Friday, September 11, 2015

The Nina, the Pinta, and other Kentucky Standards

Okay, Christopher Columbus' sailing ships aren't *exactly* Kentucky standards, but they were waiting for us at the river's edge in Louisville last week, when one of our homeschool groups took a trip two hours south to visit them:
The ships can't sail on the river, of course, so they each have anachronistic auxiliary power to get them where they're going.
This is the hardwood that was used to make the ships. It's as heavy as a piece of concrete that size! These replicas were built in Brazil, because that's where you can still find traditional Portuguese shipwrights. They built both ships using only hand tools and authentic methods

The Nina is the most accurate replica ever built. The Pinta, however, was purposefully built a little larger than the original; the Nina is so small that the Coast Guard won't allow tourists on her upper deck, but on the slightly larger Pinta, we're allowed up.
The Santa Maria, however, is larger than the other two, and so wasn't recreated by the Columbus Foundation at all, except in this model. She'd be too large to visit most of the ports that the Nina and Pinta travel to.

They look like pirate ships, don't they? I was surprised to see that they're black! That's because they're coated in pine tar to make them waterproof.

This is the windlass, used to haul up the anchor. See the holes? You crank that lever down, then put it in another hole and crank it some more.
This cast iron anchor is authentic; it was recovered from a shipwreck.
  



Because I am a nerd, and I have a sense for my people, I somehow managed to discover that one of the crewmembers is a huge Harry Potter fan. We got talking, and then she was like, "I also cosplay. Do you know what that is?"

DO I?!?

And that's how I stood on the deck of the Nina, looking through a stranger's phone at pics of her awesome cosplays as characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Hobbit. And I forced her to listen to me tell her all about Krrish, my favorite Bollywood superhero film series.

Oh, and she also has a sweet lycra mermaid outfit.

After we got our fill of the Nina and Pinta, it was less than a mile's walk down the riverwalk and through downtown to another Kentucky favorite, the Kentucky Science Center!


There was a new area, with a new climbing apparatus, since our last visit, and I hesitated outside of it, uncertain if it was for toddlers or for everyone. A docent passed by, so I asked him.

"Oh, it's for everyone!" he assured me. "It's weight-tested to support even adults!"

So obviously the next time he passed by I shouted down to him from the top of the structure, so that he could wave at me and give me the thumbs-up.

The Kentucky Science Center gets mad props from me for having many exhibits that I've never seen before in any hands-on museum--and you know I've been to my fair share of hands-on museums!

There's this area with mirrored panels on wheels so that you can make your own mirror maze:

There's this area where you can hook up a variety of components to make your own gravity-powered roller coaster:

There's this clever gross motor skills area, formed by drilling giant eye hooks into a pergola-type support, tying rope to each eye hook, and then covering the rope with pool noodles. The kids ADORED it:

And there's this ball ramp set-up in which each of the components sticks to a giant magnet wall:

It was a whirlwind day, especially considering we had to walk back to the car and drive two hours home again in time for the kids to make their evening robotics class. As soon as I'd dropped them off there, I immediately had Matt take me to a Mexican restaurant so that I could eat tortilla chips and bean burritos and drink both my margarita and most of Matt's, as well.

Fitting recovery from a day spent with sea and science, yes?

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