Exploring Petroglyphs and Explora

by Jessica on October 3, 2010

Petroglyph National Monument
 Whenever possible, we like to schedule our days so that we can do as much as possible from sun up to sun down.  The Petroglyph National Monument offered us the opportunity to explore in the morning hours before the museums in town opened.  The park encompasses many miles, and variety of sites with over 24,000 carved images.    We chose an easy one mile loop that looked just right for our crew and headed out.    
The boys give their best petroglyph pose
 Eight days of travel and togetherness had made a parade of fairly grumpy boys.  They plodded from site to site, simultaneously dragging their feet and rushing through the trail to get the process over.  In an effort to show off, Morgan cooed happily through the first part of the loop and then drifted off to sleep in the backpack.  The boys spirits lifted slightly, as Gary made ridiculous base level jokes about the carvings and their creators.  Boys just can’t resist a bit of potty humor.  
Next, we headed over to the museum complex in Albuquerque.  Our first stop was the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. The museum was not unique, and the exhibits seemed out of date with not enough hands on to keep up with my busy boys.   The majority of the museum was encompassed in a Time Tracks exhibit, a trail that travels through the majority of the museum and through a journey of natural history.  Before we left the Natural History museum, we caught a prehistoric movie in the Dynatheatre.   Because we were at the museum early in the day, we were the only people in the movie.   We took advantage of the empty theatre and Mom, Dad, and Morgan had a lovely nap during the movie.   
Experimenting with flying an airplane at Explora
 One thing we have found invaluable in our travels is our annual children museum membership.  The membership has a reciprocal program that allows entrance to 100s of other museums around the country.   As we travel, we regularly check our museum list to see what we can see for free.  The Natural History Museum was on our list, as was the Explora across the street.
A blast of air in the wind exploration room            
Me too! Me too!
 The exhibits at the Explora were a little kid’s paradise, but a mom’s heartburn inducer.  They had every possible scientific exploration available, arranged into aesthetically pleasing spiral shaped pods.   The spiral shaped walls led the kids easily from one area to another, which is normally a great way to explore.  But for one parent watching four kids, it is a nightmare.   It was impossible to keep up with everyone, and I spent most of our time there peering in and out of pods while calling role.    With that aside, it was by far one of the best children’s museums we have ever visited.  
Morgan loved playing with the air tunnel
Working together to build a house    
Posing in their completed house
 The highlight of the visit for the boys was the giant elevator.  It was spacious enough to house a full sized couch and chair with room to spare.   The trip up one floor was not nearly enough for the lusciousness of this elevator genius, so we took the trip three or four times.    “We need an elevator like this at home, with a TV!” Aidan quips, as he lounges on the couch for ride number three.  Between button pushing the other boys added their ideas for a great in-home elevator.  It’s funny how the dreams of children can be so grand and yet so simple at the same time.  
The fancy elevator

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