We’ve been in limbo in OKC for a couple of weeks while waiting to either volunteer with storm shelter installs, or to head home, because as much as we don’t want to, it’s time to go back to Montana and get to work. We don’t, as much as we would love to, have online or on-the-road jobs, and it’s necessarily time to hit the road for home and work.
While we have been in OKC, we have been able to explore so much of it! Last year, when we were here for 3 weeks, we volunteered fulltime with tornado cleanup efforts, and the 2 days that we had off, we did get into OKC, but we still didn’t check out much of the city. This year has been different. Having the lag time between finishing up the ice storm cleanup efforts in High Point, NC, and being here and waiting for a spot (or 4 😉 ) to open, we have been able to experience much of the family friendly fun here in OKC. I have to admit, I was surprised by all there was to do here (and we keep hearing about other stops that we ‘should have’ visited, but didn’t.
One extra fun place that we went, was the Science Museum Oklahoma!
Located in the ‘Adventure District’, which is just off the intersection of I-35 and I-44 (and has plenty of room for RV parking including overflow parking in the Remington Park lot across the street), this huge science museum was great for all of our ages. Including mine, but I’ll save my odd favorite museum section for later! LOL!
The whole museum fostered curiosity and examination. Everything was hands-on.It started first thing in the foyer where Caleb wanted his picture taken with this guy…
which is highly unusual…when the camera is pointed at him, Caleb will usually humor me with a one second smile, and if I miss it, too bad, so sad… pretty cute for him to want me to take his pic for once!
We chose to do the upstairs first, and we spent quite a bit of time in the Power Play area, where the kids timed each other as they ran the obstacle course (which you could change up yourself!)..
my monkeys… we even got sidetracked in this same area later, when the kids had it all to themselves and had to try out the tug-o-war…and the 50 ‘foot’ dash, which timed the race itself, and you stopped your momentum by slamming into a cushioned wall at the end (they LOVED it!)…The museum has different themes throughout the spacious building, and is tastefully decorated.We attended a ‘Science Live!’ show, which was a fun display of science experiments, including blowing up a plastic bottle, and lighting things on fire (yep, the boys loved it!).
Upstairs also had an area based on geography, and had 2 geography based climbing structures…
one for the younger crowd… and one for the older kids, where you had to use handholds to climb it… Caleb loved the tangrams table!!! While Peanut had a fascination with this touch screen that expanded on the Penrose Tiles. The computer let the kids create their own line design, and then showed them how tiles would look and interlock if each of its sides were that shape…Located in part of the Destination Space area of the Museum,
this Turn Table was a physical lesson in how satellites orbit the Earth, and how the planets spin around the sun. Emma loved this activity, where she had to land the shuttle and dock it to the space station… Some of the boys didn’t even notice the shuttle landing ride; they were too busy with this exhibit, where they had to navigate to set coordinates on a map using a jet pack… The SMO had tons of different areas; there was something to appeal to everyone (which is a pretty big bill to fill for our tribe!)The little girls have been on a gymnastics kick, so they really liked the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame area of the museum. With balance beams, a short set of parallel bars, and tumbling mats, as well as videos to inspire young gymnasts, this area was a fun outlet for little bodies full of energy!
The museum has a large kidspace & familyspace, which are both sectioned off from the rest of the museum by a half wall, making a safe place for littles to explore! There is a nursing nook here, and comfy chairs for mom and dad to relax in while they watch the youngers play. In the next door familyspace, which is a safe place for older kids to explore while m&d watch the littles in the baby/toddler area, Molly, Peanut, and Caleb found the bubble table…For several of the kids, the Segway course was their favorite part of the museum!
Really, for several of the kids… 😉 It was way fun! I even tried it! Once you got the hang of controlling speed using downward pressure from either the sole or the ball of your feet, then they are really easy to work – and FUN!
The bigger boys liked to build Lego race cars, and run them down this timed track…The museum has an Aviation wing, as well as a section on railroads, including an area where you can watch train masters work on or build model trains, and run them… The museum had great exhibits and decorations Everywhere.
The museum has a great Planetarium (tho don’t go when the 6th grade class from Anderson Elementary is also attending; their chaperones sit in clusters while the kids talk and joke and take their brightly-lit phones out, and the poor Planetarium speaker gets so frustrated he finally cuts the presentation short (kuddos to him – he lasted WAY longer, and was MUCH nicer than I would have been!) true story.). The Planetarium was a great lesson on stars and constellations! Our guide showed us a mock night sky of what we could see that night, from here in OKC, pointing out major stars, and hints for finding constellations. We haven’t followed the star chart that he handed out yet because we are in town and the lights are too bright, but we are going to find them next time we are boondocking (which shouldn’t be long!).
The museum also has a Dome Theatre which shows IMAX films, is currently featuring Dolphins, but shows rotate every few months, so there is always something new to see.
This ‘Whodunit’ area was one of my favorites. It’s a mock crime scene… where you learn to look for clues to solve the murder mystery, and learn about all the different jobs people have that contribute to solving crimes. There is even a room where an autopsy is performed (mock, on a mannequin, of course). Most of us found it informative and interesting. Jake, however, did not. He walked in and took one look at the corpse and said, “Oh! Eww! Eww! Ugh! That is just WRONG!!” and split. 😀 There is a great area that is designed like a wooded area.
There is a fun forested area full of animal and tree information, and two different tree houses (one includes a three story spiral slide!).This ‘Satellite Galleries’ exhibit was MY personal favorite. I think. I’m not sure why tho. It’s not at all what you think it is!
It is actually this crazy intriguing section of the museum that is meant to mimic the 16th century ‘Wunderkammer’, or ‘cabinet of curiosities’, which ‘displayed collections of various taxonomies as a starting point for further studies on philosophy, science, natural history and art. This exhibit seeks to recreate the extraordinary space of the early collections where unexpected tangential relationships between art objects and natural history specimens created a sense of wonder’ (sign in exhibit area)…
Essentially, a collection of museum exhibits as they were displayed before we segregated them into the individual science, history, and art museums we have today.
I don’t know about a sense of wonder, but this area was certainly intriguing in an unusually bizarre sort of way. pleasingly unique.This is just part of the Wunderkammer exhibit area – notice the crocodile suspended, upside-down, from the ceiling…
The sign about the hanging crocodile told a bit about the superstitions that said that the crocodile had powers and would ward away evil, and offered a few more interesting tidbits… for instance, did you know that ‘Crocodiles were once believed to have no tongues thought to feast on human flesh, and loved to feast on human flesh, but afterwards felt so guilty they would cry. This is where we get the phrase “to cry crocodile tears”.
I’m telling you, it was a pretty intriguing section of the museum for us bigs! LOL! There was even an optional scavenger hunt you can do.
I seriously loved all the eclectic displays that interwover art (paintings), natural history, and science together in one exhibit piece.
Back downstairs, the kids found this sand pendulum. The kids swept all the sand off the yellow base, filled the pendulum up with sand, and then swung the rod. As the pendulum swung, sand poured out of the end of it, creating a beautiful pattern. The littles learned about objects in motion/momentum, and were fascinated that the pendulum would keep making the same pattern over and over…
We spent 5 hours in the science museum. That’s plenty of time to check it out, right? Nope. The kids loved this museum and were still finding new things on our way out! They had to do a quick walk-thru of the ‘mirror maze’… Peanuts ‘quick walk-thru’ meant she ran smack-dab into a wall of mirrors…LOL! She’s a good sport and thought it even funnier than the rest of us did (which was pretty funny!).
The museum has a cafeteria…And a really great gift shop!!! There were tons of fun items in here, and we got a great bumper sticker for the toy hauler that says, “My other car is a Mars rover”…it’ll fit in great with our collection!
We all loved the Science Museum Oklahoma. In fact, we got ‘cheered’ for taking the kids there (which is a first!).
SMO is a ASTC member museum, so tix are half off if you have a ASTC membership – less than $10, and it really is an all-day destination (great bang for your buck!)
Interested in checking out Science Museum Oklahoma, but can’t get there right away? You can download their fun and educational apps from itunes…
(over here, we’re patiently waiting for them to come out for androids or Kindles!)This was a very awesome roadschool field trip (I will consider it a must-do-again when we get back to OKC!)!!!