge fan of the insectarium, I could stay in the butterfly house all day! The insecterium houses a variety of amazing insects, but again I’m thrilled they are behind glass…mostly! There is one particular spider which I was told did not stray from its habitat, usually. My husband likes it, but not me!
The butterfly house is amazing…unbelievably amazing! Butterflies are everywhere, filling the warm air with beauty you don’t usually see this up close. If you are fortunate, butterflies will land on you or your clothes. Young butterflies are released twice a day and kids can seen them up close as they flutter away. The variety of flowers and butterflies provide endless opportunities for photographers, experienced or just beginning like me! This is easily my favorite part of the museum.
Beth loves the Dinosaur Trail. Beautifully crafted dinosaur statues line a walkway. Kids can see, touch, and climb on life-size dinos!
Other things we didn’t experience because of time! Younger kids have an indoor play area, the outdoor playground provides endless amounts of fun, train rides occur every 30 minutes, when the warm weather comes Into the Mist is a great way to cool off, and special events run throughout the year! On April 20 the Shark Tooth Hunt begins!
You can bring your own lunch to enjoy in the picnic area, but you can also buy yummy treats at the Sprout Cafe. We all enjoyed the variety of food which was healthy, filling, and oh-so-good!
Sometimes field trips take a lot of planning and preparation. The Museum of Life and Science needs none of this. You can spend as much or as little time in whatever areas that interest you and your children more. We arranged our visit just as we finished up Rose’s astronomy unit. There is so much to see and experience a single day to visit may not cover everything. We ended our visit by purchasing a year-long pass!
Now for a give-away! The Museum of Life and Science has generously donated a 1-day-family pass for a giveaway! There are several ways to enter. Take time to visit their website and tell me your favorite exhibit!