Image courtesy of Waymarking.com

Today we hit the brand-spanking new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum. The kids were in awe!

We were first met by the two giant statues at the NHM corner: a Triceratops fighting off a T-Rex. This set the mood immediately. We then went to the front entrance, and just past the lobby we were met by these same two gladiators -this time in bone-form- engaged in the same death-match.

Enter the gift-shop (which we did). Lots of cool stuff! Emma got a cool cup, and a paleontologyst t-shirt. Evan got an oil-and-water bubble toy (kind of a lava lamp effect). They both got some cool shiny rocks. I took time leafing through a dinosaurs book (my how they have changed since I was a kid! And the T-Rex is no longer the King: Giganotosaurus and Carchadontosaurus Saharicus have him beat. Not to mention Spinosaurus! And the long-necked ones have a bigger family, with cool new names too! I was delighted to find that one of the largest long-necked dinos hails from my homeland Argentina: the Argentinosaurus. Bruhathkayosaurus Matleyi has him beat by a long tail, though – and Amphicoelias Fragillimus is about TWICE as long as all of them (130-200 feet long!). Good Old BrontoApatosaurus, is just a runt.) But soon Evan was urging me to get going. “Let’s go to the Dinsaur Hall!” was his repeated war cry. And we went.

Frankly, I was expecting to the unimpressed. Heck, once you see one bone you’ve seen them all. But nosirree. I was as enchanted as the kids were. The new Dinosaur Hall is a treat to the senses! Two large rooms packed tight with dinosaurs, which you can see from ground level or up from the mezzanine, at eye level with the big skeletons.

After we got our fill of the big and the ferocious, we went for the exact opposite: the small and the delicate, in the Butterfly Pavillion. Emma was entranced. And I thought Evan might be aloof, what with him being a boy, and being 10. But he was just as fascinated. Especially when a butterfly made his shoulder its landing platform.

Abuzz with butterfly talk, we exited the museum and got ourselves some well-deserved ice cream. The day was scorching hot, and I would have been happy to get in the air-conditioned car – but I had promised Emma some playground time across from the Museum, and playtime she got. Evan and I sat in the shade, playing with our cool new toys: him with his continuous bubble gizmo, me with my eco-friendly vapur water bottles (I bought these to stop using so much plastic in the kids’ lunches).

Then we drove home, and soon afterwards the movie choice for the evening was easily settled: Jurassic Park!

Here’s the funny thing: Had I seen Jurassic Park as a 4-year old, I would have been terrified out of my mind. Emma absorbed it all with complete equanimity. I kept asking, as you scared? “No,” she replied dismissively. She actually fell asleep during the movie! And the next morning her first words were “that dinosaur movie was cool.”

On Sunday I had intended to take them to see the new Winnie The Pooh movie (it’s getting good reviews) – but that was overruled: instead, after an afternoon of cleaning the house and bicycle riding, we took in The Lost Word and Jurassic Park III.

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These are really cool http://www.dailycandy.com/kids/online/article/88038/Zoodies-Animal-Hoodie-Sweatshirts and http://www.zoodies.com/product/kitty-zoodie

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Apps for Emma, apps for Evan (and one for Dad too!)

I got Emma some new apps today.
I got her Toby Snax (a cool storybook about welcoming change and adventure), Toca Boca’s Toca Doctor, Teach Me: Kindergarten, The Cat in the Hat read-along book, Fish School HD, Math Bingo, FlashToPass Math Flash Cards, Pop It, and a few others.

Emma enjoyed the singalong ItsyBity and The Wheels on the Bus, and had fun with Math Bingo – though it’s a bit advanced for her age (4yo)  (she enjoyed playing it with me, so I anticipate we’ll use this as a good platform for early Math skills development). But she really took to Toca Doctor. Toca Doctor is really, really cool. In fact, all of the Toca Boca apps look great.

I also got Evan Morris Lessmore’s Flying Books (named among the five Apps kids will love from their heart, by RoundedOff.com).
He hasn’t tried it yet, but I’m sure he’ll love it. It looks highly promising. It was created by ex-Pixar animator William Joyce.

And of course, I picked up Angry Birds Seasons for myself. I got such a kick out of Angry Birds! Those guys did an amazing job with this app – it’s so tailored to the touch screen.

As a side note, my becoming an app convert is bringing cool bonding opportunities with Evan. He is excited to see me share his enthusiasm for Angry Birds and for the iPod/iPad paradigm in general. (We had this great chuckles moment while waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 to start – I pulled out my iPad, Evan pulled out his iPod, we gave each other high fives LOL.)

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