The Last Museum
I dunno if that was really true, but for the two boys, the museum of Nature was a completely different experience.
Both loved that when they walked in there was a dinosaur looming inside, looking like it was running from them. That drew them in. The wanted a closer look. Then they saw a big globe they could play with. That pulled them into the museum further. Then, out of no where, as they rounded a corner, a huge shark looked like it was leaping out of the water towards them.
And the museum had them hooked.
The youngest, after staring up in awe at the shark, ran off to play with things that could be played with. He moved continents. He made mountains rise out of the sea. He tore the Baja Peninsula from California. He plunged the globe in and out of darkness. Like a cruel and somewhat bored god.
The oldest inspected the displays, stopping at ones he knew a little about, talking to us about them, asking questions that we couldn’t possibly hope to answer. “So, if I could ride a shark and I could breathe underwater and I could control the shark with my mind, could I defeat Godzilla?”
Ok, he didn’t ask if he could defeat Godzilla, but he did want to ride that shark and control minds and had some tough questions to answer (unless you were a dinologist or whatever they’re called.)
For him, the museum fired up his imagination.
And isn’t that great?
I dunno if he actually learned any hard facts. But it got him thinking.
We moved from the dinosaurs upwards, checking out bones and peaking into the pirate exhibit that cost way too much to actually go into. It’s funny sometimes that I’ll spend thousands of dollars on a flight and hotel and balk at $30 a person to see pirates, but there it is.
The boys lost interest in paintings hung on the upper floors, but the youngest found a huge chalkboard where kids had written their profound thoughts and drawn smiley faces and stickmen. He grabbed an eraser and erased them all. To be fair, he likes to clean.
While he scrubbed chalk from the chalkboard, his brother examined tiny skulls. I could see his mind working. I could almost hear his imagination catching fire. Nothing like a skull the size of my pinkie fingernail to keep the attention of an 11 year old.
We saw more dinosaur exhibits, the youngest sifting through dirt to find bones, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world joking that it was nice for the dinosaurs to have colored bones so we knew what went where. The oldest gave her that look that I usually get.
But with time running out, we still had one last thing to do – See an IMAX film on dinosaurs. In hindsight, we chose poorly. We should have seen the show on sharks but both boys said they knew everything about sharks, and said it in that “duh, hello, bored,” tone. So, yeah, dinosaurs it was.
The graphics were good, the story kinda neat, but I think the boys were done for the day. A week of touring had finally caught up with them. They looked like they would fall asleep.
The museum wasn’t a complete disaster, don’t get me wrong. The oldest’s mind was expanded just a little bit that day, and the youngest got to touch, poke, rattle a ton of displays. They both got to climb on an elephant and the oldest found the red-eyed bird that had been following him the whole trip.
But hey, by the late afternoon, they were tired, they wanted to get home, they wanted to sleep in their own beds, play a little terraria and have enough face cloths to wash their faces.
Two tired boys?
In an airport?
What could go wrong?