A few months ago I purchased a Groupon deal for a Family Membership to the American Museum of Natural History.
It’s my all-time favorite museum, and I am enjoying exposing my kids to it, watching them experience what I remember from my own childhood.
One of the particular perks for me is that the membership entitles you to after-hours members-only events. This works pretty well for the kids, because it’s usually over a single exhibit or a few areas of the museum that are open. Not the whole place, not an entire day, just a little bit, enough for a pre-schooler. It also works well for me because I can go after work, and not have to take time off.
A few weeks ago, the event was for the special exhibit: Whales: Giants of the Deep. It just so happened to fall on Nemo’s 1st birthday.
It was small, but it was a lot of fun for the kids.
Because it was after hours and not at all crowded, we could even let Nemo crawl around inside the life-size model of a blue whale’s heart.
The top is a shot of Mabel looking through the superior vena cava. The bottom is Nemo is the pulmonary artery and Mabel in the aorta. (I think. My whale anatomy is a little rusty)
We also got to see some dinosaur bones and Teddy Roosevelt.
You can read more about the exhibit here. There were interactive features about whale and dolphin communication- a simulated sperm whale hunt based on actual tracking data, whale bones to touch, videos to watch. However, the all around favorite was the blue whale heart. The kids LOVED it.
I was SUPER bummed that with this entire whale exhibit, the Blue Whale in the Hall of Ocean Life wasn’t included!! Come on! That whale is iconic, and you DON’T include it in your special whale exhibit?!
Nemo is too young to appreciate it, but Mabel gets it. I had told her all about it in advance- that whales were so big they could take up an entire room. Discussing it, my husband, mother and father shared their memories of the first time they saw it. It’s a veritable right of passage for kids in the tri-state area. So, when it wasn’t included I was disappointed.
However, thanks to some bathroom flooding on the main floor, we were re-directed to the lower level of the Hall of Ocean Life to use the restroom… where the Blue Whale is!
It was magical. It was after hours, the lights were low. There weren’t many/any people around. It was just us and the Blue Whale. Mabel was in awe. Saying over and over to me, “It’s so big! It DOES take up a whole room!” Laughing, spinning around looking up. It was as awesome a first as I could have hoped for.
We couldn’t stay long because Security was watching and hurrying us along (since that area was actually closed). But we got our glimpse (and a blurry photo) to remember.