I'm out of school for the summer and have a fair amount of free time on my hands. That being the case, I was excited about tagging along on a field trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota with my mom's fifth grade class. (She's the teacher, not a student.) Chaperoning some kids for a few hours was a small price to pay for the fun of a science museum, not to mention the entertainment I expected from the students.
managed to make it over to the school at some obscenely early time in the
morning with my sack lunch packed and ready to go. My mom packed
some extra food in case a student forgot theirs. Amazingly, everyone
remembered to bring a lunch and even remembered to arrive early, as they
were told. My mom was sure to point out to them that although they
constantly forget to bring their math and science, they somehow all
managed to remember to arrive early with a lunch. Ahh, kids.
entertainment on the bus ride, we watched a SpongeBob Squarepants video.
The kids love SpongeBob. Hey man, I love SpongeBob. He and
Patrick are the Martin and Lewis for their generation. OK,
that was excessive, but they are entertaining. So entertaining, in
fact, that the kids on the bus actually sang along with the theme song.
as gripping as SpongeBob was, the real drama didn't begin until we were
about five minutes from our destination. As we made our way out into
the intersection to complete our left turn, an oncoming driver was also
making his way through the intersection. He put his brakes on, but
the road was wet and he collided with the bus. After getting over
the initial shock of the thing and realizing that for the most part, we
were fine, I realized the car driver could have been seriously hurt.
I was relieved to see that he appeared to be fine. (Although I really
can't speculate on his condition. Even though he looked fine, he
could have been injured. I imagine the force of the impact probably
jarred him to some extent.) From what I saw, his car wasn't
too badly damaged. He was able to drive it onto a side road and pull
the bus driver was taking care of some business, we were left to sit in
bus on the side of the road. The kids seemed to behave fairly well.
Of course there was some commotion, but overall it went pretty smoothly,
all things considered. After the business was taken care of (and our
bus driver was ticketed), we anxiously headed to the museum, as we were
now in danger of missing our appointment at the Omnitheater. Instead
of being let off at the school entrance, we chose the doors nearest the
the haste of the whole thing, my mother ended up tripping, or slipping or
something, and actually fell onto the ground, breaking her arm.
Needless to say, the field trip was off to a rather inauspicious start,
and I was less than thrilled.
the field trip moves on. I think they ended up delaying the show
slightly, so we didn't miss anything at the theater. The show was
really quite amazing. The film told the story of the Antarctic
voyage of Ernest Shackleton and his crew. Amazing story and
sweet visuals. Thumbs up. Of course, even if the film was bad,
the Omnitheater is so cool it wouldn't be a total loss. I believe
they said it's the largest screen of its kind in the world. The
mechanisms that move the screen are so massive that when they constructed
the building they actually put those in first and built the entire museum
we split up into groups and made our way to some exhibits. Most of
them are pretty cool. Exploring them would really be an all day kind
of thing, but we only had a couple hours so I didn't get to play as much
as I normally would have. One of the more interesting sections was
all about the human body. One exhibit in that section was an
artist's castings of some human torsos. It was interesting to see
the kids react to the "nakedness" of the displays. I heard
some snickers here and there and a few comments, but I really can't be too
harsh on them for that. First of all, they are at that age where
this kind of thing might be especially humorous. Plus, I'm twenty
years old and if I were there with my friends, we would probably end up
spending the whole day taking pictures of us standing next to each figure,
all the while giggling like schoolgirls.
of the day to that point was sprinkled with various questions and comments
from the students about how soon lunch was and when could we eat and why
did lunch have to be so late (it was at noon). So when the time
finally came to eat, we were all ready to have some food. It's just
a shame that our lunches were on the bus (which was apparently at an
undisclosed location with Dick Cheney). You see, in all the
commotion of the hurry to get to the Omni, there was a breakdown in the
communication regarding our lunches. The result: no lunches
were on a tight schedule with only a half hour to eat, so the kids snacked
on food from friends and from the vending machines. At one point one
of the students asked me, half jokingly I think, if I would be mad if the
bus driver had eaten our lunches. I had to laugh and respond
affirmatively. I also had to think of Billy Madison. You know,
the scene when Jack, Frank and the bus driver all ate the kids' lunches.
the kids sucked down their Twinkies and whatnot, we made our way to the
3-D laser light show. This was a neat little presentation that mixed
a 3-D movie (glasses and all) with some laser effects that all combined to
make words and objects jump out at you from the screen. The story
seemed to be a fictional (but not completely unrealistic) account of a
female astronaut in what appeared to be the near future. One of the
highlights of the show for me was when the lasers created the word
"TANG" and made it fly through the air. Tang is funny.
Another point of interest was the reactions of the kids every time there
was a special effect in the movie. This was ultimately a little
bothersome to me. You see, they reacted to the effects the same way
every time: they made all sorts of noises and then reached out and
tried to touch the object that was "coming out at them." I
have no real problem with the act itself, in fact I've done the same kind
of thing. The part I have a problem with is that they did it
throughout the entire movie. You'd think that after about the tenth
time they reached out to grab the object and didn't get it, they would
stop trying. But they didn't. Oh well.
here on out it was smooth sailing. Gift shop, bus, home. All
Ride: Not so excellent
- Jon also answers to "Little Juan."
The Science Museum Debacle