Friday, December 12, 2008

Busy holiday-ish day

Yesterday we ventured down to the cultural center of the city to visit the winter fest at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Long-time readers will remember that Liza and I went there the first summer we lived in Cleveland, but we haven't been back since then.

The festival stuff was mostly inside, with real Christmas trees and a gingerbread house contest that Liza really liked. Here's her favorite, a Japanese pagoda rendered in candy canes.She was also in favor of the storytime they had in the library, where she got to spread Crisco on a toilet paper tube and roll it in birdseed.

She also really liked the glass house, which features stuff from the deserts of Madagascar and the cloud forests of Costa Rica. She was interested to see that the chameleon they had was a different color than the ones at the pet store.

And she was nice enough to stop chasing butterflies long enough for me to take this photo of some orchids in the Costa Rica exhibit.

It was still early when we finished with the gardens, so we hiked across the circle to the natural history museum. We've been there a couple times before, but this time I wanted to drag her back to see the fossils to bolster a discussion we had over dinner earlier this week*. She was fine with being friendly with Steggie II long enough to get the Required Shot.

The fossils were okay, and at least this time we didn't leave the room screaming, but as far as Liza is concerned, a trip to the museum means just one thing: running up and down the hall to the planetarium exhibit about 15 million times.

I don't get it. I mean, yes, there are cool lights on the walls, and black-light circles that light up randomly on the floor, but apparently to a toddler or preschooler, this is Pink Floyd and Christmas all rolled up in one neat bundle. I wish we could get a membership to just the hallway, instead of having to pay for the whole museum, since this is where we spend most of our time.

*Jason and I both read The World Without Us, which is basically a 200-page-long thought experiment on what would happen to the earth if every single person just sort of vanished. Jason and I were talking about megafauna and how one thought is that in order to help the environment we should reintroduce the closest relatives to extinct North American megafauna (like introducing elephants to replace the mammoths that died out tens of thousands of years ago). Liza wanted to know what we were talking about, which led to 10 minutes of explaining how people are sort of messing up the planet, and how some animals aren't around anymore, and how we can learn about the animals that are gone by the fossils they left behind. And the dinosaur hall at the museum has a full mammoth skeleton and things that show the relative size of mammoths and elephants, so it was a logical extension of the conversation. Plus, I like dinosaurs, and it had been a while since I'd visited Lucy.

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