Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hop, Slither & Stalk

Much More Than Fossils
The Natural History Museum Rocks (and Hops)!
And the Emmy goes to...the education staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I'm so pleased to see the Museum put energy into programs beyond dinos. Encouraging kids to appreciate living creatures should increase the chances future generations will get to see wild frogs not just zoo and fossil frogs.

A great example: the Museum's new Hop, Slither & Stalk program. Performers transform themselves into animals using costumes and puppets made from recyclable materials. This includes some very creative uses of garden gloves and file folders.   

We watched Frogman (above) transform from tadpole to frog. Turtleman (below) demonstrated the powerful jaws of an Alligator Snapping Turtle. These men are two of four performance artists on staff at the museum. (The performance artists also animate T-Rex and Triceratops for Dinosaur Encounters.)

An educator (uncostumed) provided narration and encouraged the kids to hop and crawl like frogs and turtles. This program is designed for kids age three to nine, but all ages are welcome. 

Future episodes include Buggin' Out (insect puppets), Metamorphosis (featuring a 25-foot-long caterpillar puppet), and Where do YOU live?(about animal habitats). These are short programs, so arrive on time and plan to take in other exhibits and programs, or drop by the Discover Center, on the ground floor. 

Hop, Slither & Stalk runs Wednesday through Friday at 10:00 a.m. and Saturdays at 1:00. It's designed for kids participating in camp programs, but all museum visitors are welcome. Look for it in the Grand Foyer, right inside the front door. 

After the show, my son and I, along with our friends from Ramshackle Solid, headed down to the Discovery Center. Among other things, the boys swept plastic chips off of (fabricated) dinosaur bones in the excavation pit. 

Then it was up to the second floor for another episode of Dinosaur Encounters. I was surprised to see Frogman evolved into a paleo pal, who quizzed kids on dino facts. What did this dinosaur eat? How can you tell?

If you're planning a visit soon, don't miss the Butterfly Pavilion

Wondering why you didn't know about all these great activities? I confess it's not that I'm so smart...I'm a member. Members, of course, get newsletters with the latest. 

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