Thursday, May 1, 2008

Exploring Nature

We went to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum today. We've been there before so I didn't bother to check the times. Much to my surprise the hours had changed and it didn't open until noon. Fortunately they have rather large grassy fields with play equipment right next door.

It's surprising to me how well the boys interact with other children...making friends very easily and making up games that anyone who wants to play, can. They're not discriminatory based on age. I think that's a big benefit of using the Thomas Jefferson model. Grouping of children according to birth year can breed envy of those older, contempt for those younger, and alienation from siblings.” (Oliver DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education).

Elle decided to be adventurous and climb a tall bar structure with a steep slide. The only other way down was to climb back down the bars. Elle navigated fairly well up, but got stuck and couldn't figure out how to get down.

I watched how Ethan noticed that Elle was not running around with them and started looking for her. When he found her at the top he organized himself and Hunter to help her down the slide. One of them was at the top and the other was encouraging her from the bottom with promises to catch her. They got her down safely and the games with their new friends continued. Later on Elle found a younger child than her and "helped" him on the slide. It was really quite cute, although I'm not sure he considered all of her interaction "help".

We had lunch on the picnic tables and then went in right when they opened at noon. The kids got half sheets of paper with different animals to find. I told them that they would get a prize if they found everything. They really liked the scavenger hunt. The only hard thing to find was the whale, which ironically enough was painted on the floor right under our noses.

We were watching the turtle out on her mat eating dandelions when we all heard snarls and roars coming from around the corner. The resident mountain lion was playing with her ball. She was rescued from a guy who kept her as a pet. He went out of town and asked the neighbor kid to throw a whole chicken from the store over the fence every day. He got curious and peeked through the fence and saw the mountain lion. She was badly emaciated and malnourished, not to mention she had been de-clawed. Fish and game seized her that day, but the muscular damage was long term. She looks healthy now, but she has a hard time moving around, so her small enclosure at the museum would have been too small for any other mountain lion, was just right for her.

Field trip days are always the best because I plan super easy dinners, the kids go to bed early and stay there and then I get to watch LOST.

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