Monday, December 3, 2007

The Circus visits the McWane Center

(Please forgive the poor photography. I didn't plan on going and didn't have my camera with me. I bought a disposable at the gift shop. Pictures: Bama is not partaking of an illegal substance, he is seeing how a hurricane forms. That is me on the tightrope cycle. Sledge playing with water and watching it's movement and power, J Smooth's lifts his body weight on a rope.)

Last Sunday my mother in law invited to take the three kids to the McWane Center. She invited myself and Bog Daddy to tag along, and I was just feeling adventureous enough to take her up on it. Big Daddy opted for quiet time to work from home. With the weather brisk and threatening to rain (though only spit) It was a perfect day to go, as there were no crowds. Our reason to go was to see the Magic of Model Trains Exhibit, located on the third floor. The new Holiday Model Train Exhibit at McWane Science Center is the most unique collection of model trains in Alabama! Over bridges, into town, up the hills and all around! See big trains, small trains, teeny-tiny trains - even- fast trains, short trains, long and winding trains! There were even some trains with on board cameras that shot the spectators onto a big screen as the train passed by. I really enjoyed the little letter boards with "hidden scenes" on it....Ex. "Can you find the Mama bear with her cubs in a clearing". I love a hunt and this was fun for all of us. I don't knwo what it is but there is something about model trains that says, "Christmas" to me.
After looking at the trains we took in the Imax movie, SeaMonsters a Prehistoric Adventure. While we waited for the movie to begin, J Smooth had some flashbacks to Epcot when we took him on the Mission to Mars and Test Track rides. He protested that he didn't want to stay, and was leery that the seats might project him "back into space", even at my assurance that they would not. Finally the movie began. He was still a bit jumpy in parts but eased up as it progressed. The movie was really good and interesting. It held J Smooth's attention as it did my 9 and 17 year old, as well as my own! In it viewers "travel through the most dangerous oceans in history". Along the way, you encounter long-necked plesiosaurs, giant turtles, fierce sharks, and the most dangerous sea monster of all, the mosasaur. It was fascinating to discover exactly what happened to the most awe-inspiring creatures of all time. I learned something...that the top three most prevalent dinosaur fossil places are Kansas, Belgium and Alabama! What a surprise! After the movie we checked out the fossils, many found locally at the exhibit in the museum.
My favorite exhibits were the World of Water Aquariums, which featured all kinds of marine animals of both salt and fresh water environments as well as Wetland Photography Exhibit. Other fun ones were the optical illusion room (way to much fun in there!) and the Fox 6 News weather room, where one can report the weather in front of a green screen while reading a teleprompter. I had so much fun living out that fantasy and watching it back after the reading. I turned around and came face to face with the real life Rick Carlie, sports caster from Fox 6. He must have thought I was such an adult goober. Ok, so I am. I did notice that he didn't recommend that I apply for a position at Fox, which snapped me out of my fantasy much to quickly. Perhaps I still have a chance on American Idol. LOL. Ugg, I think I exceed the age limit, lets not even go there. The McWane Center contains 9,000+ square feet of interactive exhibits, ScienceQuest is the place to experiment with the building blocks of science. There is plenty of places to either absorb knowledge or embarrass yourself.
With my visit at The McWane Center, I was so proud of myself for taking a chance and exposing myself to a realm of germs on all the hands on exhibits. I have yet to be hospitalized, not so much as a cold. I also got on that bicycle on a tightrope that can swing back and forth, about 20 feet off of the ground. Yes, I am a modern day Howard Hughes. I have many complexities....fear of heights is another. I bit the bullet and did it and didn't even feel threatened. Wow! We really enjoyed our day at the McWane Center. I think you will too! There is much to discover.
McWane Science Center
200 19th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: (205) 714-8300
Fax: (205) 714-8400
For Hours, Exhibits, Admission, etc. Visit

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