Monday, July 1, 2013

Museum Report: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

For me, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a great combination of a newer hands-on kid-friendly volunteer-enriched science center and the classic diorama-taxidermy natural history museum.

Expedition Health was particularly interesting. At the beginning of the hall, you fill out your personal information on a touch screen, and then a card prints out with a bar code and your info. As you go from display to display, you can check your pace, your heart rate, and any number of quantifiable physiological characteristics. At the end of the exhibit, your card is printed with all the data gathered throughout the exhibit. But mostly my kids liked the side room for young children with manipulatives and a slide.

The kids also loved the Discovery Zone, geared at young children. There were activities for all the kids, although 6-year-old Stellan burned out pretty quickly. And it was pretty busy; we had to wait in a line to get in.

The gem and mineral hall was breathtaking. It's set up to look like a mine (this is Colorado, after all). Not only is the collection vast and varying, but the specimens are spectacular. Even the kids had to grudgingly admit that is was pretty cool.

Obviously we went to the Space Odyssey. Although the exhibits are fun and of course feature the best and most exciting topics you could possibly cover (is my bias showing?), the most impressive thing was the sheer number of volunteers. The DMNS seems to have a vibrant and very active volunteer force. Their volunteers are engaging and informative, and do a variety of demonstrations and interpreting of exhibits all over. We did not visit the planetarium, since there weren't any appropriate shows for the kids during our visit. I have been to the Gates Planetarium in the past for a conference though, and it's very cool.

DMNS also features one of the best gift shops we've seen, and both kids made purchases here after long deliberations and sampling.

We loved the museum, and Kevin and I wish we could have seen more of it. Consider taking the kids for half a day, then ditching them and seeing the rest on your own! 2 thumbs up from the Cooks.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I totally agree that RaRa is the cutest astronaut in training ever. And I'm delighted to say "ditto" to Stellan re the Australian rainforest.