There are few places in town that elicit the response from ACMB kids quite like The Witte Museum. It’s a paradise of larger than life exhibits, hands on experiences and such a huge variety of eye-candy, it’s no wonder kids (of all ages) find something new to see/do/experience on each trip back. Here’s a “Kid’s Eye View” of an afternoon visit to the Witte:
Heather and Luca (4)
Luca: I took these pictures because I like it. There’s a bone right there. The black part is where the bone is and the other part is the dinosaur. I used a paint brush to find the bone.
Heather: Luca spent quite a bit of time digging for dinosaur bones and I enjoyed watching him concentrate on finding a bone. He seemed to really enjoy the process and was trying to figure out what kind of bones he was uncovering.
Luca: Those signs were next to the sidewalk. I asked mommy to read them to me. We read them going in and out of the museum. I remember I learned dolphins can make two sounds at one time and whales can hunt for food in a pack.
Heather: Admittedly, part of me wanted to rush straight into the museum and skip reading the signs but we both got to learn something along the way. The sidewalk signs from the parking lot were a great primer for what awaited in the Whales: Giants of the Deep special exhibition. One of my favorite part of the exhibit was the giant, life-size whale heart that kids can actually crawl through. It’s not picture here so you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Luca: You know what, Dinosaur Train saw a Deinosuchus. One time when I was watching Dinosaur Train they were finding Deinosuchus. And I like the Triceratops in the picture.
Heather: I, too, remember Buddy and the Pteranodon family visiting Deinosuchus on an episode of the PBS show. Along with the other giant dinosaur skeletons near the main entrance, this display also catches your attention and illustrates the American alligator’s ancient dinosaur relative in full attack mode. It always fascinates me to compare certain dinosaur species to present day relative species and see how some have not changed much over millions of years of evolution.
Luca: People used all of those tools for killing animals and cooking. I think the people in the picture are cooking and building a house.
Heather: Just before we explored this exhibit, we participated in the rock art presentation in the adjacent classroom. A Witte educator taught us about how native peoples lived off the land and used plants and animal tissues and marrow to create pigments that were used as paints for rock art. Through this interactive opportunity Luca was able to try his hand at drawing some of the ancient symbols of the people of the Pecos, and then he drew a whale.
Amanda and Vivienne (5)
Vivi: I liked the videos and phones – I could hear the story and start it over and over again! And the baby dinosaur was HUGE! Like, bigger than my dog. He looked me in the eyes and that was cool but scary.
Amanda: I appreciated that Vivi could listen to the information as many times as she wanted and I didn’t worry that her “on repeat” style of absorbing information would bother anyone else. The info is well balanced for comprehension through several age groups.
Vivi: I used a paintbrush like a real digger (what’s that person called again?) … a paleontologist. I’m going to dig for bones in our backyard! The rock painting paint wasn’t really paint – it was made from whatever the “Texan natives” could find, like clay and plants. Can we make paint, too?
Vivi: Look mom! They’re doing all the things we do – cooking and cleaning and making clothes. Except we get clothes from Target. And groceries. I’m glad because we don’t have to catch bugs and lizards to eat.
Amanda: Watching how Vivi noticed the “every day” activities in the exhibits was really cool. She was able to relate the family dynamic and daily chores to our own lives.
Amanda: Not many thoughts shared in the exhibit of Fiesta dresses – mostly just literal “ooh’s and ahhh’s” and a few gasps. It’s a treat to get to see the craftsmanship up close and appreciate the details that make each dress so unique. Vivi did ask several mannequins to “show your shoes!” – San Antonio kid, right there!
Vivi: The whales are SO SO HUGE. Like bigger than a boat! I like standing under the whale skeletons hanging from the roof. It makes me feel like I’m under them in the ocean. The whale heart was cool to go through but my favorite was making my own dolphin and watching the video about the tracker-tags that the scientists put on the whales to watch thier behavior.
As a parent, I find that I often try to direct museum visits to be sure that my money is well spent and my child get the “most” out of the experience. It was truly eye opening to see what the kiddos found interesting, what they absorbed, and what they though was picture worthy! What is your child’s favorite part of the Witte? Where would they spend the most time, if they had all the time in the world (and take 5 million pictures?)?