Thursday, January 14, 2016

Homeschool Field Trip: The Pink Palace Museum in Memphis

When we have an all-day drive with the kids, we usually try to stop somewhere kid-friendly for a couple of hours at some point during the day. I'd rather arrive at my destination two hours behind schedule than keep two active kids trapped in car seats for 10+ hours of a day.

It's nice for the adults to stretch their legs and see some sights, too, of course!

We had a LOT of back-and-forth driving over the winter break, so I've got a couple more places to share with you, including this detour that we took to the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. It's an ASTC Passport Program museum, just like our hometown museum, so being members of our hometown science museum means that we get free admission to this one!

Pro tip: Membership in an ASTC Passport Program museum is 1000% worth the membership fee. We visit Passport Program museums for free every single time we travel--not only is it incredible value for our money, then, but it's also educational, entertaining, and it sure as hell breaks up a long drive!

On this particular winter break trip, we spent a happy couple of hours exploring the Pink Palace. It wasn't as hands-on of a museum as Syd would prefer, but it did have some cool immersive exhibits to explore, as well as the usual informative displays:
I have never seen this before! It uses near-infrared light that doesn't fluoresce on the veins, so you can see them in the contrast! Those are my veins in that image! 

Syd is always willing to pretend to be attacked by animatronic dinosaurs!
 There was an exhibit on microscopy that the adults found interesting, but it also included this microscope that's exactly like the one that Darwin used. We're currently listening to the Calpurnia Tate series in the car (and it's an AMAZING series--go read it!), so a Darwin-era microscope has excellent relevance!

Will, of course, loves museums even when they don't contain splashy, hands-on exhibits, and I'm pretty sure that she read every single sign and looked at every single display in the entire place. Here she is checking out bird skeletons!

hummingbird vs. emu
 One of my favorite exhibits was the one on evolution. It includes fossil models that aren't behind a display case, so that you can actually see them up close from all angles, and it even puts many of them into context for you:
We did a human evolution unit early on in our homeschool days, and it's still one of my favorite subjects to continue to explore.

There was also a huge, fabulous FAQ schooling the citizens of Memphis on evolution:

And that's how one of my new fantasy projects is to create a religious-style tract on evolution, and then leave it under people's windshield wipers and pass it out in science museums.

Would I get the same horrified reactions from others that I gave to that horrible religious tract-wielding man at the Field Museum? Karma always prevails!

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